Using Photoshop to Create Sharper Images

Post-process sharpening is an often overlooked tool that can significantly improve an image. There are several techniques available to sharpen photos. Usually, an editing software will have a simple slider delegated to adjust a photo’s sharpness that may include a few options with it as well. Adobe Photoshop, however, can take the ability to control sharpening much farther.

PiXimperfect recently released an excellent tutorial on creating sharp images in Photoshop. I’m always impressed with Unmesh Dinda’s tutorials. He does an excellent job of simplifying why a photo needs an adjustment before explaining a straightforward method to apply the edit. That is what Dinda accomplishes here. He first starts with a simple black circle and zooms in to illustrate the difference in terms of pixels between a sharp image and a blurry one. He then walks you through what Photoshop is doing when it is sharpening or blurring a photo. Finally, he opens an actual image that needs sharpening. He goes on to show how he identifies what areas to sharpen, the method that he prefers to use, and the importance of distributing different levels of sharpening to the various parts of a photo.

One other bonus to watching PiXimperfect’s tutorials is that Dinda regularly pauses to add in quick tips and shortcuts that will help you in your editing workflow. These little tips can revolutionize how you edit. This tutorial includes many of these and the sharpness explanation is one of the best that I’ve seen. It is definitely worth watching.

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David Penner's picture

The biggest thing with sharpening is it needs to be localized. See way too many people just apply the sharpening and leave it. End up having halos around everything.