A better way (then unsharp mask) to sharpen images

This is a discussion on A better way (then unsharp mask) to sharpen images within the Post-Processing forums, part of the Photography Tips category; Usually when I go to sharpen an image, I use Unsharp Mask to do it. But I found another way, which usually produces better results ...


Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,188
    PHOTO EDITING OK
    Usually when I go to sharpen an image, I use Unsharp Mask to do it.

    But I found another way, which usually produces better results without the cost
    of reducing image quality like Unsharp Mask can do if you sharpen too much.

    It's using a high pass filter, and blending the layers using Overlay or Soft Light.

    • So first open up your photo, and also your layers palette if it isn't already open.

      -
    • then, make a duplicate layer of your photo.
      (this can usually easily be done by right clicking on the layer and choosing Dublicate.)

      -
    • Then, on that new layer, apply a High Pass filter.
      (In photoshop I believe this is in Filter / Other / High Pass menu. In Paint Shop Pro I think it's in Effects / Edge Effects / High Pass.)


      What radius setting to use in High Pass depends on the size/megapixel of your image.
      On my 10 megapixel images, I found using a radius of 6 or so works well.


      The result on the image will look gray and funky, but we're not done.

      -
    • After you apply the High Pass, on that same new layer that you applied it on, set the blending options
      to Soft Light or Overlay. Soft light if you want a moderate effect. And Overlay if you
      want a bit harder effect. I usually use Soft Light, since Overlay is a bit too harsh for my tastes.

    And you're done!

    I like the results of this alot better then Unsharp Mask,
    and it doesn't damage your image like sharpening does either.
    Try it out and see how it works for you.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    - - - - - - - Nikon D200 | SB-600 - - - - - - -
    - - - - - Nikkor 28-85mm | 50mm 1.8 - - - - -
    ----------------------------------------------------
    -- My deviantART
    -- My Photography Facebook
    ----------------------------------------------------


  • #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Yosemite National Park California Usa
    Posts
    1,168
    PHOTO EDITING OK
    Thanks for the demo Matt. Just to add if you use this method inspect your edges closely. Some times you get black lining pretty bad. And just like usm you could use a small radius and use several layers to tweak it just right. It's also super easy to mask which makes selctive sharpening a breeze.

    Good Write up and instruction Matt!!!!
    Get OUT and SHOOT Y'ALL...........Sitting at the 'puter don't make better photos!!!!!!

    Some of my crappy photography on FLICKR

  • #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Rapid City, SD
    Posts
    36
    PHOTO EDITING NOT OK
    Wow, very nice. . .and pretty simple too, which I especially like. I do have one question for you. If after you're done you realize you need a little more or a little less sharpening, are there any issues with just going back into the high pass on the new layer and bumping it up/down a bit? It doesn't work like unsharp mask where the new mask is applied on top of the old, giving you a cumulative effect? That also seems to be where I start losing quality with USM when I decide I didn't get it right the first time and try to apply a little more sharpening.

  • #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Billings, MT
    Posts
    923
    PHOTO EDITING OK
    Although I think that a radius of six a bit high, this technique is always impressive and so, so simple. I remember first learning it, i was totally jazzed. Thanks for sharing. I also find that adding a hair of usm to the highpass mask helps a lot.

    Island- from my experience the best way to tone down this tek is to decrease the opacity. Applying it to the Lightness channel by copying it into a new document, applying the filter and pasting it back into the L* channel is also useful. The way that this works is that in overlay mode areas whice are 50% grey become transparent, areas that are less than that darken, areas more than that lighten. Take a good look at the highpass mask with that in mind.

    Most, if not all, teks used to create an illusion of sharpness work the same. They increase contrast along what we humans call "edges". The places where they differ is determining what is an "edge".
    bear with me. i don't have an escape button...

  • #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,188
    PHOTO EDITING OK
    Thanks!

    I agree, when I wrote this, I was a it radius crazy. I tend to tone it down a bit more now adays. hehe

    And yeah, if it's still too much, I usually just lower the opacity of the layer I put the effect on.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    - - - - - - - Nikon D200 | SB-600 - - - - - - -
    - - - - - Nikkor 28-85mm | 50mm 1.8 - - - - -
    ----------------------------------------------------
    -- My deviantART
    -- My Photography Facebook
    ----------------------------------------------------


  •  

    Remove Ads

    Sponsored Links

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts
    •