This week’s Friday (not quite Friday) Fundamentals features a video from Deke’s latest Photoshop course, Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate. “Gauging the Best Sharpening Settings” is an unlocked video I’ve placed here for your Labor Day Weekend enjoyment. (Disclaimer: I had to hit the road yesterday to beat the traffic to my own holiday enjoyment, thus the “Friday Fundamentals” posting on Saturday. At least you know I thought about you dekeLlies once I secured my own vacation spot.)
Sharpening is not about focus, but rather about editing an image to make its details appear more sharply defined. As Deke points out earlier in the course:
“It’s important to note that we’re not talking about focus. Photoshop can not reach back into your camera and adjust the optical focus of your lens element. Nor can it invent detail that does not exist. In other words, if an image was shot blurry, it will remain blurry. What Photoshop can do is take a well-focused image and make every detail appear crystal clear.”
Read on to see how it works:
Your sharpening needs will depend on your photo’s ultimate destination, namely screen or print. For instance, the top image in the graphic below shows the nicely focused butterfly prior to any sharpening applied. The middle image is sharpened for a standard computer screen, and the final image (which may look oversharpened on screen) has a bit of extra sharpening applied so that it will look best in print.
Sharpening can be applied in a number of ways. In the video, Deke uses the go-to sharpening tool Smart Sharpen, which is applied via the Filter menu. Deke’s strategy for determining where the sharpening sweet spot lies starts with cranking the Amount to 5 percent and starting with the Radius value at 1.
Then he lowers the Radius value while observing the preview window in the (newly enlarged) Smart Sharpen dialog box. Once you set the Radius where it needs to be, you can lower the Amount to an appropriate setting.
From that ideal screen setting, Deke’s got a formula for increasing the sharpening from there for print. He’s also got some advice within for adjusting this recipe if you’re using a high definition screen.
Stay sharp dekeOgraphers!