This picture has been sharpened.
This picture has not been sharpened.
Can you spot the difference?
You surely can.
Especially if you compare the bonbon in the front.
I love sharp, well-defined images.
I want all of my pictures to look that way.
But the fact is that the images that come straight out of my camera are usually rather far from being sharp. Partially it’s caused by my shaky hands. And additionally, cameras themselves usually don’t produce very sharp images… for some specific reason… that I once read somewhere… but have already forgotten.
Luckily, there’s good news. Photo editing software has been sent to this planet to save us.
Whoever or whatever has sent it, THANK YOU SO MUCH for that.
To edit my pictures, I love to use Photoshop Elements 8.
It’s simple and fun to use.
And this is what I do to make my pictures sharper:
1. I open the picture in Photoshop (File -> Open…).
2. Duplicate the background layer (‘Ctrl + J’ on PC or ‘Command J’ on Mac).
Make sure that the newly created layer stays highlighted.
3. In the upper bar, press Enhance -> Unsharp Mask.
4. A window will pop up.
We have three sliders here: Amount, Radius and Threshold.
Frankly, I was looking for a way to use these sliders for quite some time. Until, after about 6 months of using Photoshop, I’ve learned that:
Amount – shouldn’t be lower than 50. I like to start with 50 and increase it if necessary. But most of the times, 50 works just fine.
Radius – I almost always use 0.6 setting.
Threshold – I usually keep this one at 0. Only sometimes, when I think the picture looks a bit too harsh, I increase this setting to 1 or 2.
So, once again, I usually go by 50 – 0.6 – 0 formula.
My blog-sized pictures seem to be happy with it.
5. Once you are satisfied with the Amount-Radius-Threshold setting, press OK.
6. Then, have a look at the Layers Palette.
Here’s a little thing that you can use, but definitely don’t have to if you are perfectly okay with the way your picture looks like now.
In step 2 we duplicated the background layer and since then we’ve only worked with this duplicated layer. Which means that we’ve only made changes to the duplicated layer, leaving the background layer untouched. The good thing about working this way is that now you have a very precious chance to adjust the opacity of the changes that you’ve made. You have the whole scale of 0 – 100% here for you to play with. So if you think that your sharpening should be about 20% less strong, you can easily achieve that by using the opacity slider and setting it to 80%.
Awesome, isn’t it?
7. In the upper bar, press Layer -> Flatten Image.
8. And finally save the image (File -> Save as…).
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial as much as I’ve enjoyed this bonbon.
It had milk filling, my favorite.
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