dillonk
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Sharpening Your Photos: The Unsharp Mask Tool

Sharpening is an important step in making your images look great. However, a common problem with photographers new to sharpening is that they sharpen images too much. The goal of perfect sharpening is to get those sharpening lines just right. They need to be strong enough to make the photo appear sharp, yet not quite strong enough to be noticeable. Here are my instructions on sharpening with the Unsharp Mask. 1. Flatten your image and make a new save file for your image. I usually name it 'Title'_final. 2. After flattening the image, duplicate the layer. 3. Now we will sharpen the duplicate layer. Go to: Filters -> Sharpen -> Unsharp Mask 4. There will be a dialog box that pops up. You should see three sliders: amount, radius, and threshold. 5. I usually set the sliders accordingly: Amount: 20 Radius: 50 Threshold: 0 6. After sharpening the duplicate layer, turn down the opacity of the layer to between 50-75%. Sharpening often causes the dark parts of your image to loose detail, so in order to ensure you don't lose any detail you should change the opacity of the sharpened layer. General sharpening guidelines: 1. Don't sharpen your master file. Once your image is enhanced to your satisfaction, you should create a copy of it and flatten the layers, before preparing it for output. 2. Sharpening is very specific to output, so it should be the last thing you do. You must crop and resize your image (and apply noise reduction if necessary) before applying any form of sharpening. 3. When evaluating your sharpening, make sure you are viewing at 100% size on screen. No other size will give you accurate representation of the pixels you are sharpening. 4. While it's easy to sharpen for web it takes a while to get a "feel" for sharpening for print. Your image on screen is much larger than your resultant printed image, so some interpretation is required. With practice, you'll know what works.
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