There are a million ways to sharpen your images for print or screen, but sometimes you find one method you think works best and just stick with it. I love using the high pass filter method (an oldie but a goodie). I think people stress out too much about having extremely sharp images in this digital age. However, most images need a little sharpness boost, and this action will do the job. And this action/tutorial works in both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.
This action is really easy to use. It flattens your image, makes a duplicate of your background, desaturates it, runs a high pass filter that you adjust on the fly, and then puts that layer in overlay blending mode. Simply adjust the opacity of the sharpness layer to taste and flatten your image.
When the high pass filter pane pops up, simply click on an area of your image that you want to have focused (such as eyes or detail) and then adjust the radius until you just start to see the details defined. This action is set to a radius of 5, and you can just click OK and then adjust the opacity of the sharpen layer after running the action. Don't be afraid of oversharpening at this step.
Honestly, I always oversharpen while running the action and then dial down the opacity of the layer to taste. I even included a layer mask so you can use a soft black brush to remove sharpness from areas that you might not want it (like skin).
So you want a cool effect? Just put the high pass radius to 250. This can be really interesting on grungy images like this rusty bike.
Run the action twice, setting the high pass radius to 250 each time. Dramatic! Not sure you would use this often, but I do love to play. ;-)
CoffeeShop Sharpen UNWRAPPED!
So you want to know how to do this without the action. I love that!!! Don't get stuck using actions all of the time. Take actions apart and learn how to do it on your own, it will really improve your editing skills.
1. Make a duplicate of your background (Ctrl-J).
2. Desaturate that layer (Shift, Ctrl, U).
3. Filter, Other, High Pass. Adjust radius until you see a slight outline of your image. You can oversharpen here and fine-tune it later.
4. Put this layer in Overlay blending mode and adjust the opacity to taste. Add a layer mask if you want to remove the sharpness from parts of your image.
5. For a really dramatic effect, set the high pass radius to 250 and repeat. It really makes your images pop!
Download the free CoffeeShop Sharpen PS/PSE action HERE!
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