Thursday, August 25

CoffeeShop Define Photoshop/PSE Action and Action UnWrapped Tutorial!

Many of my new actions have a layer called "Define" and I have had readers ask how it works. Well, it is a really easy editing technique that sharpens only the darker parts of your image, so it works great
 on eyes, hair and darker backgrounds. If you have PSE or want to save time, you can download the action below, but if you have Photoshop you can follow my tutorial below.

CoffeeShop Define Action UnWrapped (Photoshop only):

1. Open your image.

2.  Click on the Channels tab and click on the small button on the left side seen circled in red below.

3.  This selects the highlights in your image.  Click on Layers.

4.  Go to Select, Inverse.

5.  Ctrl-J to add the selection to a new layer.

6.  Filter, High Pass.

7.  Set the radius to 10.

8.  Put this layer in overlay, vivid light, or soft light blending mode and adjust the opacity to taste.  This is a subtle edit, but it can really add a nice pop to portraits.

Download the free CoffeeShop Define Action. You can also download it here.

Want all of my favorite CoffeeShop Actions or Design Elements in one simple download AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures. For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


  1. Hi! I'm not experienced in PSE as you are but I was wondering why you don't just do a duplicate layer and do a high pass filter on the duplicate copy and then choose overlay, softlight etc. (possibly changing the opacity) Have you tried comparing the differences between just doing it that way and highlighting the specific areas? Just curious :-)

  2. Selina, great question! I find there is a subtle difference in portraits between the two ways. I think the skin looks a bit softer and the eyes/hair a bit more realistic with the method I described rather than sharpening the entire image. It is not a huge difference, but I prefer using this method. :-) But like so many editing techniques, there is no right or necessarily better way to do something.

  3. Perfect, thanks! I am going to do it your way from now on :-) (or I just stop taking blury photos LOL)

  4. This method even looks nice on sharp images because it really adds some definition to eyes and hair.

  5. all I can say is WOW! the results are absolutely amazing. Thanks for this tutorial....the results are amazing. Thanks for all you do for us novice photographers and scrappers. You have taught me so much and YOU so Rock!!

  6. Great tutorial! and you used a fabulous photo!

  7. thank you very much... just found your blog... incredibly helpful!

  8. My new favorite action!


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