In this tutorial, you will learn several ways to sharpen an image, allowing you to “bypass” the shortcomings of the built-in sharpness filters in Photoshop. What are these disadvantages? Let’s start in order:

1. Color halos may appear around contrasting objects.
2. Increases color and monochromatic noise. If the second is not so terrible, you don’t even have to always get rid of it, the first one literally hurts the eyes.
3. In the scanned photographs, the above disadvantages are even more pronounced, in addition, the graininess that is originally inherent to them increases.

As a rule, in the process of improving photographs, sharpness has to be increased several times, which can aggravate the situation even more.
How to avoid such problems? Beginners (and not only) users are often puzzled. But there are several ways, plus their variations and combinations, which allow you to increase the sharpness without increasing the noise and artifacts. So, we begin work.

1 way:

1. Open our image. Immediately translate it into Lab mode. Image-Mode-Lab (Image-Mode-Lab).

2. Choose a palette Channels (Channels), press CTRL + 1 to select a channel. Brightness (Lightness), then ~ to see the image in color.

3. Apply to this channel Filter-Sharpness-Contour Sharpness (Filter-Sharpen-Unsharp Mask).

The settings depend on the particular image. Many do not know how to properly use this filter. Now we will correct this gap in knowledge.
So the first thing to do is set the value. Effect (Amount) within 80 – 150, depending on the image resolution. Then increment the values Radius (Radius) before the appearance of visible blemishes and artifacts. Next, increase the value Threshold (Threshold) to the disappearance of these roughness, but preserving the effect of sharpness of the contours.

4. Press CTRL + ~ to select the composite channel. Then, as in point 1, we transfer the image back to RGB mode.

2 way:

1. Open the image. Copy to new layer CTRL + J.
2. Apply to this layer Filter-Other-Color Contrast (Filter-Other-High Pass), with a radius of about 1 (depends on the image resolution, but I don’t recommend setting a large one, further explain why).

3. Click CTRL + SHIFT + U, to discolor the image. This is a very important point! Since we removed the color information from this layer (and it certainly is, although the layer looks gray), this will avoid an increase in color noise.

4. Change layer blending mode to Overlap (Overlay). You can do this in the Layers palette, or by pressing SHIFT + ALT + O.

5. If the result does not suit you, for example, the sharpness has increased too much, you need to reduce the opacity of the layer. If you want to increase the effect, copy the layer the necessary number of times (CTRL + J).

If you try to immediately sharply increase the sharpness, setting a large radius value in step 2, this will lead to a deterioration in image quality.

3 way: the same second, but adapted for scanned photos. I think many will appreciate its effectiveness. I do not cite drawings, so as not to repeat.

1. Open the image, copy to a new layer.
2. Repeat point 2 of the previous method, but the radius value is set significantly more, approximately from 4 and higher, depending on the resolution.
3. Next, you need to blur the layer with Filter – Noise – Dust and Scratches (Filter-Noise-Dust Scratches), so as to remove the grain, but leave the outlines of the images.
4. Then repeat steps 3-5 from the previous recipe.

In order not to waste time on performing these actions in the future, you can create actions, that is, operations, for each selected method.

In one of the following lessons, you will learn another way to sharpen. It is rather complicated, so I did not clutter up this lesson with its description.

I wish you creative success!

Author: Evgeny Kartashov.

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