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Masking Shortcut to sharpen edges only

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Old 02-09-2011, 01:14 AM
SterlingH SterlingH is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Canada
Posts: 27
Masking Shortcut to sharpen edges only

I was playing around and ended up doing the following as a somewhat lazy shortcut to sharpening only the edges. Any thoughts?

After doing whatever sharpening you do, and assuming the sharpening is contained on its own layer:
- turn off sharpening layer
- merge visible below sharpening layer
- Filter > Stylize > Find Edges
- Desaturate layer
- CTRL click RGB channel to load selection
- Turn on and select sharpening layer
- Click add layer mask
- Invert layer mask so it's mostly black
- Paint out any areas you don't want sharpened

It seems to me this technique would reduce the amount of sharpening noise because you don't sharpen the lower contrast areas that you normally do when using a brush to paint in sharpening.

It also appears to automatically focus the sharpening around the eyes and lips as they tend to have the best edges in a photograph (due to sharpness and contrast).

Another thing I just did which seemed successful was balance out the sharpness between eyes where one eye was sharper than the other. I simply duplicated the masked sharpening layer twice and then painted away the sharpening on the sharper eye in the duplicates. No extra noise created.

Last edited by SterlingH; 02-09-2011 at 01:30 AM.
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:13 AM
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MacBurg MacBurg is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Waihi Beach, New Zealand
Posts: 207
Re: Masking Shortcut to sharpen edges only

Here's another, almost similar way to sharpen edges, an example of how the action works can be seen here -

Basically you use find edges on the lightness channel in Lab mode, then run a levels to further remove details from large toneless areas, a slight blur and then a final levels to bring blacks in again. This then gets inverted and used as a mask on a layer to sharpen, from there you can also paint out any edges you don't want sharpened. Download the action from here -

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Old 02-09-2011, 08:59 AM
SterlingH SterlingH is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Canada
Posts: 27
Re: Masking Shortcut to sharpen edges only

thanks. I thought I likely wasn't the first to figure that out. Apparently I'm late to the party.
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