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"smart sharpening"

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  • "smart sharpening"

    On a different forum in RetouchPro, there is a link to a site that describes "smart sharpening" . Unfortunately, that involves creating a "mask channel", which, if I'm not mistaken, is a "Photoshop only" technique.

    Is there a way of accomplishing the same end in Elements, with or without Hidden Tools?

  • #2
    This is not Photoshop only. You certainly can make a channel mask in Elements, and you can do it in more than one way. I am not exactly sure why you would use a channel mask rather than find-edges filtering to target the image edges and keep other noise in the image from sharpening. I am writing a few articles today and don't have time to do this right this minute, but would be glad to discuss a little over the weekend if some other clever Hidden Power user doesn't jump in and finish up for me.

    You have highlight and shadow masks in the free tools if you need them, and Layer masks in the free tools. Can you tell me which step has you stumped?


    • #3
      The smart sharpening technique uses a channel mask because it adds refinement to the initial Find Edges selection through tweaking Levels and using Gaussian Blur.


      • #4
        I guess my point was more or less: one need not freeze in a tutorial because they see the word 'channel' and they are using Elements. If you understand the techniques from the Hidden Power book, there are various ways to use Layer properties to mimick or replace channels, you just have to adapt the tutorial.


        • #5
          As always, Richard, you are correct, and quite helpful. The learning curve, alas, is sufficiently steep that someone new to digital imaging (not to mention the software!), has a tough time adapting a technique. It's hard enough the first few times merely to slavishly follow directions and achieve the same result as the author of the tutorial/book/hint, etc.! The ability to productively "play around" or "tinker" successfully comes only after much experience!


          • #6
            I've had a go at doing a tutorial on how to do it in Elements - you can find it here. I haven't got into any of the stuff from the Hidden Power book, this is all vanilla Elements.


            • #7
              Wow! I wouldn't exactly call this "vanilla" as in "plain vanilla"! It may be all stock Elements stuff, but it is beyond what I could figure out at this point in my development.

              Question: What exactly is happening in Step 6? I understand the step as a procedure, I think, but I don't really know what's going on behind the procedure.

              Thank you for taking the time to do this...


              • #8
                You can drag any layer from the Layer palette onto any other image and a copy of that layer will be added into the destination image as a new layer (it's a quick way of doing it without having to copy and paste) - this is Photoshop functionality that they've kept in Elements.

                Holding down the Shift key while you do it means that when the new layer is added in it's centered in the destination image, which in this case, as the images are the same size, means it automatically lines up with the original image.


                • #9
                  Leah, good job of showing how that works. I haven't compared it to the original tutorial, but really don't think I have to as this does what you want. The goal is to isolate the edges in the image so that sharpening applies only to those edges (rather than noise and everything else: sharpened noise makes for noisier noise). Once you have the edge mask, you can sharpen using other sharpening techniques either along with or instead of USM. I show an Overlay technique in Hidden Power which works with this, for example. The edge mask can also be confined to color or tone by doing a luminosity and color separation.

                  There is a tutorial in the tutorial area by Jim Hall (Basic Channel Masking) that shows what I consider using channel masking. You may see why I didn't think it was particularly relevant to sharpening (unless you plan to use one of the channels as a source for the edge mask).

                  Again, good stuff Leah, and thanks for taking the time to help out!


                  • #10

                    The sharpening technique which you have directed us to is great. Works like a charm, directions are explicit.


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