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- Photoshop Tutorials - Advanced Sharpening in Photoshop - By: Tommy Johansend
Sharpening an image is easy. Sharpening an image while keeping the loss of quality to a minimum is harder. This technique will only affect the areas where the sharpening is desired.

Before proceeding it's important to know that the subjects to be sharpened has to in focus in the original. Some blurry photos caused by camera shake, subjects out of focus etc. will stay that way, although this technique will produce very nice results on most images, it's not magic

 

- Step 1
Getting started
(click on the image to view a larger version)
First off, make sure that you image is in RGB mode, 8 bit.
Now duplicate the imagelayer by dragging the layer onto the "Create a new layer" button . And if not done automaticly, select the new layer and set the blend mode to Luminosity.
Survival of the fittest
It's time to rule out the parts of the image that there's no use sharpening, and thereby we have one source of noise less.
Press Ctrl + A to select the entire canvas. Press Ctrl + C to copy the image, then go to the channel palette, create a new channel and press Ctrl + V to paste.
Now, having only the new channel selected, run the Find edges filter found in the menu (Filter -> Stylize -> Find edges).
Open the level dialog (Ctrl + L) and use these settings:
Channel: RGB
Input levels: 126 / 1,05 / 236
Now run the Gaussian blur filter found in the menu (Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian) and set Radius: 1,5
Open the level dialog again (Ctrl + L) and use these settings:
Channel: RGB
Input levels: 88 / 1,00 / 244
- Step 2
Now click the "Load channel as selection" button and press Ctrl + Shift + I to invert the selection.

Then we have to contract the selection (Select -> Modify - Contract.. in the menus). Set it to contract by 2 pixels.
Finally select the RGB channel (Ctrl + ~)

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- Step 3
Apply Unsharp mask (Filter -> Sharpen -> Unsharp mask.. in the menus) with these settings:
Amount: 200
Radius: 0,8
Threshold: 0
Press Ctrl + D to deselect. Then delete the alpha channel.
If you think the sharpening was too powerful on your image then lower the layer opacity for the sharpened layer untill you're satisfied with the result. Finally merge the image (Ctrl + Shift + E).

Note that these setting will usually be too powerful for images smaller than 1024x768. If you are sharpening a smaller image try Unsharp mask with these settings instead:
Amount: 180
Radius: 0,4
Threshold: 0

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