A few days back, I shared what I consider as the five best tutorials on frequency separation on the internet. I plan on writing a handful of these “Five Best Tutorials” that explains techniques that I use daily while editing, retouching, shooting or just about the general image-making process that goes into commercial product and still life. As always, a click on the image will take you right at the course’s page.
Sharpening is a technique that every single RAW file from any camera can benefit from. It adds micro-contrast around the edges and sharp transition areas of your photography making them appear more prominently, thus, sharper. Beware though, too much sharpening will ruin your image by exaggerating the effects and resulting in a funky photo. The key here is balance. There is a boatload of ways to sharpen your photograph, by using Photoshop’s sharpening filters or playing with different layers and layer blend mode. Some are older than other and some require more power than other. After having said that, here are the five best lessons on sharpening your digital photos in Adobe Photoshop.
Did you know that Adobe had a learning center? Well, one of the tutorials by George Jardine informs us on both the capture and output sharpening process and defines them. It is a spoken video that’s very clear and makes it easy to understand. Not only does George gives us a good rule of thumb for output sharpening, he talks about the Camera Shake Reduction filter that is often overlooked. Sure, for product photography, camera shake is very unlikely but, hey, it’s still cool to know you have that tool if you ever wander into other genres of photography.
Michael is always producing high-quality tutorials. He’s a writer for Fstoppers and releases in-depth reviews and ultimate guides quite often. Today’s tutorial is really great because it explains how the filters work and what the sliders do. It seems that the best technique for Michael is Smart Sharpen. The tutorial is a bit old (2 years) but really remains relevant. Finally, accompanying the video is a written text that provides the number that he’s using and how to recalculate them to apply them to your own photograph.
Lynda.com is a subscription service that I use to learn about pretty much anything I want. Sometimes, however, they put out videos on their YouTube channel that are snippet of what a paid course would get you. For Photoshop’s 25th anniversary, Lynda.com is paying a tribute to the software. In this video, Deke McClelland also explains how the sharpening filters work and the best practices to using them. If you wondered why Unsharp Mask is called the way it is called, then watch on.
Photoshop Pro Help’s
Here’s another video about sharpening in Photoshop. It is not meant to explain all the workings of the technology but rather to demonstrate a quick way to sharpen an image. It’s only a few minutes long and, thus, does not require a lot of your time. Strangely, this tutorial is the only one to be using a layer mask.
Digital Camera World’s
This last course in only in written form. Just like all four before, it goes over Smart Sharpen, Unsharp Mask and sharpening with Camera RAW. However, it does suggest the sharpening of only the luminance channel. This will results in more true-to-life colours that could have been shifted while in the previous use of a sharpening technique (mostly Unsharp Mask).
All these informative pieces of content are really well constructed. However, the PSA remains: do everything you can to obtain a sharper image out of camera. You can use the best settings (depending on your situation), utilize a prime in opposition to a zoom lens and reduce camera shake with a tripod of faster shutter speed. It’s a combination of the best practices while shooting and in post-processing that yields the sharper images.
What should I do a five best tutorial of next? Don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments below.