DPP Home Technique (R)evolution High Pass Sharpening

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

High Pass Sharpening

Try this advanced technique for creative sharpening effects


This Article Features Photo Zoom

4) The High Pass filter
If trace noise and residual texture is retained in the High Pass layer, accentuating it in the image, this can be reduced somewhat without compromising the edge effects by blurring the layer or using a noise-reduction filter. Reduce these effects on the High Pass rather than on the Background layer or on a new noise-reduction layer.

You can increase the intensity of the effect by adding contrast to the High Pass layer. Use a Curve adjustment, lock down the midpoint (128/128/128), and add the amount and kind of contrast you desire.

You can accentuate the effects of the High Pass filter by sharpening the image layer with Unsharp Mask before filtering it with High Pass. Doing this will give the High Pass filter more to grab onto. Try a double pass of Unsharp Mask. First, apply Unsharp Mask with a high Radius (1.5) and a low Amount (100%); second, apply Unsharp Mask with a high Amount (350%) and a low Radius (0.5). Your settings may vary, so use these numbers as starting points to produce a maximum effect with minimal artifacts.

When you use high Radius settings for the High Pass filter, High Pass sharpening moves beyond sharpening and becomes tonal enhancement. The halos/lines it produces become so broad and feathered that they accentuate planar contrast rather than contour contrast. They also can cause localized vignetting effects, for better or worse. This isn't surprising; all sharpening is a type of localized tonal enhancement targeted to detail (contour and texture) instead of the broader tonal scale.


5) Layer Styles' Blend If sliders for the High Pass layer
It's useful to distinguish between the qualities of High Pass contrast and Curves contrast; High Pass accentuates contours and planes first, and it produces localized effects that enhance detail and spatial relationships (objects will look sharper and more three-dimensional). Curves accentuates all tonal values equally and provides more control over the relative relationships between lights and darks, producing a smoother, more uniform effect. Your entire image will appear contrastier and more energetic. Understanding the qualitative differences between these three types of contrast—Curves, low High Pass or high High Pass—will help you decide which method to choose. You even can decide to combine them all to get even greater control over the look and feel of detail in your images. Your decision should be based not on a formula, but on the results you want to achieve with your images.

Precise sharpening can improve almost any image. Master sharpening, and you can gain unprecedented control of detail in your images and take them to a new level. Choose the type of sharpening that produces the effect that's most appropriate for an image or that you find most pleasing. With careful consideration and consistent application, you even can create your own sharpening style and give your images a special look, one that renders your unique visual voice more clearly.

John Paul Caponigro, author of Adobe Photoshop Master Class and the DVD series R/Evolution, is an internationally renowned fine artist, a lecturer and workshop leader. Join over 20,000 other Insights enews members and get access to hundreds of digital imaging resources at www.johnpaulcaponigro.com.

 

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