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Unsharp masking – Photoshop element practices

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Photoshop offers you numerous functions to give your photos the sharpness you want. Using the example of a portrait, we will show you how to use the unsharp masking filter in practice.

Filter: Unsharp mask

The Photoshop Sharpening Filter Unsharp Mask is probably the most widely used tool for sharpening. Photo editors also use these tools when they work on image masking. Because, these 3 controls ensure the precise setting and high-quality results, even for portraits.

The difference between the blurred and the sharpened version becomes particularly clear on the eyes, on the hair, and other hard edges in fine structures.

What is sharpness anyway?

Before you start sharpening your artwork, I want to point out that the impression of sharpness is a subjective one. 

We can agree that sharpness is controlled by the contrast of the edges. Edges with more contrast are more defined and, therefore more easily perceptible to the eye as a demarcation. More details of the existing pixels are worked out. 

If, for example, the eyelashes form an indistinct black mass, they appear softly drawn. If each hair is distinguishable, viewers will describe the photo as sharp. A sharpening is therefore a “clarification” of structures.

1: Prepare for sharpening

1: Prepare for sharpening

If you are working on the background layer, press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + J to copy. If you see numerous layers during an assembly, use the shortcut Shift + Ctrl + Alt + E to copy all visible layers to a new layer. This copy will now be sharpened.

2. Set the threshold value

2. Set the threshold value

To do this, go to Filter> Sharpening Filter> Unsharp Mask and set the threshold. This allows you to determine how much the pixels must differ from one another before the sharpening takes effect. Particularly flat areas are excluded from the sharpening.

3. Strength of sharpening

3. Strength of sharpening

The larger the radius, the wider the area of ​​the edge that the sharpening will affect. Set this value to around 0.4 pixels and then increase the strength. Click in the preview and hold the mouse down to compare the result with the before view.

Thanks; In the next post, we will discuss one more Photoshop element which helps you to edit photos.