A different way to sharpen

posted on 25th of january, 2012

There are several ways to sharpen your images. Some of these techniques re good and others not so much. I have found that using the unsharp mask filter is ok but can lead to an even more noisy image if overdone.
So after doing a little searching I found a technique that is called, High Pass sharpening and you use it like this:

1) Make a layer copy of the background layer and then make the background layer invisible. This way you can revert back to the original if a mistake is made.
2) Do all your editing of the picture. Make sure it's done to your satisfaction.
3) Make a layer copy of this layer.
4) Open filter>Other>High Pass. A dialog box will open. Move the slider to a number between 5 - 10 pixels (use your own judgment on this) and press ok.
5) The third layer will now be grey. Under the blending menu select overlay, soft light, or hard light.

Bam! Nice sharp image.
Let me know what you think.

Comments (20)

Posted by Candleblood on February 25, 2012
As I recall, my method was the first 4 steps you described, but in different order. I can't remember more exactly because at that time I made an action for it and just pressed play; so I forgot. And I didn't know that I can change the blending mode, I always used overlay. Your option gives flexibility and I like it because of this. :)
Posted by Marketking on February 20, 2012
Thanks, I used some of your work on my blog named relatieproblemen. It's a dutch site but I'm sure images speak for itself. :)
Posted by Birksphotography on February 10, 2012
Candleblood: I hope you like it. What method did you use before?
Posted by Candleblood on February 10, 2012
I've been using a slightly different type of high pass-sharpening until now, but strangely I don't like the result anymore. So I'm happy I found this post, I'll try this version and if I like it, I'll come and let you know. :)
Posted by Dacky on February 08, 2012
I use it . Sometimes do it at 1px and then paste it over and over until I get the sharpening that I want .
Posted by Dacky on February 08, 2012
I use it . Sometimes do it at 1px and then paste it over and over until I get the sharpening that I want .
Posted by Dacky on February 07, 2012
I use it . Sometimes do it at 1px and then paste it over and over until I get the sharpening that I want .
Posted by Dark3y3s on February 07, 2012
Works quite nicely, best with 'soft light' blending change, in my opinion :)
Posted by Hunor83 on January 29, 2012
Thanks for sharing!!!
Posted by Birksphotography on January 29, 2012
Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions. I know that there are several methods of sharpening this is just one of them. One must pick what best works for them. I'm glad you all found this useful. Thanks again everyone, happy shooting.
Posted by Bluesunphoto on January 29, 2012
The best way to sharpen (by far) is smart sharpen. So called because it allows you to distinguish between how sharp the image is in the shadows and highlights. Given that an image will have varying degrees of noise (more noticeable in the shadows) and also given that shadow areas seldom need sharpening anyway, the smart sharpen allows you to get the areas sharp where you want them. TRY IT OUT SOME TIME! You can also change from lens blur to gussain blur for the type sharpening of correction. Trial and error is obviously a must but I guarantee you will be impressed.
Posted by Neirfy on January 29, 2012
I use hight pass too, but only 1-2 and mostly in soft light - only to accent something,,,,becouse - well, if image has problems with focush than nothing will help
Posted by Vcarmstrong on January 27, 2012
I use this method sometimes but I always keep the pixels to 2 to 3 otherwise I seem to get way too much noise. Recently, I have become fond of smart sharpen using the gaussian blur option at 1.5 - 3 pixels.
Posted by Sarkao on January 26, 2012
I use same technique too, but I do it in the end of postprocessing.
1. copy all layers to one cmd (or ctrl for PC)+A, (select all)
cmd/ ctrl+shift+c (copy all layers)
cmd/ctrl+shift +v (insert new layer with mask)
2. high pass
3. blending options
Posted by Egomezta on January 26, 2012
Thanks for sharing. Good luck.
Posted by Gracanin on January 26, 2012
I use this technique, but I turn down opacity of high pass layer to ~35-45%
Posted by Peanutroaster on January 26, 2012
Nice tip! As you say, take care not to over sharpen no matter what technique you use.
Posted by Baldas1950 on January 26, 2012
Thank you. It is a very useful technique!
Posted by FabioConcetta on January 26, 2012
Thank for sharing, congratulations!
Posted by TMarchev on January 25, 2012
Lool thanks !!!!!

Comments (20)

This article has been read 1662 times. 5 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Mark Birks.

About me

Mark Birks lives in Ohio and works as a freelance photographer. He has recently begun creating and selling fine art and portrait photography and is currently working on a series called “Visions of Black and White” While having done his own work, Mark has also done commercial shots, portraits, and still life’s. Mark has also won contests by The Newark City Library and Create magazine. He was also featured in Photography BB online magazine in 2009. Mark’s clients have included Boy Scouts of America, Deanabirks.com, Sterling Accessories, Mistral Images, and Create Magazine.

Newark, US

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