Sharpen photos the smart way: demystifying Photoshop’s image-sharpening tools

Sharpen photos with Unsharp Mask

Sharpen photos with Smart sharpen

Sharpen photos with Smart sharpen

Adjusting the Amount and Radius settings in Smart Sharpen has the same impact as when using USM, but you can choose what type of blur – such as Gaussian, Lens or Movement – to correct using the Remove drop-down menu.

Gaussian Blur is the general softness that is also addressed by USM, the Lens Blur option detects edges and detail and is a good choice for sharpening fine detail.

Motion Blur aims to reduce the effects of camera or subject movement. After selecting the appropriate Amount, Radius and Remove settings, choose the Advanced options to control how much sharpening to apply to the shadows and highlights.

SEE MORE: Camera Raw sharpening tools – how to restore delicate detail and keep noise at bay

Selective sharpening
Sharpening blurred backgrounds and uniform skies may introduce artefacts or texture, so it’s advisable to sharpen selectively.

This can be done on a duplicate layer where masking or erasing can reveal the unsharpened layer beneath.

Alternatively, use the Sharpen tool found with the Blur and Smudge tools. With the option to protect details selected, paint in sharpening over important areas.

PAGE 1: Why use Photoshop to sharpen photos
PAGE 2: Sharpen photos with Unsharp Mask
PAGE 3: Sharpening the luminance
PAGE 4: Sharpen photos in Adobe Camera Raw
PAGE 5: Sharpen photos with Smart sharpen


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