Edge sharpening technique - Photoshop

Note: This should be done as a last step in your workflow. You will also need to flatten your image so make sure you save it first and then duplicate the window so you're not working with your original image. Also make sure you've resized it to the output size you want. Always be looking at your image at 100% magnification. At the very end you can zoom in to 200% to see exactly what effect you have created. Once you have this process down to a fine art, don't use anything other than the UNSHARP MASK for sharpening. The other options are simply default settings of the Unsharp Mask.

For Mac users, replace the Ctrl with Command.

1. in the layers panel right click on the background and duplicate it.

2. with "background copy" selected change the blend mode from "normal" to "luminosity"

3. select and copy - Ctrl+A then Ctrl+C

4. select the channel tab (next to layer) and click on the "create new channel" icon at the bottom of that window. This will create an alpha channel.

5. paste - Ctrl+v

6. select Filter menu - Stylize - Find edges

7. Use the the levels tool to increase or decrease the area to be sharpend. Black is more, white is less. you really only want to sharpen edges so move the black and white points around until you have very little grey left.. should be mainly black edges by the end.

8. select menu, load selection. In the box that appears tick the "invert" tick box then OK.

9. select the layers tab and highlight the duplicate layer

10. Filter menu, Sharpen, Unsharp mask. Use settings of Amount = 500%, Radius= 0.8, Threshold = no more than 30. Click OK to apply

11. right click on the duplicate layer and select blending options

12. Find the "This Layer" slider at the bottom of the box and move the black and white threshold markers in about 10 mm each side. Click OK

13. Done. If you now compare your unsharpened image and the sharpened one you will see that only the edges have been sharpened giving a more natural look.

PS: if you open up your original image and run the Sharpen, or Unsharp Mask over it you can compare the difference to only sharpening the edges. You'll notice a dramatic lack of sharpening artifacts by following the above process.

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