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Isabel Cutler | all galleries >> Photoshop Technique Practice > "Paul's Sharpening Tech"
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Pauls Sharpening Tech
1/11/04 Isabel

"Paul's Sharpening Tech"

Does this look oversharpened to you? (I think it is. Just look at the whiskers!) Taken at ISO200 with a B300 teleconverter on the 2.1 megapixel Olympus, it was a bit noisy. Took it into Noise Ninja and after filtration it needed a bit of sharpening. I found it on the Retouching Forum at See the comments below for directions. You should play with this method. See "next" for the original image.

Olympus C-2100uz, Olympus B300 teleconverter, ISO 200 full exif

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ac23-Jan-2004 16:21
Yes Isabel, a bit too much darl sharpening maybe. But the technique is very interesting and seems to apply to all size of documents and all kind of subjects. Trying again. Thanks a lot for the tip.
Isabel Cutler10-Jan-2004 17:05
Paul's Sharpening Technique

1. Make a duplicate layer (use the layer palette and drag your background layer to the new layer icon on the bottom of the layers palette).

2. On this duplicate layer, do an USM at 0.4 radius, amount 500, and tolerance of zero.

3. Now duplicate THIS layer by dragging this layer to the new layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette. (so now you have three layers: the bottom layer in the stack is the background layer. And you have two duplicate layers, each with the sharpening done).

4. Using the layers palette, click on the top layer to make it active and change the blending mode to darken. Turn the "eye" off on this layer.

5. On the second layer, change the blending mode to lighten. Now use the "fill" slider to adjust the amount of this sharpening that you like. You can turn the "eye" on and off to see the effect. Turn this "eye" off when you are pleased.
6. On the top layer, repeat the same, adjusting the amount of sharpening by using the "fill" slider. When you are happy with this, turn both "eyes" on so you can see the overall effect. If you are pleased, you can now flatten the layers.
To flatten the layers, use the layers palette again. Notice there is one of those triangles in the upper right of the layers palette. Click on that triangle and you will see the entire menu. One of the options is "flatten layers." That's the one you want to use. Basically this command takes all of your layers and merges them in the order you have them and you end up with one layer.

That's it. And after you have practiced this a few times, you can write an "action" to automate the creation of the duplicate layers, do the sharpening, and change the blending modes. When you run the action, all you have left to do is adjust the sliders and flatten the image.