Perfect Sharpen In Photoshop, Tutorial + free action

Ever wondered how to squeeze out every detail of the eyes and hair without enhancing the image noise and skin texture? Well, here is the answer and the free action!

Using this action we’ll break the image in LAB components, then select only the edges to sharpen, then apply an unsharp mask only to selected edges on the luminance layer, and finally we’ll recompose the image back to RGB.

First of all download this action and install it in your Photoshop using standard action installing procedure, then open your image in Photoshop.

Watch this 4 minutes video tutorial and apply this technique to your image to get sharper details, or see below the photo illustrated step-by-step procedure:

Ok, I hope you enjoyed the video and you understand how to do it. For more details see below the step-by-step procedure in Photoshop!

Let’s start sharpening:

Step 1:  Launch the action from the actions panel:

Perfect Sharepening in Photoshop Tutorial sep 1Step 2: Drag the right handler until you get white only on the areas you want to sharpen. This may not be perfectly accurate now, but don’t worry, we’ll adjust it later:

Perfect Sharepening in Photoshop Tutorial step 2Step 3: Adjust the Blur handler to increase the white areas a bit. This depends on the image resolution and on how precise you want to select. Somewhere between 5 and 10 pixels should do the job:

Perfect Sharepening in Photoshop Tutorial step 3Step 4: Adjust the Fuziness slider to make sure your selected areas (now in black) is as dark as possible, while the rest stays as white as possible:

Perfect Sharepening in Photoshop Tutorial step 4

Step 5: Now check the selected areas that will be sharpened in the next steps: are everithing selected correctly? If your selection is right then jump directly to step X; here is not the case, so read on:

Perfect Sharepening in Photoshop Tutorial step 5

Step 6: Chances are that not all edges got selected, especially in some very blurred images as this one here. If this is the case click on Cancel button to interrupt the action and select the areas to sharpen:

Perfect Sharepening in Photoshop Tutorial step 6Step 7: Select the Lasso tool in Photoshop Toolbox (or press the L key for faster access):

Perfect Sharepening in Photoshop Tutorial step 7

Step 8: Set a small Feather and start selecting the areas you want to sharpen. Remember it’s s selection just for sharpening, you can select rough enough (and you’ll be faster):

Perfect Sharepening in Photoshop Tutorial step 8Step 9: ALT + Select areas you do not want to get sharpen, to eliminate them from your selection:

Perfect Sharepening in Photoshop Tutorial step 9Step 10: Play with the lasso tool for a while until you select only the eyes and te hair:

Perfect Sharepening in Photoshop Tutorial step 10Step 11: Now you are ready to continue with the action, so open up the Actions Panel and click the Play button:

Perfect Sharepening in Photoshop Tutorial step 11Step 12: Now increase the Amount value as much as you want. Being on the Lightness layer you can be generous with that 🙂

Perfect Sharepening in Photoshop Tutorial step 12

Step 13: Adjust the Radius slider until the edges have a natural look, without the white boundaries commonly encountered while Unsharp Masking:

Perfect Sharepening in Photoshop Tutorial step 13

Step 14: The action has  finished now, compare the eyelashes at the original image and at the end of your sharpening:

Perfect Sharepening in Photoshop Tutorial step 14That’s all, now save the image and enjoy!

Did you succeed? Please let me know in the comments!

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About the author

I really enjoy taking pictures of people, landscapes and buildings but also enjoy the fine work of macro and night photography. I publish on the Lightorialist.com since it's very begining and I like helping other Lightorialists as well :-)

View all articles by Alex Moise

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