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Chapter 10. Sharpening: Getting an Edge ... > Sharpening Without Unsharp Mask

Sharpening Without Unsharp Mask

Unsharp Mask is the Swiss Army Knife of sharpening tools, but it's not the only way to sharpen images. One technique that we often use, particularly when sharpening for output, is to make a duplicate layer, using the techniques we described earlier in this chapter under “Sharpening Layers.” But rather than setting the blending mode to Luminosity and running Unsharp Mask, we use one of the contrast-increasing blending modes such as Soft Light or Hard Light, then we run the High Pass filter on the layer.

High-Pass Sharpening

The High Pass filter (in the Other submenu, under the Filter menu) is a simple way to create an edge mask, but in this case we don't use this as a layer mask. Instead, we simply create a duplicate of the background layer (or create a new merged layer if we have more than one layer in the Layers palette), apply the High Pass filter to it, and then set the layer's blending mode to Soft Light or Hard Light—which increases the contrast around the edges, effectively sharpening the image.


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