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Sharp-Dressed Man: professional sharpeni... > Edge Sharpening Technique

Edge Sharpening Technique

This sharpening technique doesn’t use the Unsharp Mask filter, but still leaves you with a lot of control over the sharpening, even after the sharpening is applied. It’s ideal to use when you have an image (a photo with a lot of edges) that can hold a lot of sharpening, or one that really needs it.

Step One.
Open a photo that needs edge sharpening. Duplicate the Background layer by pressing Command-J (PC: Control-J). The copy will be named Layer 1 in the Layers palette.


Step Two.
Go under the Filter menu, under Stylize, and choose Emboss. You’re going to use the Emboss filter to accentuate the edges in the photo. You can leave the Angle and Amount settings at their defaults (135° and 100%) but if you want more intense sharpening, raise the Height amount from its default setting of 3 pixels to 5 or more pixels. Click OK to apply the filter, and your photo turns gray with neon-colored highlights along the edges.

Step Three.
In the Layers palette, change the Blend Mode of this layer from Normal to Hard Light. This removes the gray color from the layer, but leaves the edges accentuated, making the entire photo appear much sharper.

Step Four.
If the sharpening seems too intense, you can control the amount of the effect by simply lowering the Opacity of this layer in the Layers palette. A before and after is shown below.

Before sharpening.

After edge sharpening.



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