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Sharp-Dressed Man: professional sharpeni... > Sharpening with Layers to Avoid Colo...

Sharpening with Layers to Avoid Color Shifts and Noise

This is another technique for avoiding noise and color shifts when sharpening, but this one makes use of Layers and Blend Modes. The method shown here is a cross between a Stechnique that I learned from Chicago-based retoucher David Cuerdon, and one from Jim DiVitale, in one of his columns for Photoshop User magazine.

Step One.
Open the photo you want to sharpen using this technique. Duplicate the Background layer by pressing Command-J (PC: Control-J).


Step Two.
Change the Blend Mode of this duplicate layer from Normal to Luminosity (as shown).

Step Three.
Apply the Unsharp Mask filter to this duplicate layer. (If you’ve read this far, you already know which settings to use, so have at it.)

Step Four.
Now, duplicate this sharpened Luminosity layer by pressing Command-J (PC: Control-J).

Step Five.
Go under the Filter menu, under Blur, and choose Gaussian Blur. When the dialog appears, enter 3 pixels to add a slight blur to the photo. If this setting doesn’t make your photo look as blurry as the one shown here, increase the amount of blur until it does. This hides any halo, or noise, but obviously, it makes the photo really blurry.

Step Six.
To get rid of the blur on this layer, but keep the good effects from the blurring (getting rid of the noise and halos), change the Blend Mode of this blurred layer from Luminosity to Color. Zoom in on edge areas that would normally have halos or other color shifts and you’ll notice the problems just aren’t there. Now you can flatten the photo and move on.




In some cases, this technique mutes some of the red in your photo. If you notice a drop-out in red, lower the Opacity of the blurred layer until the color is restored.



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