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Chapter 15. Image Cropping, Resizing, an... > Photoshop at Work: Using the Blur Fi...

Photoshop at Work: Using the Blur Filter to Sharpen Images

Although it may sound paradoxical, you actually can use the Blur filter to sharpen an image. Specifically, you can blur one area of your image to make the other area look sharper. In this example, you intentionally soften the background areas of an image, making the subject appear sharper in comparison. This is a good approach for images that are too soft to be remedied using the Unsharp Mask filter alone. Here are the steps to follow:

Choose File, Open and select the file you want to modify.

Choose Filter, Sharpen, Unsharp Mask and sharpen the image as desired. Begin by sharpening the image as much as you can (see Figure 15.33).

Figure 15.33. Begin by applying an Unsharp Mask filter to sharpen the overall image as much as possible.

Using Photoshop's selection tools, select the area of the background to which you want to apply the blur. In this example, I've selected the buildings on the right side of the image (see Figure 15.34).

Figure 15.34. Select the background area to be softened.

Choose Select, Feather. Then, in the Feather Selection dialog box, specify the desired pixel value. The amount of feathering you choose depends on the overall resolution of the image and the subject matter. Click OK to apply the effect.

Choose Filter, Blur, Gaussian Blur to open the Gaussian Blur dialog box. Adjust the Radius slider until the proper blur amount appears in the window; when you are finished adjusting the blur, click OK. Figure 15.35 shows the image after the Gaussian blur was applied.

Figure 15.35. Apply the Gaussian Blur filter to soften the background selection.

Feathering softens the edges of a selection, helping it to blend with unselected areas. Gauss was a mathematician; the Gaussian blur effect is based on his mathematical formulas.

Press (Command-D) [Ctrl+D] to deselect the selection. Then select the Blur tool from the Toolbox and brush in the smaller areas to complete the blur transition.



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