Monday, January 14, 2008

Sharpening Fun

I've been getting a lot of e-mail from folks who have yet to upgrade to Photoshop CS3 Extended. Can they work in the forensic realm with an older version of Photoshop? Can I write a few tutorials for older versions of Photoshop? And so on ...

I realise that budgets are tight and people might not be upgrading. My order for a Salient Stills VideoFocus Pro keeps getting kicked from year to year to next year. I completely understand.

So with this in mind, here is a content sharpening tutorial that should work in versions of Photoshop back to 7 (maybe even 5.5). You can use this in the creative sharpening step in the forensic photoshop workflow and achieve some surprising results.

Let's begin:

1. Create a duplicate of the image by dragging the layer over the Create New Layer button, or by selecting the layer and pressing Ctrl+J.

2. Click Image>Adjustments>Desaturate. The copied layer is converted into shades of gray.

3. Create a copy of the desaturated layer and select it.

4. Click Image>Adjustments>Invert. The image layer becomes a grayscale negative (leave the negative image selected).

5. Click the Blending Mode list arrow on the Layers palette, and then click Color Dodge. The image appears to change to white.

6. Click Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Very slightly blur the image (just a few radius pixels) until you see a soft-ghosted outline of the image.

7. Click OK.

8. Select the top layer in the Layers palette, click the Layers Options button, and then click Merge Down, or press Ctrl+E. You should now be left with the original image (the bottom layer), and the softly ghosted image (the top layer).

9. Click the Blending Mode list arrow on the Layers palette, and then click Multiply. The white areas of the ghosted image change to transparent and the darker lines are blended in with the original image, creating the illusion of sharpness.

10. If your image appears too sharp, move the Opacity Slider away from 100% until you've reached the desired result.

There you have it. 10 simple steps to a new image.



Avlor said...

Spiffy! (I was tinkering with this with portraits just for fun. I was totally curious about the forensics aspect and will keep reading just because it sounds cool.)

exey said...

Thank you!