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Thread: Content Sharpening Using the High Pass Filter Method

  1. #1
    dje's Avatar
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    Dave Ellis

    Content Sharpening Using the High Pass Filter Method

    I've been using the High Pass Filter (HPF) method for content sharpening for a while now and am fairly happy with it. I just wanted to share the method and see if anyone else uses it and what others think of it.

    For those not familiar with this method, here is a brief summary (based on CS5).

    Once all destructive editing has been done on the main layer (eg cloning, Shadows/Highlights, brushing etc), create a duplicate layer (which I call HPF). Then with this layer selected, select Filter/Other/High Pass. Then a dialogue box will come up for selection of the pixel radius. I usually use about 4 for a full res image (18MP) from my 600D but for smaller size images this should be changed (eg probably about 2 for a 12MP image).

    When making this selection, you can get a good idea of those parts of the image that will be most affected by the final sharpening.

    Then with this layer selected, select a suitable blending mode ( I use Linear light but others such as Soft or Hard light can also be used) and set the Opacity to a value that gives the desired amount of sharpening ( I usually use about 30%). Varying the Opacity varies the amount of sharpening.

    The reason I like this method is that it is non-destructive - it can be turned on and off at will after saving the PSD and the amount can be changed at will. (eg if you've gone a bit overboard with the sharpening and want to peg it back). Setting up an Action for this procedure makes it very simple to apply.

    You can also put a mask on the HPF layer to do selective sharpening in certain areas of an image only

    Dave

  2. #2

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    Paul

    Re: Content Sharpening Using the High Pass Filter Method

    I always use Unsharp Mask personally - for sharpening, local contrast sharpening and edge sharpening. Pretty much always using Smart Objects so that it as non-destructive as possible. I find I get better results personally but I know a few people who prefer High Pass. If I want to do something much more graphic I'll mess with Surface Blur on a Vivid Light layer which really makes detals pop.

  3. #3
    dje's Avatar
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    Re: Content Sharpening Using the High Pass Filter Method

    Quote Originally Posted by bambleweeney View Post
    I always use Unsharp Mask personally - for sharpening, local contrast sharpening and edge sharpening. Pretty much always using Smart Objects so that it as non-destructive as possible. I find I get better results personally but I know a few people who prefer High Pass. If I want to do something much more graphic I'll mess with Surface Blur on a Vivid Light layer which really makes detals pop.
    Thanks for your comments Paul. I haven't done a lot with Smart Objects but I must experiment more with them. I dare say they are very useful.

    Dave

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Content Sharpening Using the High Pass Filter Method

    Before I bought a sharpening, contrast tool; I used to use the High Pass filter quite a lot. It has its uses and sometimes I still use it.

  5. #5
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    Ray Grace

    Re: Content Sharpening Using the High Pass Filter Method

    The High Pass filter is a good tool for sharpening; more subtle than USM and less prone to 'Mackie' lines. Use it on a Smart Object and it becomes even more flexible as it is re-editable. You might not know but it's also good for softening and smoothing skin in portraiture and is very useful for the ladies in your life. Use it as you would normally (Smart Object use is good) but apply a higher radius than you would normally. Then invert the layer. Opacity can always be reduced if the effect is too much.

    RayG

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    dje's Avatar
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    Re: Content Sharpening Using the High Pass Filter Method

    Thanks Steve and Ray for your comments.

    Ray even using a layer rather than a smart object you can re-edit to the extent of changing the Blending mode and the Opacity but you can't change the pixel radiius without deleting the layer and starting again. Presumably with a Smart object you can re-edit every step ?

    I must try that method of smoothing skin - although I would be wary of telling my good wife that I have "touched her up with a High Pass Filter" !

    Dave

  7. #7
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    Re: Content Sharpening Using the High Pass Filter Method

    Don't forget to desaturate that blending layer or you can get color fringing/shift.

  8. #8
    dje's Avatar
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    Re: Content Sharpening Using the High Pass Filter Method

    Quote Originally Posted by Momo View Post
    Don't forget to desaturate that blending layer or you can get color fringing/shift.
    Darren thanks for that. Yes after the HPF layer has been created with a certain pixel radius, click CTR+Shift+U to unsaturate the layer. This is probably more important at higher pixel radii however it's best to do it every time.

    Dave

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