High Pass Sharpening

This tip will show you how High Pass Sharpening gives total control when sharpening a photo.

There are a few different ways to sharpen a digital image in Photoshop Elements. Until a few years back, Unsharp Mask was the preferred method of sharpening. Now the High Pass filter is probably used just as often.

Follow these easy steps to use this technique.

Open an image you want to sharpen.

This can be almost any image because sometimes you don't even realize a photo is blurry until after you sharpen it and compare the before and after.

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Duplicate the Background layer.

Duplicate the Background layer by pressing Control (Mac:Command) J. A new Layer called Layer 1 will appear in the Layers palette.

Apply the High Pass Filter.

Go up to the Filter menu and choose Filter>Other>High Pass…

Your photo will look strange and a new Dialog box will open.

I like to move the Radius slider all the way over to the left so the preview looks completely gray with no detail. Then slowly drag the slider to the right until some detail appears. These lines represent the edges that will be sharpened.

Don't go too far to the right or instead of sharpening you will add contrast, which for this tutorial is not what we are trying to achieve. You want the lines to look crisp. If you set the radius too high the lines will look like they're glowing with a halo around them. Usually a radius setting between 1.5 and 4 is good.

After you use this technique a few times you'll get a feel for what you want your preview to look like to get the amount of sharpening you want. Click OK to commit the setting and close the Dialog box.

Change the blend mode to Overlay.

Go to the top of the Layers palette to the field that says Normal and click on it to see all the different blend modes. Choose Overlay and you will see the new sharpened version.

If you feel the photo is too sharp, try changing the blend mode from Overlay to the one right below it called Soft Light. This will make your effect less intense. Or you can leave the mode on Overlay and just try lowering the Opacity at the top of the Layers palette until you get the look you want.

If you want the effect to be more intense you can try changing the blend mode from Overlay to Hard Light.

So you can see you have a lot of control over your sharpening with this method.

Here's a look at the High Pass sharpening before and after:

That wraps up this Photoshop Elements tutorial on how to sharpen your photos using the High Pass filter. See more Photoshop Elements tutorials by clicking here .

Until next time,

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