Making a Hazy-Text-Image Readable

by Saad Omais

Q: I have an image of a manuscript. However, what is written in it is vague. Please guide me through the steps in order to make it readable.

Thank you for the question Saad. Without seeing the image it's hard to say exactly how to approach it. But you must understand you cannot get it to look perfectly crisp. The most you can hope for is an improvement. Here is what I would try:

Step 1
In the Layers palette, duplicate the background by pressing Control (Mac: Command) + J.

Step 2
Make sure the Background Copy layer is active. Under the Filter menu choose Other>High Pass…

In the High Pass dialog window use a low Radius setting. Try somewhere around 0.3 to 0.7 pixels. You can highlight the Radius field and use the up and down arrow keys to move it 0.1 pixels at a time. Click OK and your image will look very strange, but we will be fixing that in the next step.

Step 3
Go to the top-left of the Layers palette to the drop-down Blending Mode field and change it from Normal to Hard Light.

Your image should look better and a little less blurry. To sharpen it more keep pressing Control (Mac: Command) + J to make duplicate layers. Each new layer you create should be a little more in focus than the previous one.

Step 4
Once you create a layer and it looks worse than the previous layer stop making duplicate layers and drag the top layer to the trash icon at the top of the Layers palette.

Click on the arrow at the top-right of the Layers palette where it says More and go down and choose Flatten Image.

Step 5
For the final step just go under the File menu to Save As…

Give it a name different from the original file so it doesn't overwrite the original and your done.

See the image for a before and after of my example using this method.

I hope this works for your image Saad.

Comments for Making a Hazy-Text-Image Readable

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by: Saad Omais

Thank you, Rick! but I'm afraid that didn't do the job. Visit : http:(address removed by editor)
That's the manuscript I'm working on. I hope u can still help me. Thanks anyway, take care.

Making a Hazy-Text-Image Readable
by: Rick

Hi Saad,

I'm sorry that didn't work for you. I downloaded the image you directed me to.

The image you want to enhance has a few things working against it. The main problem is that instead of just being blurry it is quite pixelated indicated by the stair-stepping effect on the text and images. The background also has variation to it which gets exaggerated and interferes with the text. And the type is quite small.

For all those reasons, I'm afraid there is no way that I'm aware of to improve the readability of this image using Photoshop Elements or even the full version of Photoshop.

Maybe you can search the web for a third-party plugin to solve your problem.

Good luck,

Hi Rick
by: Anonymous

Don't worry about it, and thanks for all your help. One last thing, what kind of plug-in would i be needing?
Thanks again for your time :)
take care,

by: Rick

Hi Saad,
A plug-in is a little program you can use with Photoshop Elements to perform additional tasks. Some are made by Adobe but many other plug-ins are developed by third party vendors. Some are free and some cost money.
I'm not aware of any plug-ins for sharpening blurry text, but there very well may be some. I'm just suggesting that you search the web to see if you can find one.
If any other readers know of one please post it as a comment for Saad.
Good luck,

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