Basic Sharpening Settings (Post Process)

I’m sure you have read either in books or online that there are several ways to get your images “tack sharp”. This post is not to rehash about how to do that or point you places to read about it.

This post is to give another place to find some basic Photoshop image sharpening settings for the Unsharp Mask Tool.

Here are the setting I tend to use as a starting guide:

Subject:                              Amount, Radius, Threshold
Soft Subject:                      150,1,10
Portraits:                            75,2,3
Moderate Sharpening:        225,0.5,0
All-Purpose:                      85,1,4
Web Images*:                   400,0.3,0
City Scapes:                      65,3,2

*If you use Lightroom and export your images before uploading them you can just check the “Sharpen For:” box and select “Screen” from the drop down list.

If you are using Full Photoshop:
After you use the above go into the Edit Menu–> Fade Unsharp Mask. Set Mode to Luminosity and Adjust the Opacity lower until hallows in image go away (50% Usually)

If you are using Photoshop Elements it is a bit more complicated:

1. Duplicate the layer you want to apply the
    filter to (unsharp mask in this case).
2. Apply one of the setting above as the filter settings to the duplicated layer.
3. Go to the top of the layers palette (panel)
    and change the layer blending mode of the
    duplicated layer to luminosity.
4. If the sharping is too strong, you can adjust
    strength by using the opacity slider (also on top
    in the layers panel).
5. If you have a bunch of layers underneath those two
    layers, click on the duplicated layer to select it.
    Then go to Layer-Group with Previous (Create Clipping
    Mask).
6. This groups the two layers together so the sharping doesn’t
    affect the layers below.

Note that these are not “be all end all” settings. These are just guides to help you through post process a bit quicker. You will have to tweak them as needed for each image.

Thanks for reading
Jason

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