Learning to Sharpen
Thus far, this book has been fairly long on theory and short on practice. In this chapter, I'll switch focus to looking in depth at the tools Photoshop offers for sharpening images, and the techniques you need to develop in order to use them effectively in a capture-to-output sharpening workflow. The tools themselves are important, but there's a world of difference between simply running the Unsharp Mask filter on a flattened image and running Unsharp Mask on a layer with an edge mask: the former uses a tool, while the latter employs a technique.
So in this chapter, I'll explain the basic tools, but I'll also demonstrate techniques for using those tools in ways that may not be obvious. Of course, Photoshop always offers multiple ways to carry out any given task. It's not my intention to cover every possible way to sharpen pixels. To do so would greatly lengthen this book, and take us into territories that my friend and colleague Fred Bunting eloquently describes as "more interesting than relevant."
Instead, I'll cover the tools and techniques that I've tested exhaustively, that I use on a daily basis, and in which I have total confidence. If a cherished trick of yours isn't covered here, don't worryit's entirely possible that you know something I don't. By the same token, if I debunk a cherished myth, rest assured that I do so without maliceat some point in time, they were very likely myths that I, too, cherished.