148. About Sharpness
149 Sharpen an Image
150 Blur an Image to Remove Noise
151 Blur a Background to Create Depth of Field
153 Soften Selected Details
Unfortunately, when you take photographs with either a standard film camera or a digital camera, the camera does not always capture a picture as sharp as what you are able to see with your eyes. The sharpness of the picture can be affected by multiple conditions, such as poor lighting, poor visibility, or even the fact that your digital camera is set to capture images at a lower resolution. The sharpness of a photo can also be diminished when you scan a photo into your computer. Fortunately, you can improve the sharpness of an image with Photoshop Elements.
Photoshop Elements provides several filters you can use to improve the sharpness of your image. You can apply the filter to the entire layer of the image or to just a selected portion of the layer. Each of the following filters uses a slightly different method of increasing the contrast of adjacent pixels to make the image appear sharper:
Sharpen. Use this filter to increase the distinction between contrasting regions of an image by eliminating the appearance of blending along the edges of those regions. Think of the Sharpen filter as the opposite of anti-aliasing. To apply the Sharpen filter to your selection, select Filter, Sharpen, Sharpen.
Sharpen Edges. Use this filter to sharpen the edges of objects within your selection or layer. This filter sharpens the edges by finding regions where there is a significant change in the colors between adjoining pixels. Those regions appear sharper by increasing the contrast between the pixels while the other areas in the image remain untouched. To apply the Sharpen Edges filter to your selection, select Filter, Sharpen, Sharpen Edges.
Sharpen More. Use this filter when you want to create a stronger focus and more clarity to the selection than what is provided by the Sharpen filter. To apply the Sharpen More filter to your selection, select Filter, Sharpen, Sharpen More.
Unsharp Mask. Although its name can be misleading, this filter actually enables you to create the most professional sharpening effect of all the sharpen filters. With the Unsharp Mask filter, you can adjust the contrast of the edge detail in your image to emphasize the edge by creating darker and lighter lines on each side of the edge. When you use this filter, you specify the amount of contrast used to compare the pixels that surround the edges by adjusting the Threshold level. You can specify the exact region around each pixel to compare by adjusting the Radius setting. You apply the Unsharp Mask filter by selecting Filter, Sharpen, Unsharp Mask. See 149 Sharpen an Image for more information on using the Unsharp Mask filter to sharpen an image.
You can use the Sharpen tool, available from the Toolbox, to sharpen specific portions of your image. With this tool, you paint the areas of the image you want to sharpen. This tool works well when you want to sharpen only a small portion of the image. See 153 Soften Selected Details for more information on setting the Options bar settings for the Sharpen tool.
Another method for making part of an image look sharper is to blur the background or the noise in the photo. See 150 Blur an Image to Remove Noise for more information. See 151 Blur a Background to Create Depth of Field for information on blurring the background to make the subject stand out.