High Pass Sharpening? What is it? Many of you already know of it. I have been shooting with a DSLR for the last 6 years, Photoshopping for the last 12 years and every time I heard someone say, “Oh… yes just use a High Pass Sharpen” with their nose in the air, I said, “Oh yes great idea.” But I was really thinking what the hell is High Pass Sharpening? I always just Un-sharp Mask and call it a day. Well I know better now, well at least for the last month I can say I have known better!
In general, High Pass Sharpening is a great tool to clean up a slightly blurry image really quickly and effectively. It is also a must for printing! It is magical how this sharpening brings out even more detail in your already bad ass HDR images. Like I said before, many of you already know this, but I am a noob to it and thought I would share my High Pass Sharpening tutorial with all of the other noobs to it.
High Pass Sharpening and HDR
- Open your desired image in Photoshop. Mine is a macro of some water droplets, this will be a good image to show you how High Pass Sharpening effects the minute details in an image.
- High Pass Sharpening is the last step that should be applied to an image. That being said, make your usual adjustment layers, here is a quick link in case you missed it!
- Duplicate the layer after completing the adjustment layers necessary to make that image pop. Right click the layer and select Duplicate layer.
- On the Background copy, change the layer blend mode to anything in the Overlay section, I usually start with Overlay.
- With the Background Copy selected, go to Filter>Other>High Pass.
- I like to stay on the safe slide and keep the slider between 2.5 and 4.5. That is subjective for the image of course.
- Be sure to pay attention to how the image details are being effected and use your artistic judgement… Oh wait I am sorry… You are a Photoshop Jedi… Use the Force to find your very own sweet spot!
- Press OK
- Now go back to the layer blend mode and switch it through the Opacity area. I prefer Overlay and Linear Light. They both do a great job of popping the details out.
- For many images that’s all it takes. This is a macro image though and those blurry areas that make macro shots so cool need to remain blurry. I am going to go ahead and apply a layer mask to the Background Copy and mask out those Now-Sharpened-But-Supposed-To-Be-Blurry-Areas.
- That’s it, High Pass Sharpening complete!
- I do not recommend doing this if you are going to upload to Redbubble.com. For some unknown reason they put an insane amount of sharpening on your images already! Your image will look pretty over sharpened if you do this before uploading. But for everything else it kicks ass!