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Thread: Unsharp Mask

  1. #1
    Senior Member mn shutterbug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    SW MN

    Unsharp Mask

    A few weeks ago I read a thread about using the unsharp mask in Photoshop. The hints and recommendations offered did really help some of my photos "pop". However, the thread also said that unsharp mask doesn't really sharpen at all. That's not necessarily true. If you have the settings correct, this filter will sharpen very nicely. Here is an interesting article I found at Outdoor Photographer online. I tried it on a few and was very pleased with the results. :thumbsup:
    Last edited by mn shutterbug; 08-11-2007 at 02:40 PM.
    Canon 30D X 2, Canon 100-400L, Thrift Fifty, Canon 18-55 IS 3rd generation lens plus 430 EX II flash and Better Beamer. :thumbsup:

  2. #2
    Noobsauce KenB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Bowie, MD

    Re: Unsharp Mask

    Good article. It's comforting when I find that the techniques I've essentially taught myself through trial and error are the same ones the pros are using.

    I find myself switching back and forth between Smart Sharpen and USM in CS3. Whichever one gives me the best results on any given image.

    Canon EOS 350D
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    Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM
    Sigma 18-50mm f/3.5-5.6 DC
    Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG
    Canon 50mm f/1.8 II
    Canon Speedlight 430EX

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  3. #3
    Senior Member Medley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Hillsboro, OR, USA

    Re: Unsharp Mask

    The argument that Unsharp Mask doesn't actually sharpen an image is made on technical grounds, Mike. Blurriness in an image is caused by a lack of definition at the high-contrast edges. Since there is no way to "add" definition to a poorly shot image, the argument is basically true. Unsharp Mask simply increases the contrast at the edges of an image, providing the illusion of sharpening. Although there has been no increase of detail, the image seems sharper to the human eye.

    I've been a student of photoshop for several years, and have spent the last year and a half or so specializing in sharpening techniques. Although I understand the argument, it seems somewhat purist from my perspective.

    - Joe U.

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