Finally! Sharpen Without ANY Halos in Photoshop!

December 10, 2019

Does sharpening in post actually sharpen your
photo? Before we answer that question, we need to
dig a little deeper. The way digital sharpening works is by adding
contrast around just the edges. So let’s say this is the image that we want
to sharpen in post. Watch closely what happens when we apply Sharpening
to it. Here’s the before, here is the after. Looks sharp, right? Now, let’s have a closer look. Here’s the before, here is the after. Look at the edges, the brighter side of the
edge becomes brighter and the darker side of the edge becomes darker adding contrast
to just the edges. But this, my friend, gives rise to halos. The more we apply Sharpening, the more halos
there will be which brings us to today’s lesson. Today I’m going to show you how to sharpen
as much as you want without any halos. So without any further ado, let’s get started. So here we are back in the magical world of
Photoshop and if you want to go ahead and download this photo and follow along, check
the links in the description. Now let me ask you a question. What creates the halo? Lightening and darkening around the edge,
right? Now, what if we could separate the lightening
and darkening aspects of Sharpening? Does that ring a bell? I would love for you to listen to this carefully. Two aspects – Lightening and Darkening. Still doesn’t ring a bell? Now, before we get into it, I got to let you
know one thing. Sharpening is something which we apply in
the end. So let’s say you have created some layers
for removing blemishes, some for frequency separation, and maybe some Adjustment layers
like Curves here and there, then I would require you to create a Stamp Visible layer on top
by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E / Command + Option + Shift + E on a Mac, and then apply
the Sharpening filter here and move forward. Otherwise in this case, we just have one layer,
one Background layer. In that case, we’ll just simply make a copy. So make sure the Background layer is selected
and then press Ctrl or Command + J to make a copy of it. We always want to have a backup. All right, so let’s name this Sharpen – Darken. It will make sense later. Don’t think too much about it right now. Now, let’s convert this layer into a Smart
Object. Why? Because once we convert this into a Smart
Object, any filter you apply, you’ll be able to change the values later. All right, let’s go to Filter and then Convert
for Smart Filters. Hit OK. See that logo right there? It just means that this layer is now a Smart
Object. Now you can use any sharpening technique or
filter you want. I’m just going to simply use Smart Sharpen. So let’s go to Filter and then Sharpen and
inside of that, have a look at this, the filters with three dots just means that an additional
dialog box will show up with additional sliders and options. All of the other ones, like Sharpen, Sharpen
Edges, Sharpen More, they don’t have much options that you can toggle. So if you just select Sharpen Edges, you don’t
get to choose how much or what is the Radius and all of that stuff. If you double click on it, nothing happens. On the other hand, I’m just giving you a little
tip here, if you go to Filter – Sharpen, and if you just select any of the ones with dots
at the end, three dots, options will show up. So let’s choose Smart Sharpen. Now here, let’s choose a Radius. Let’s choose a Radius of 4, is fine. I’m exaggerating this because I want you to
see the problem. And we are applying an Amount of 200. Right? So the Amount is 200, Radius is 4 pixels,
which is the thickness of the edge. Now, we don’t want any Noise Reduction or
any of that and just hit OK. Now, this is sharpened. Have a look. Here’s the before, here’s the after. Looks sharpened. But if you zoom in closely, have a look at
this problem right there. This is called ‘Haloing around the edge’ and
this is what we have to get rid of. This problem doesn’t bother us here in the
skin texture, it doesn’t bother us so much more, probably, in the forehead or any of
the other areas. But anywhere there’s a hard contrast-y edge,
it bothers us. So how do we tackle that without just simply
removing the sharpening from that area? Simple. Change the Blend Mode of Sharpen – Darken
to Darken and that’s why it’s named that way. Now let’s zoom in, I want you to have a close
look. Now, what sharpening is doing is that it’s
darkening the other side and brightening the other side. So, here’s the before, here’s the after. It’s also darkening. So, I want to keep the darkening just for
this layer and take away the lightning that it’s doing. So change the Blend Mode from Normal to Darken. This way, have a look, only the darkening
stays. But, it also is not good because it’s making
the whole image look cartoon-y, right? We also want to lighten but, not in all areas. So, make a copy of this one, Sharpen – Darken,
Ctrl or Command + J, we have a copy. And let’s just name it, Sharpen – Lighten. Okay. Now change the Blend Mode of this one from
Darken to Lighten. So we get the same effect. This one is for lighten, and this one is for
darken. It’s the exact same effect as applying just
one sharpening with the Normal Blend Mode. Now we have separated them into two – Lightning
and Darkening. So have a look, this is the lightning part
of it, this is the darkening part of it. We need both, but in some areas we don’t. Now let’s create a Mask for both of them. So let’s say, we don’t want the lightning
in here. So we will create a Mask, make sure you select
Sharpen – Lighten, and then choose the Mask right there, click on the Mask button, take
the brush, make sure the foreground color is black. Now, if you completely remove it, it will
be a total mess. So let’s zoom out a little bit. Take a Soft Round Brush and if you just simply
completely remove it, let’s remove it completely, it doesn’t look right. Right? So we have to be careful about it. Decrease the Flow, that’s all you got to do,
decrease the Flow to somewhere about 20-30%. So I’m going to go for 30% because, for the
sake of this tutorial, I want to go a little faster. Or let’s go for 20%. Alright, and just paint over the areas where
you want to remove the brightened halo from. These areas are fine. That’s it. Have a look, without the Mask, with the Mask. See, gone so easily. We can take care of this here as well. Here you don’t see so much of a problem. But as you can see, there’s so much darkness,
if I turn off the Darken one, turn it on, there’s some extra darkening going on in here
which is taking away the details. So we will create a Mask for the Darken. Make sure you select Sharpen – Darken and
then click on the Mask button. Now simply, with a lower flow, take the brush,
foreground color black, paint on this area. See, it’s becoming softer, a little lighter,
better. So this is really another level of sharpening. I want you to have a close look at the lips. So this is before sharpening. This is after sharpening. It does look sharp, I like it. But, have a look at the cracks of the lips. It’s more enhanced by the Sharpen – Darken. So, without the Sharpen – Darken, after the
Sharpen – Darken. I don’t mind the highlights on the lips because
they look good on lips. But the darks, they don’t. So select the Mask. Now this is completely subjective, you can
remove whatever you want. That’s upon you. I’m just here to show the techniques. All right, take the brush, black and just
paint away the darks. That’s it. This time I’m gonna increase the Flow to 100. Just take it away. See, now we have soft lips, but it’s still
sharp with the highlights. Have a look, before – after, before – after. It’s still sharp, it’s getting sharp, but,
the cracks are not as enhanced as it was. Now, after you’ve taken care of the halos,
you can actually make a group of both of these, and then control both of them together as
well. So, let’s say you’re done with whatever you
want to do. So, let’s zoom in and check if the nose is
all right. Here’s the before, here’s the after. I think it’s all right. There’s a little bit of halo in here. So, we can go to the Mask right there and
just erase that. It’s fine. Just get a little back. Just the halo we want to erase. All right. Now I’m getting too nitpicky. Anyway, doesn’t matter. So, select the Sharpen – Lighten, hold the
Ctrl or Command, select the Sharpen – Darken and then press Ctrl or Command + G. Now, whenever you are sharpening in Photoshop,
keep in mind we are sharpening for attention. Wherever you want the attention to go, sharpen
that area more. So in this case, we want the attention only
on the face. So we don’t want to sharpen the areas which
is not the face. So with the group selected, click on the Mask
button and you can mask it away from the rest of the areas or let’s go back, hold the Alt
key or the Option key, click on the Mask. This creates a Negative Mask. Now, apply Sharpening only on the areas where
you want. So with the help of the brush, decrease the
Flow to 20. We would paint more on the eyes because we
want the attention more on the eyes. So, we’ll just paint with white. You can press X to toggle between the foreground
and the background, see what’s happening there. Paint with white in the eyes, a little bit
here on the cheeks, a little more on the nose and on the lips. So, you can control the amount by creating
an overall Mask. So that’s how to do some advanced Sharpening
without any halos in Photoshop. So, I went ahead and did a little bit of Dodging
& Burning. I just wanted to show you this. So this is the Sharpening that we had done. Actually, we can name this Sharpen, and on
top of that, we did some color correction and skintone color correction, dodging and
burning here and there. So this is before that and this is after. If you’re interested in learning Dodging & Burning
or adjusting the skin tones, there are lots of videos in this channel. And I’ve linked the important ones in the
description below. So be sure to check them out. I hope this video helped you and before we
leave, time for a quick little recap. Make a copy of the Background layer. If you have created a merged layer on top,
that will do as well. Once you have that copy, convert that into
a Smart Object. You can name that Sharpen – Darken if you
want to, and then apply a sharpening filter anything you want. I just applied Smart Sharpen and after that,
change the Blend Mode of that one to Darken. Make another copy, change the Blend Mode to
Lighten. Now, we have separated the two aspects of
sharpening which is Brightening and Darkening around the edge. And then you can use Masks or even the amounts
of filters to control that in different areas. That’s it. I hope this video helped you and if it did,
make sure to give us a like and also don’t forget to subscribe and not just subscribe,
ring the bell so that you, my friend, don’t miss any other future tip, trick or tutorial. I would like to take this moment and thank
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free for everybody forever. Thank you so much for all your support. Thank you for watching. I’ll see you guys in my next one.Till then,
stay tuned and make sure that you keep creating.

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