Photoshop Tip: Sharpening with Photoshop’s High-Pass Filter

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Greetings. Have you ever been working on a project and needed to give an image a little boost? Whether it needs a bit more contrast, or needs to be sharper, I always find that the High Pass filter can give me a more dynamic result without spending too much time.

The High Pass filter should be used as an Overlay on top of a merged image. To see how it works, open a photo. I’m opening this awesome photo of me smashing sandwiches into my face, but you can open whatever photo you like. Press Ctrl/Command + J to duplicate the background (great keyboard shortcut). Now, let’s High Pass this thing.

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The High Pass filter is located at the bottom of the filter list under “Other.” The radius dictates what detail is omitted from the image. Play with it and figure out how much of the image you want to sharpen. I’m leaving it at the default of 10.

Now set the layer to “Overlay.” If you feel there’s just way too much sharpening for your taste, mess with the opacity. Here’s my finished image. It’s not too different from the original ( which wasn’t of the best quality to begin with), but the contrast is more dynamic, and there is some additional depth added through the sharpening.

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Here are some additional examples:
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About the Author, Oliver Barrett

I'm a designer, art director, illustrator, bowling captain, bass player, shortshop, strategist, and much much more. Follow me on Twitter and check out my Flickr

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