Sharpening Techniques : Unsharp Mask

Here is a very quick sharpening technique that I learned not so long ago and use when sharpening my images.
It is really easy and uses the Unsharp Mask filter in Photoshop.  Yes, I did say unsharp mask to sharpen, however, this is a term used with traditional darkroom techniques.
Method
Step 1 Go into Photoshop and select the Filter drop down menu
Step 2 Hover your mouse over Sharpen and choose Unsharp Mask
A dialogue box will appear and it will have three sliders – Amount/Radius/Threshold
Now if you have not used this filter before you maybe wondering what amounts to set the sliders to.  As a guide I would say the following
Amount Use between 65% -150%
Radius Use between 1 – 3
Threshold Use between 0 – 10
Like with most things Photoshop don’t be rigid with these figures, and feel free to experiment.
If you find that you are getting nasty halos around subjects, especially when sharpening studio images, then do the following before Steps 1 and 2 above.
Select the Filter Menu and select Convert for Smart Filters.  When you have selected convert for Smart Filters, then start Steps 1 and 2.  What you will find is that a white layer mask will appear in the Layers Panel.
To remove the nasty halo that appears, select a Brush, or press B on your keyboard, and I tend to use a soft brush.  Make sure you have selected black as a foreground colour, and click the white layer mask.  Now if your subject has a halo just paint over it with your brush and the halo will be removed!
Don’t forget that when you are using the technique to switch the Preview button on and off to see what the image will look like with the filter applied and without it.
I hope that this technique has helped you.
Feel free to leave your comments below.
Todor
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