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Tip #842: How to Improve Apparent Focus

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The Unsharp mask is applied (left) with a Radius of 2.2. The right side is the original image.

Topic $TipTopic

Given the state of today’s technology you can’t refocus an image after it’s been shot. (Well, not in any tool that I have access to…)

However, you can create the illusion of focus, which may bail you out when an image is “just a bit soft.” Here’s how.

Select the layer containing the soft image, then apply Filters > Sharpen > Unsharp mask.

NOTE: Don’t use Sharpen, Unsharp mask does a better job.

What sharpening does is emphasize the edges between objects by boosting the contrast at the edge itself. Taken to extremes this will put a harsh border around every edge. Don’t do that.

Instead, change the default Radius settings for Unsharp Mask so they are between 1.0 and 2.2. As you can see in the screen shot, the left side of her hair has sharpening and has a more apparent focus than the right side. The difference is a Radius of 2.2.

The effect is most noticeable in her hair, as the screen shot illustrates.

With this filter, less is definitely more because the default settings are excessively out of whack.

EXTRA CREDIT

Remember, this filter only affects edges. So, it won’t modify skin or other areas which have no significant texture.


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