Take your photography to the next level and beyond...

  • NEWS

Why not join for free today?

Join for Free

Your total photography experience starts here

Christmas Prize Draw 2017

Photoshop tutorial - Sharpening

Photoshop tutorial - Sharpening - Here's how to sharpen an image using the High Pass Filter in Photoshop.

 Add Comment

Adobe Photoshop

Sharpening photoshop tutorialSharpening using the High Pass Filter has less chance of creating the unwanted contrast halo often associated with unsharp mask (or similar).

Here's how to do it:
1. Open the original in Photoshop – in this particular case CS3.
2. Duplicate the layer to be sharpened.
3. With the 'Copy' layer selected, go to – Menu Bar>Filter>Other>High Pass.
Photoshop tutorial sharpening Sharpen tutorial in Photoshop

4. In the High Pass Filter dialog select a radius of between 1.0 to 3.5 – general rule of thumb, the larger the image, the larger the number before ‘distortion’ - then click 'OK'
5. Ensure the 'Copy' layer is highlighted (it should be) and go to Menu Bar>Layer>Layer Style> select Blending Options.
6. In the dialog box General Blending (top) section select Hard Light for the Blend Mode. This will immediately display the resulting image underneath.
Photoshop tutorial sharpening Photoshop tutorial sharpening 

7. If the effect is too great it can be reduced using the opacity scale just under Hard Light – or 'Cancel' and return to section 3 (return to the appropriate position in the History palette) and try again.
8. When satisfied go to Menu Bar>Layer>Merge Down (or Flatten Image if there are just the two layers.)
9. The History and Layers palettes should look something like this when finished from the point you started the process.
Sharpen tutorial Sharpening photoshop tutorial

That is the end of the process. I should recommend creating a series of Actions at High Pass Filter .5 radius intervals, then the process can be fully automated – just select which you think maybe the appropriate level to use.
Sharpening tutorial photoshop

Words by David Kidd (CaptainTweaky).
Join ePHOTOzine and remove these ads.

Explore More


Great technique well explained!

Is it possible to get this article - and the others - as a pdf-file? I would love to print these, but using IE that also give me all the other stuff on the page, and I don't want that.


Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

I also would like the articles as a pdf so I can print them out.
Personally, I prefer this technique -

1. Copy layer
2. Convert new layer to greyscale or black and white
3. Up brightness and contrast a bit if tones are very flat
4. Run highpass filter; strength between 7 and 10 and radius between 1 and 3.
5. Blend mode at soft light and adjust opacity to 60 to 75%.

This technique particularly good with eyes in portraits. Using a "hide-all" layer mask cut through the mask over the eyes with a soft white brush. leaves face softer but eyes crisp and sharp.

Pdf versions of these would be great.
In the meantime though, just copy and paste them into a Word document. (I use OpenOffice but it's just same.)
It simply replicates the part of the page you highlight so there are no ads. to spoil it and if you want to be really clever, you can edit your pasted version and, using your favoured converter, turn that into a Pdf!
great technique - i have used it on a couple of my photographs this week rather than the usual unsharp mask option which i have found to be good but high pass is definitely a higher sharpness quality.
Excellent, thanks for sharing it, Adrian
I've just printed this out as a PDF. Comes out ok.....
I would suggest converting copied layer for smart filters (Convert for Smart Filters in Filter menu) before running High Pass filter. That enables instant access to filter settings after applying. In other words you don't have to change layer opacity or go back to History if you are not satisfied because you can always change High Pass filter settings.
Also check the effect with different blending modes - Overlay (which I personally prefer) and Soft Light (smoother sharpening)

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.