photoshop creative

Edit photos with filters

Posted in:
General, by The Photoshop Creative Team
March 21, 2011

The Filters menu contains powerful commands that no serious Photoshop user should be without – get started with this feature excerpt

The original image

Image after Unsharp Mask

The final image after Unsharp Mask was used to combat blur

When most people think of Photoshop filters they tend to think of some of the more artistic approaches used to magic a photograph into an oil painting, cross-stitch pattern or similar effects. In fact, the most commonly used Photoshop filters are regular staples of any pro retouching regime that seeks to maintain some semblance of photographic reality, whether the subject is fashion, sport, portraiture, landscape or still life.

Far from being something tucked away in the menus purely for a bit of creative play, the Filters menu contains powerful commands that no serious Photoshop user should be without.

And these are the filters that we’re going to highlight here; those that focus more on the subtle retouch rather than the illustrative transformation side of Photoshop. First up in our walkthrough section are the Sharpening filters, of which the latter two are the most useful to us. The most advantageous is undoubtedly Unsharp Mask, which can be used to perform a basic sharpening role as well as being put to more creative, edge contrast uses.

It’s worth noting to start that the process of digital capture has a natural softening effect on imagery because of the anti-aliasing filter used to prevent a phenomenon known as ‘jaggies’; sharp jagged edges that make things look pixelated. Any image captured digitally, therefore, needs some form of sharpening to counteract that softening. If you shoot in JPEG mode, this sharpening will be applied automatically unless you’ve manually switched it off. If you shoot Raw for maximum quality, you’ll need to apply that sharpening afterwards. It’s better to do it in Photoshop than at the Raw processing stage because Camera Raw sharpening algorithms just don’t look as good as the results of Unsharp Mask.

Read the rest of the feature in issue 72…

  • Derek Hattersley

    The resharpening tools are an added bonus to the digital image, Photoshop is the NEW DARKROOM with a variety of photo enhancing features that would take hours of testing and of trial and error in a dark room. As it was with traditional photography a percentage of the image belongs to the camera the rest to the darkroom, so it is all the more natural a tool for the digital photographer to have at his disposal. For the purists it cuts out time and expense and for the creative it gives new avenues.