There is always a million ways people will tell you how to sharpen in photoshop and no one can agree on what is the best method. There is the regular unsharp-mask(USM) method, the high pass method, theres an embossing method, and the list goes on. This isn’t really a tutorial, but more of an insight on the method i choose to use. I don’t in any way take credit for this method, the credit goes to Luko from Trekearth. I suggest you make the following steps into a action in photoshop, so you dont have to remember these steps everytime. Also, this method works best on sharpening web sized photographs. I usually use it on images i’ve resized to 640px on the longest side. I’ll add a few things to the process that i use.

Luko’s Sharpening Method

  1. UnsharpMask : effect 18, radius 40, threshold 0
  2. UnsharpMask : effect 150 radius 0.3, threshold 0
  3. Edit/fade USM, 100%, darken blend mode
  4. UnsharpMask : effect 150 radius 0.3, threshold 0
  5. Edit/fade USM, 50%, brighten blend mode

My only edit to the steps is in relation to making it an action and a little more control over the sharpening effect.

  1. Before anything i tell the action that i want to duplicate the layer and do the sharpening on that layer.
  2. I then rename that layer into “sharpened layer” so i dont lose track of it.
  3. Do all of Luko’s steps.
  4. End the action.
  5. After the action is over you can adjust the opacity of the sharpened layer to lower the effect of the sharpening to your liking.

Hope this tutorial helped!

Got comments? Leave a comment below. Tell me if you enjoyed this tutorial or if it was helpful. Comments keep me writing. Thanks

original source to this technique can be found here at Trekearth.


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