Episode 006: Selective sharpening

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Every digital image needs sharpening. But sharpening increases the noise in the image. In this episode I show a way to sharpen only the areas that need to be sharpened – the edges between different colours or levels of brightness. All the other parts of the image are left alone and so the noise stays down.

Sharpening should always be the very last thing you do with your image.

Picture for episode 006

Chris Marquard explained sharpening in Photoshop Corner No. 4 in his Tips from the Top Floor podcast.

I got the described method from the Gimp tutorial page.

Wikipedia describes the underlying process in this article about the unsharp mask. The links at the bottom of the page are very informative.

Meet the GIMP! is now listed in iTunes and Podcast Alley. If you like the show please let the people there know. 😉
You can leave your comments on this blog, write me a or go to the Tips from the Top Floor Forum.


00:22 Welcome
01:00 The original image
01:25 Why we want to selectively sharpen
02:38 Copy the layer and add a layer mask
04:00 Edge-Detect on the layer mask
06:40 Blur the layer mask
07:12 Increase contrast using curves
08:34 Sharpen the image
10:25 Fine tuning
14:35 How sharpening works
15:49 tips from the top floor
18:26 The End
TOC made by paynekj

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14 thoughts on “Episode 006: Selective sharpening

  1. Please send me the image for this episode. I want to try it!

    I am learning a lot, but I know I will learn even more when I review each episode later. My learning curve is SO high now. Experience tells me that the more I already know, the more I can absorb.

    Thanks for your wonderful work.

  2. Hey, just stumbled across your podcast and I just love it. I’ve been on the Linux platform for some months now and haven’t been missing anything accept Photoshop. You have wiped out the last reason for me to keep a Windows partition on my harddrive! Thanks!

    Keep up the great work!


  3. I’ve been using portable Gimp from portableapps.org and think it would be useful if you could explain using UFRaw for pulling in RAW images. I use it currently, but understanding the dialogs is somewhat confusing.

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  7. Hello,
    there will be no effect, if my sharpend-layer is in the normal mode.
    Only the overlay-mode will show the sharpen effect, but then some colors have much more saturation.
    Whats wrong? Gimp 2.6.6

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  9. Hello,
    First-of-all I would like to thank you for such a great pod-cast, I am really learning a lot. I recently found this show on miro guide and wanted to work my way up from the start as I am absolutely new to this image manipulation world.
    I am not able to download this particular episode, it says file not found (even in the torrent). have the files been deleted?? can you post a torrent with episodes 1 to 50 if possible…

  10. Thank you for theese great pod-casts, I am really learning a lot! I this video I had some trouble until I understood that you removed the white layer. The sequence probably disappeared when editing the video.

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