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Intelligent sharpen with High Pass and Pop


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Pop and Sharpen with intelligent high pass filter


Here is a more intelligent way of sharpening with a high pass filter.  The high pass filter does not work well with very bright and very dark pixels. It introduces undesirable artifacts for those type of pixels.  The first thing this macro does is add a brightness/contrast layer and the contrast is reduced to make these very bright and dark pixels move toward middle gray.  I set the macro to reduce the opacity by 0% but you have the ability to change this to whatever value you want.  (You may wish not to apply any contrast reduction as the high pass filter will be applied to the midtones only.) This helps eliminate some of the intensity plateaus / white halos.  You may or may not need to add this reduction based on the contrast of your picture. I merge this layer down into the pixel layer.  The macro then applies the high pass filter.  The high pass filter generates a 50% gray level and then looks for high frequency components which are defined as rapid changes in brightness in adjacent pixels.  Hence it basically looks for edges. It then brightens those pixels adjacent to the edges above 50% gray and darkens those pixels on edges below 50% gray. You can adjust the radius which determines the pixel depth adjacent to the detected high frequency edge that are modified. Keep the radius about 10 or less pixels and adjust to make sure that artifacts such as halos do not appear. I find 10 pixels the absolute maximum upper limit but typically use 0.8- 1.2 pixel. This upper limit can be adjusted based on the picture and how much you decrease the contrast in the brightness/contrast layer defined above. Then the blend mode is set to linear light but any contrast specific blend mode such as overlay, soft light, hard light, and vivid light will also work.  Linear light has the biggest effect and soft light the least effect.  I typically do not use soft light for this. Linear light provides the most sharpening but you could see halos, then comes vivid light which may still create halos then hard light, overlay and soft light  I found that vivid light sometimes still shows some halos depending of course on the radius but they seem to disappear with the hard light blend mode. The blend modes above do not address 50% gray pixels which the high pass filter ignores. These are the only blend modes you should use for this macro. Pick which one works for you. To control this effect even more, blend ranges are set to apply the filter to the midtones only.  Then the Fill is set for the linear light blend mode in the high pass filter to 100%. You can adjust the Fill. The higher the Fill, the higher the amount of sharpening so here is an embedded soft way to decrease the sharpening without changing the high pass radius. Next a black mask is applied to the high pass filter.  

Advanced users never sharpen the entire picture but only selected areas to draw the viewer into the picture. When the macro has run, the user needs to select the black mask and paint with a white brush set to appropriate opacity, fill and hardness and paint over the areas that you want to sharpen in the picture.   If you do nothing, no sharpening takes place. You again can reduce the amount of sharpening here if you set the fill and opacity to less than 100%. 

The macro then pops the picture by applying curves in the LAB color space and offsetting Ao and Bo.  You can adjust Ao and Bo to taste within the curves adjustment. You can adjust the lightness also to taste. The macro then also creates a selective color adjustment and Levels adjustment that you can adjust to taste to further enhance the picture.  These adjustment layers are picture specific, so no adjustments are made to them.  It is up to you to go in and adjust them to taste.

intelligent high pass sharpen and pop.afmacro

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  • 5 months later...

Import it into "Macro" not "Library", then "Add to Library". (If you're not sure how, mouse over the small icons at the top of the tab.)

(You'll need an image open in order to add the macro to the "Macro" tab.)

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