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Multi-layer high-pass sharpening (with macro)

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A way of sharpening is to add multiple high-pass layers, progressively reducing the radius and increasing the opacity.

Attached is a macro to do this, including the ability to tweak adjustments. Please try it out and let us know here if you find any better adjustments.

Apply it to a duplicate layer so you can switch the adjusted layer on and off to see the difference.

This seems to be quite labour-intensive, including as it readjusts when you zoom in. It can hence be a good idea to merge the effect into one layer (turn off the original layer and layer/merge visible to do this).

You can also try adjusting the opacity of the adjusted layer and even play with blend mode (eg. try Luminosity).

Dave's 6-Layer High Pass Sharpening.afmacro

Dave Straker

Cameras: Sony A7R2, RX100V

Computers: Win10: Chillblast i9 Custom + Philips 40in 4K & Benq 23in; Surface Pro 4 i5; iPad Pro 11"

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Hello dm straker,
great macro,  thanks for sharing.

best regards

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Windows 10 Pro  (Version  20H2 Build 19042.928)


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  • 2 weeks later...
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Hi SA_Photo55,

Welcome to Affinity Forums :)

Open the Macro panel (View ▸ Studio ▸ Macro) and click the last icon on the right (Import). After you import it there you may want to add it to the Library clicking the Add To Library button (second icon on the right) for later reuse.


.afmacro files (without "s") are single macros which can only be imported from the Macro panel (View ▸ Studio ▸ Macro). They contain/describe the steps of a single macro.

.afmacros files (with "s") are a set of macros (each one with their own steps) and can only be imported from the Library panel (View ▸ Studio ▸ Library).

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  • 1 year later...
  • 11 months later...
On 12/16/2019 at 9:58 PM, Vladimir78 said:

Nevertheless i got one question... Why did you use 6 high pass filters ? is it a special technique ? I know and understand using 1 high pass but i really don't understand why 6 ?

You target different areas of images by changing the radius settings in high pass sharpening. It is not unusual for professional photographers to apply several types of sharpening to one image - often applied to different areas. More basic theory about settings.

Dave got a good idea - combine 6 types of sharpening in one maneuver. :) Then you can fiddle with them individually and try combinations as well. 


  • Name the layers (you can adjust the sharpening for each layer later by changing opacity, so a clear ID for each layer is practical)
  • I would prefer opacity of each layer to default to 0 percent

I rarely apply sharpening to an entire image - so I recommend that you find the sharpening settings that works best and then invert the layer and unmask the parts that needs sharpening - paint with sharpening. It would probably be best to work on a duplicate layer (as Dave suggests) with a mask to 'paint' with the sharpening from all six layers in one move. Otherwise masking can be done on the layers individually.

I highly recommend approaching sharpening with patience and some experiments. Don't pull the sliders randomly. Try adjusting each radius layer and observe the results. Try them on different types of images. Also high ISO images. You will need radically different settings from image to image. Landscape and portrait sharpening are different beasts. It is an investment that pays off in the long run. Big time. Oversharpened images is the most common mistake I see seconded by images sharpened with wrong settings ... and a close third is entire images sharpened degrading the quality of bokeh and other areas in strong competition with too saturated images.

Unfortunately CPU usage increases for as long a the document is opened - even if you hide the layers affected.

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