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Sharpening images using the high pass filter

Most people when they want to sharpen their images with photoshop they use the USM (Unsharp Mask filter), however there is another powerful photoshop filter that in my opinion does a better job.

I am going to start with a closeup of a flower that I took handheld

Here is a 100%crop of the picture before using this technique
photoshop tutorial original

Let’s start
1) Open the photo you want to sharpen and make sure you are viewing it at 100%
2) Duplicate the background layer by hitting Ctrl+J or just go to Layer-> Duplicate Layer
3) Now it’s time to apply the High Pass filter at the duplicate layer. Go to Filter-> Other -> High Pass. I usually use a radius somewhere between 9 and 12. In this case I used a radius of 11.5

photoshop tutorial high pass

Now your image should look like this.

photoshop tutorial after high pass

Change the duplicate layer mode to either overlay,soft light or hard light. Play with the blending modes and the opacity (I usually use values from 30 to 70% ) of the duplicate layer until you are happy with the result

In this case I used Soft light and an opacity of 60%
Here is a side by side comparison of the original versus the modified
original modified end result
Original ————————————————>Modified

Photoshop, tutorial, sharpen, high pass, filter,

4 Responses to Sharpening images using the high pass filter

  1. tobto December 6, 2005 at 9:08 am #

    this is exactly I’ve searched. thx a lot! I guess high-pass filter is a secret weapon of PS-guru’s.

  2. clem December 30, 2005 at 5:53 am #

    nice when used on single channels … The weakness when using this is the blend mode that you need to use…howver masks can help a lot here too :-)

  3. Dan March 1, 2006 at 11:30 am #

    I’m not sure I’d call sharpening via High Pass “better” or “more powerful” than USM. It certainly is less prone to sharpening noise… but only because it’s effect is generally cruder—that is, it actually does an objectively worse job sharpening.

    Because of this, though, it certainly can prove more useful when you need a less aggressive sharpen.

  4. mark April 20, 2006 at 6:14 pm #

    a powerful image filter: PixTwix