Sign & Digital Graphics

March '20

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6 8 • M A R C H 2 0 2 0 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S Unsharp Mask It would be nice if the horse was a little more prominent in the image. Granted, the horse is a very small element in the entire picture, but it's the key subject of the image and therefore should be emphasized. First, we'll convert the Background layer to a Smart Object so that we can apply a dynamic filter that can later be masked and adjusted. In the Layers panel, target the Background layer. From the Layers panel Options menu choose Convert to Smart Object. Next, choose Filter > Unsharp Mask. Drag the Amount slider to 183 percent, the Radius slider to 6.8 and the Threshold slider to 11. (Figure 7) Keep an eye on the image as it sharpens and experiment with different settings until you're satisfied, then click OK. We want to emphasize the horse and the foreground at the bottom of the image and diminish the sharpening on the cliffs. In the Layers panel you'll see a mask under the smart object layer. Click the mask and choose the Gradient tool. With black as the foreground color and white as the background color, drag the tool vertically from top to bottom starting a little above the horse. The gradient mask conceals the sharpening effect from the cliffs and applies it to the horse and foreground. (Figure 8). At any time, you can click Unsharp Mask under the gradient mask and display the filter interface where you can tweak the adjustment. Finally, to create even more emphasis on the horse, you can paint out some of the sharpening effect by painting with black on the mask with a low opacity brush to diminish some of the sharpening on the grass around the horse. (Figures 9A and 9B). That's That Five quick steps transform an image from a drab, low-contrast, color- cast image to color-balanced image that is print ready. These adjustments can be quite subtle but vastly improve the quality of the picture. Simple techniques like these are standard practice for scanned images, pictures taken with a digital camera or even cell phone pix. The workflow is fast, taking only a few minutes to perform. So why settle for less when the quick-fix is at your fingertips? Your images will be greatly improved with a minimal investment in time. SDG 7 The Unsharp Mask filter interface. 8 The gradient mask conceals the sharpening effect from the cliffs and applies it to the horse and foreground. Further tweaks on the filter mask with a low opacity brush diminishes the grass in the foreground and places more emphasis on the horse. 9a 9a 9b 9b

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