TIP-Sharpening for the Web
About Sharpening for the Web:
I use a variety of sharpening tools for photographs, and for work I have printed, or I print, but I’ve never been completely satisfied with them when it comes to sharpening my low-resolution page designs when I post to web sites. Often, the image seems a bit flat, somewhat blurry.
Last month, Ona (Wombat146) posted a challenge/tutorial at another site. After trying this one out, I just had to pass it along to you. I have checked and it works in Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Paint Shop Pro and Photo-Paint. I don’t have any other programs, but it’s worth looking through them to see if you can find this.
Best of all, it’s completely non-destructive and reversible—so, if you don’t like what you get, just zap the effect and you’ll still have your original image.
After you’ve prepared your image for the web (72 ppi at 600x600), but before saving, do the following:
Duplicate the image on a separate layer. In Photoshop it’s just a CNTRL-J; in PSP, use the duplicate function under layers.
On that duplicated top image, then apply a high-pass sharpening filter ( Photoshop under Effects, Other, High Pass; PSP is Effects, Edge Effects, High Pass). If every case, you’ll see a window pop up with a slider or a box. For this to work on your layout, you’ll want to keep the number below 2 (I use about a 1.6-1.9 at the most). I found with PSP that going to 1.5 seemed to work well.
I did a bit of research on High Pass and discovered that the rather strange image you see when you apply it to the layer shows what the effect does. The grey part is a mask of what will NOT be sharpened; the line at the edge of objects is where the effect will be applied. You want to really just slightly bump up the sharpening effect on the edges, so you need to keep the number low.
Now, here’s the magic. Change the layer from “normal” to “overlay”. MAGIC! Suddenly your rather dull page will sparkle. You can use “soft light” for less effect or “hard” light for more. And, you can adjust the intensity of the effect with the opacity slider. Now, to see the difference, turn off the “high pass filter” effect (the little eyeball) and see if you like the effect. If you do, merge the layers and complete your process of saving for the web. If not, just delete the layer!
And I want to do a shout-out to Ona for introducing me to how well this works on my layouts!