Advanced sharpening for web in one click and full control.

There are many tutorials how to sharp images for web, and I tested majority of them. Finally I found the one which works best for me. I did not invent the algorithm, big thanks to smart Russian guy, photographer Pavel Kosenko for his research, summarizing the knowledge and finally action he created. I use  this action couple years already and very happy with result.

I am not a theorist I only filter and use the best on the marker:-). So if you are interested in theory, please read books and another blogs for the explanation on how and why every step works this way. Here I give you  only a practical part. This action works best for web size images from 300 х 200 px to 1200 x 800 px.

Below one of the examples of how this actions works. Mouse Over to see Before and After

Advanced sharpening in photoshop for web.

Advanced sharpening in Photoshop for web.

Now, the sharpening process, step by step (or you can download Action at the bottom of this article):


1 step

Re-size the photo for web ( mine 800 x 526). I use Resample Image: Bicubic algorithm.

Resize Image

Resize Image

2 step

Duplicate layer

3 step

Filter/Sharpen/Smart Sharpen:

Smart Sharpen.

Smart Sharpen.

Smart sharpen shadow, hightlight.

Smart sharpen shadow, highlight.

4 step

When you use  Filter Smart Sharpen light pixels can make  a white halo on  darker areas. To reduce this effect we duplicate the sharpening layer. Change the blend mode of the first sharpening layer from “Normal” to “Darken”, the second (duplicate) layer to “Lighten”.

Than set the opacity value  to 80% on “Darken” Layer and 50% on “Lighten” Layer. Opacity value depends from size of the picture, image details and your taste. Play with Opacity slider to see differences.

5 step

Add a Layer Mask to both sharpening layers. Paint over with a black brush if you would like to fade the sharpening effect on some areas.

Sharpening for web in photoshop..

Sharpening for web in photoshop

Finish!

Big advantage of this method is a full control over the process and ability to roll it back.

And finally the assembled ACTION:-)

Download Intelligent Sharpen 2.0.zip by Pavel Kosenko

Enjoy!


Thank you for looking. Any feedback and suggestions are very welcome!
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18 comments to Advanced sharpening for web in one click and full control.

  • Monika

    That was very useful,thanks!!

  • That was great sharpness. Thank you , please post tutorial how did you process your little girl beach photographs also, I saw it on your Blog

  • I will do the tutorial soon:-)

  • Hi, thank you for this Photoshop action. This undoubtedly the best sharpening tool I have used so far. Perfect for architecture and so many other applications… I use it all the time now :) I was curious how you came across or worked out how to develop such an action? It is very complex. By the way, I use it on full size images a well, not just 900 x 600, very subtle, but makes a huge difference on everything…

    Thanks again…

    Highly Recommended to all photographers… if you don’t have this action, you don’t know what you’re missing….

  • great action, and timesaver…..thanks

  • this’Download Intelligent Sharpen 2.0.zip by Pavel Kosenko’ confuses me after installation i cant find the app or if it is a PS plugin i cant find that either ???? am i missing something obvious? also after having created the Layer Masks to both sharpening layers…i dont notice any difference when painting with a black brush do i have to be on the layer mask itself or on the duplicate layer ?

  • Hello,

    Many thanks for all your tips, and to sharing your knowledge.

    I would like to tell you about my method to sharpen an image with photoshop CS5. Perhaps you don’t know it ?

    It works with all size of image.

    1- Open image
    2 – Duplicate layer
    3 – with de layer duplicated : filter / other / high pass

    Choose a radius that allow you to just see the edge of your picture (it depend of each picture and size)
    4- Put it on “overlay” layer

    Play with opacity or mask if you whant

    Thats it !

    Best regards

  • Antoine, I use this method to sharpen prints. For the web I prefer the action from my post. Thank you for your comment, it will be helpful for the readers:-)

  • Nian Chen

    Hi Antoine! I like you method. Thanks a lot!
    I suppose you could also make a mask and brush away the areas that need not to be sharpen.

    I wonder why Dr. Brown’s methods require the image to be reduced first. I tried that method on the full size image and couldn’t find much difference.

    Nian Chen

  • Miroslav

    Hello,

    I decided somewhat belatedly to download the sharpening action, but my browser cannot find the page. Could it have been removed in the meantime?

    Thank you!

  • Steve Juliusson

    Thanks for the tutorial.

    I had a question — once you sharpen the images, are they ready to go on the web, or do they have to be reduced in size again / optimized in Dreamweaver?

    –Steve Juliusson

  • I reduce size then sharpen the images in Photoshop. I don’t use Dreamweaver for this.

  • Miroslav, thank you for letting me know. It’s fixed, now you can download the action.

  • jan ellis

    this’Download Intelligent Sharpen 2.0.zip by Pavel Kosenko’ confuses me after installation i cant find the app or if it is a PS plugin i cant find that either ???? am i missing something obvious? also after having created the Layer Masks to both sharpening layers…i dont notice any difference when painting with a black brush do i have to be on the layer mask itself or on the duplicate layer ?

  • Steve Juliusson

    So at the beginning of the tutorial, you just took that 800px x 526px image, set the resolution to 72 dpi, made all of your settings and then it’s all ready to go without using Dreamweaver?

  • Why isn’t anyone simply using “unsharp mask” and playing with the settings inside that dialogue box? I wonder.

  • Tom James

    any way to automate this action in lightroom? I don’t have photoshop. :-(

  • Linda Mandy

    Jan Ellis- when you click on the .atn file in the download, it should automatically popular into your PS Actions folder.

    To display the actions folder in Photoshop go to “Window” and select “Actions” the actions pallet will then popular your working space like the “Layers” etc pallets.

    Usually you have to select the layer mask but clicking on it. they use black brush (check what Flow and Opacity your brush is set to. ‘ The difference is subtle.

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