How to Use the Sharpen Tool in Photoshop Elements 9

7 of 12 in Series: The Essentials of Correcting Photos in Photoshop Elements 9

The Sharpen tool in Photoshop Elements increases the contrast among adjacent pixels to give the illusion that things are sharper. This tool should be used with restraint, however. Sharpen can quickly give way to overly grainy and noisy images if you’re not cautious. Use a light hand and keep the areas you sharpen small.

1

Choose the Sharpen tool from the Tools panel in Edit Full mode.

Press Shift+R to cycle through the Blur, Sharpen, and Smudge tools.

2

Select a brush from the Brushes Preset Picker drop-down panel.

Use a small brush for sharpening smaller areas of the image.

3

Select a blending mode from the Mode pop-up menu.

You have several choices, including Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity.

4

Choose the strength of the sharpening effect with the Strength slider or text box.

Use a low value, around 25 percent or less.

5

If your image has multiple layers, select Sample All Layers to make Elements use pixels from all the visible layers when it produces the effect.

The sharpening still appears on only the active layer, but the look is a bit different, depending on the colors of the underlying layers.

6

Paint over the areas you want to sharpen.

Sometimes, the eyes in a soft portrait can benefit from a little sharpening. If you don’t like the results, press Ctrl+Z (cmd+Z on the Mac) to undo the changes and lower the Strength percentage.

If you need to sharpen your overall image, try choosing either Enhance→Unsharp Mask or Enhance→Adjust Sharpness instead. These features offer more options and better control.

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