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Learn Photography

Photoshop Elements >

Sharpening >

Adjust Sharpness

Be sure to check off as you go along.


1) Make a composite layer.

A composite layer contains all of the layers of your photograph.

Do the following.

a) Deselect the eye icons on the layers you don't want to merge.

b) Make sure the top layer is active (highlighted).

c) Select > All.

d) Edit > Copy Merged.

e) Edit > Paste.

If you haven't already done so, go to Composite Layer.


12) Make sure the composite layer is active (highlighted).

13) Go to Enhance > Adjust Sharpness.

The Adjust Sharpness window will appear.


14) Review the most important part of the photograph.

There should be:

• An area with lots of detail

• An area with an even tone or color.

Reposition the image in the Adjust Sharpness window by doing the following.

Click, hold, and drag the image in the Adjust Sharpness window.

Always use 100%, the default setting for the magnification (zoom).

This is because anti-aliasing is performed at other view enlargement settings, making it harder to see the the sharpening.

5) The four settings in the Adjust Sharpness window are presented in this order:

1) Amount

2) Radius

3) Remove

4) More Refined

However, they should be set in the order depicted below.


Setting #1 - Remove

Remove selects the sharpening method used to sharpen the image.


Try Lens Blur first.

Gaussian Blur

Gaussian Blur is the same as the Unsharp Mask filter method.

Sharpening is applied to the entire photograph.

Noise may be increased.

Lens Blur

Lens Blur is similar to the High Pass filter method.

Sharpening is applied mostly in the areas with detail, where sharpening is needed the most.

Areas with little detail, where sharpens is less needed, are sharpened little.

Noise is less likely to be increased with Lens Blur.

Motion Blur

Motion Blur reduces the effect of blur due to camera shake or subject movement.

Angle sets the direction of motion for the Motion Blur option of the Remove control.

Enter a number in the box or drag the angle dial.

Setting #2 - Radius

Setting the Radius is like setting the size of the sharpening brush.

For a photograph with lots of detail, try a Radius setting of 1 to 2.

For a photograph with little detail, use a smaller Radius value, such as .5 to 1.

Setting #3 - Amount

Amount is the "volume control" for sharpening.

Use a smaller value with a photograph with lots of detail.

For a photograph with little detail, use a higher value.

Setting #4 - More Refined

Select More Refined to sharpen more slowly for more accurate removal of blurring.


Click and hold on the image in the Adjust Sharpness window to see the photograph with no sharpening.

Release to see the sharpened photograph.

Evaluate the Sharpening

Go to Evaluating Sharpening.