unsharp mask… who knew?

So I was playing around with my camera, trying to get the “catchlights” in my daughter’s eyes. (It’s nice to have a readily available, gorgeous model.) Something about the light was a little wonky though, and the color came out odd. So I converted my favorite shots to black and white, played with levels (of course… sigh. is all digital so dark?) to make them brighter (and add a little contrast in some cases), then decided to try out some sharpening, since some of them came out a bit blurry. And I thought I’d share.

Here’s the original photo:

011607007

And lo! I discovered something interesting. (I use Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0, just for reference.) I tried using the Unsharp Mask. (Yes, it’s called Unsharp, yet it makes the picture sharper. Go figure.) Do I know what the various controls do, technically? Absolutely not! And while I was messing with the color photo I came out with something very odd looking:

weird

This is with a threshold of 0 (that stayed the same on all of them), 343% sharpening, and a radius of 42 pixels (1 pixel being the default). Wild and weird looking.

So then I turned it to black and white and sharpened it slightly and got this:

011607007a

Then when I used extremes on the unsharp mask (120% sharpening or so, pixel radius up in the high hundreds) it came out like so:

011607007 funky

It looks like some edgy urban photo shoot in a slick magazine. Sort of. Except for being of a sweet little girl instead of a tatooed guitarist or something. But cool, no? I’ll have to try it out on other shots now….

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2 responses to “unsharp mask… who knew?

  1. I love playing around with photographs. I think that each of these is interesting, but the way the unsharp one turned out was just cool!

  2. Ooh, I love the edgy-ness to the last b&w!