Five Steps For Optimizing Your Photos Page 2

STEP 4: Retouching
Use the Paintbrush tool to remove small specks, and the Clone tool to remove larger spots or objects. Photoshop CS2 has a great feature called the Spot Healing Brush, which makes it easy to remove spots caused by dust specks on a camera's image sensor--just set the tool size a little larger than the spot, then click on the spot.

To get rid of the remaining clutter (the duck at far left), use the Clone tool. Click on the water near the duck, then click on the duck. Repeat until the duck is gone.

STEP 5: Finishing Up
When the image looks the way you want it, save it as a master image. Then make a copy, adjust it to the desired size, and sharpen it. Go to Filter>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask. The Unsharp Mask window has three sliders; start with an amount of 100 percent, a radius of 1.5 and a threshold of 3. Use the enlarged portion of the image to judge the results: If edges in the image develop a white fringe, you've overdone it. Always sharpen at the final size, because changing the image size changes the effect. And don't sharpen the master image--if you do, the effect will be wrong if you change the size in the future.

If you see a "halo" around sharp edges in the image, you've overdone the sharpening. The blown-up image section in the Unsharp Mask window helps you check on the results.