Output Options; Selective Sharpening; An Ideal Choice For Portraits Or Blurry Backgrounds With An In-Focus Subject Page 2

With white as the foreground color, select the Paintbrush tool and adjust to a size that's appropriate for your work. I usually work from the center out, reducing the size of the brush as I approach the edges of my selection. This is one of those times where using a tablet, like the Wacom Intuos3, is a real help since you have so much more control over the cursor than you do with a mouse.

You can see the white area in the Layer Mask icon which shows the portion of the image that has been revealed by painting in white.

Paint over the area you want to have the sharpening visible and as you paint you'll notice the Layer Mask icon is changing to reflect where you've painted, and the sharpened image is starting to show.

If you find that you've gone too far with your painting, just switch to black by clicking the black square (or simply press X to toggle between black and white) and paint back over the areas you want to hide. Once you've revealed all of the areas you want the sharpening applied to, you're done!

The final result still has soft background areas but improved sharpness in the flower and raindrops.
© 2006, Jon Canfield, All Rights Reserved

One of the biggest advantages to using selective sharpening, outside of the obvious, is that you can sharpen each area of your image at the optimal settings. This is done by adding multiple layers and sharpening each appropriately, and then applying a layer mask to each layer.

Jon Canfield is a popular instructor and author of several books on digital imaging, including "Print Like a Pro" and "RAW 101." You can visit Canfield on the web at: www.joncanfield.com.