Cs2 & Usm


Active Member
Do you guys use USM on all your images to sharpen them or select few?

How much do you add, normally people say 'a touch' but I was wondering what that equated to in %'s ;) I've found if you go too far it looks ok on screen but prints from it are awful :(


Well-known Member
Hi ya

Just started using this about 2 weeks ago because I just found out how to use it.

This is what I am using at the moment on my bird shots.

Amount 250%
Radius between 0.3 - 1 depending on the shot
Threshold 0


This seems to be working for me but read last night with portraits may wish to add some threshold. But I would like to know a bit more about this tool.

Cheers Holo:smashin: :smashin:


Active Member
I don't use USM anymore, instead I sharpen using the high pass filter. Here's how it works:

1. Make a duplicate layer and set the blending to overlay.
2. Apply the high pass filter (found in other filters).
3. Adjust the slider until you are just seeing the areas you want to sharpen in the preview box, not on the main image, usually between 0.6 and 0.9 radius.
4. Press OK and fine tune by adjusting the new layers opacity.
5. You can duplicate the new layer and repeat the process to apply sharpening to the sharpening so to speak which can be more effective than trying to hit it in one go. Finally merge down your new layers into your original layer.

When accessing the results of any sharpening view at a magnification of 100%, and as with any sharpening refrain from overdoing it. If the above seems a bit complicated, simply make an action with the option to adjust the high filter radius.

The advantage of this method is that the sharpening is concentrated on edges with a smoother gradation to no sharpening in areas without detail than USM gives. I know that the threshold in USM does this but it tends to be an on off switch.

I am not claiming this method is better than USM, merely that it is a different method which some may prefer. As with so many of these things it all comes down to personal preference as to which gives the best result.

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