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Fine-Tuning the First Correction

Fine-Tuning the First Correction

For the example shot, the first thing I needed to do was relocate the Blur Estimation Region (creating a new blur trace in the process). Because the waterfall was moving and I blurred it intentionally via shutter speed, I didn't want Photoshop CC to decide those pixels were blurred by camera shake.

You can move an estimation region by dragging it in the main filter preview (click and drag via the pin). To generate a new blur trace automatically, click the Add Suggested Blur Trace button in the Advanced section (next to the trash can icon). You can also deactivate a specific trace correction (and estimation region), thus removing them from the correction temporarily; just click the checkbox beneath any blur trace to deactivate it. To delete a region, select its pin and then press the Delete key or click the trash can icon.

For this shot, the focus point was near the mossy rock to the right of the waterfall—the one with the leaves stuck to it. I dragged the Blur Estimation Region to that spot and then made the region more narrow, so that only a small amount of waterfall remained to contrast with the edge of the dark rock, as shown in Figure 9. This move made an immediate difference in the quality of the pixels shown in the Detail area.

Figure 9 You can move the Blur Estimation Region from its default location to focus on more important details, or on the actual focus point of the scene.

Judging the details at both 25% and 50%, I decided to make the sharpening effect a little stronger by decreasing the Smoothing value to 15% (the default is 30%). This change made the textural details more obvious, without introducing any artifacts (see Figure 10).

Figure 10 If you get a clean result from the initial sharpening pass, try reducing the Smoothing value a few points to add more crispness to the details in your shot.

After adjusting the Smoothing setting, I clicked a rock in a different part of the scene to compare the before-and-after view, and to see whether any artifacts had appeared—such as halos or other "duplicate edges" around the subject. Not seeing any, I then reduced the Artifact Suppression setting by several points to see if I could further sharpen the image without introducing artifacts. Fortunately, checking the Detail window in multiple areas, including the rock, showed no artifacts (see Figure 11).

Typically this setting needs to be increased (not decreased) in images with heavier amounts of blurring, to reduce halos around high-contrast edges. It's mainly important to understand that 30% is not a "recommended floor" so much as a "middle ground" to start your edits.

Figure 11 In shots where no heavy blurring is present, reducing the Artifact Suppression setting can restore even more detail to the shot.

It's also possible to use two or more (active) Blur Estimation Regions, each with its own blur trace and settings, in a single image. Your best bet is to start with the main in-focus details, getting that region set up the way you like it, and then adding regions either by clicking and dragging across the large preview, or by using the Add Suggested Blur Trace button.

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