Only sharpen images after an image has been sized for final output. If

you sharpen images before you resize, you'll get undesirable sharpening artifacts in your image, like the dreaded jaggies.

Create a separate layer for sharpening the image. If you resize the image later, you can always delete the original sharpening layer. Create a layer by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E (^+Shift+Option+E on a Mac). The new target layer will be created with the visible layers merged together.

Sharpen images using the Unsharp Mask or Smart Sharpen filters located in the FilterOSharpen menu. The Smart Sharpen filter offers enhanced sharpening capabilities not found in the Unsharp Mask filter — including finer-tuned control over shadows and highlights.

By now you may wonder why Adobe gave the best sharpening tool for photos a nonsensical name like Unsharp Mask. Tradition, I guess; Unsharp Mask is a term left over from the old sharpening processes used in the darkroom. I'm not sure why Adobe didn't just change the name to Photo Sharpening, or to USE THIS FILTER TO MAKE YOUR PHOTOS SHARP. For now, just remember that Unsharp Mask is a good and easy-to-use tool for sharpening your images.

You can selectively sharpen specific portions of your image by using the Layer Mask techniques I explain in Chapter 11.

Here's how to sharpen a photo using the Unsharp Mask filter:

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