January 26, 2008

Photoshop Trick- Enhance Contrast

Quite often there is a need to enhance the contrast in a digital photo to make it "pop out" so to speak. The more common technique to achieve that has been either to use the Level Adjustment to push both ends of the curve closer or to apply an S-curve to the image. Both techniques provide quite good results by improving the mid-tones but lacking details in the shadows and highlights. With the new Photoshop Camera Raw 4.3, the Clarity slider also provides pretty good result.
Personally I use the Unsharp Mask to enhance contrast in images with good results. I learnt of this technique from a forum discussion a couple of years ago. It is simple and effective. Simply select Filter\Sharpen\Unsharp Mask and use the following settings as a start:

Amount -20%
Radius - 50
Threshold -0

If it is not satisfactory, just play with the Amount and Radius to achieve the result that you want.

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