4 Techniques for Enhancing Details in Your Images


Often, you will find yourself trying to get out some of the fine details in your images to give it more punch. Details enhancement is typically done using a variety of Photoshop plugins like Topaz Adjust, Nik Color Efx or Photomatix. But there is also a number of native tools that Photoshop provides to enhance detail, and it’s good to have these at your disposal as they give you lots of flexibility.

In the videos featured here, some very cool variants of the typical details enhancement process are shown. You will learn lots of advanced Photoshop tricks. So buckle up and lets go!

Classical High-Pass Method

The High-Pass filter in Photoshop is typically used rather subtly for sharpening images. But if you use different settings (in particular a higher radius) it can also be used to affect the larger details in your images and make them more visible. In the video below, Jimmy McIntyre shows you how it’s done and what you need to pay attention to when you apply this technique.

(More) Intelligent High-Pass Sharpening

Michael Woloszynowicz shows you a more “intelligent” method for using High-Pass sharpening/detail enhancement that avoids the typical haloing effect you get when you are using the High-Pass filter with a high radius. He applys a technique that is similar to the frequency separation technique mainly used in portrait retouching.

Adobe Camera Raw Filter – Clarity

This is probably the easiest way to enhance those mid-tone details in your images. In Photoshop CC, Adobe has introduced the ability to apply Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) (Photoshop’s Raw converter software) as a filter to any layer in your Photoshop project. ACR has a single slider for enhancing details. It’s called “Clarity”. This is a powerful and quick tool.

In the video below, Howard Pinsky shows you how to apply the ACR filter. He’s using many of ACR’s sliders, but in particular, he applies Clarity.

My personal tip is to always convert the layer you are applying this technique to into a Smart Object. This allows you to change the effect later on.

Inverted Vivid Light Layer

Whether you like Calvin Hollywood’s humor or not, this technique is the most sophisticated (at least in terms of the steps you need to take). It involves inverting, blurring and blending a separate layer to add some details. You may feel a bit lost at how and why this is actually working. Don’t worry, just try it on your own images.

Final Tip

Except for the technique that relies on Adobe Camera Raw, you can create a stronger effect (enhance the details even more) by duplicating the layer(s) that create the effect on top of the actual image layer. If that creates an effect that is too strong, decrease the opacity of the details layer(s). This gives you a lot of control over the strength of the effect.

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