EasySharp is a Photoshop filter plug-in for the selective edge-sharpening of digital images. An overview of the plug-in is best illustrated with:
- Sample images
Read on for a more detailed description of the product.
Most digital images require some form of sharpening for them to be displayed at their best. Softening is inherent in the process of digital capture, as well as the process of printing or displaying images. Sharpening is a process which increases the perceived sharpness of an image by increasing its acutance” the abruptness of transitions between light and dark. If you’ve ever wondered why professionally shot images displayed on the web look “crisper” than your own, chances are that good sharpening has something to do with it.
The traditional tool for sharpening digital images is the misleadingly named unsharp mask filter. It is an effective tool, but indiscriminate application usually leads to poor results. In particular, the unsharp mask often increases image noise and affects smooth areas, such as skin tones, which have no need of sharpening. To combat these effects, a more sophisticated sharpening workflow usually employs edge masks to limit where the unsharp mask filter is applied. These masks limit the sharpening to strong edges in the image. However, they are cumbersome and time-consuming to create, and adjusting them to vary the strength of edges which are sharpened is difficult.
How it Works
With EasySharp, you can achieve the benefits of edge sharpening without the effort. Instead of using edge masks, EasySharp uses an edge-preserving blur filter to extract the edge component of an image. This edge component is then sharpened and recombined with the detail component, resulting in an image that has been selectively sharpened only on its edges. By varying the parameters of the edge-preserving operation, you can easily choose the strength of the edges which are selected for sharpening.
EasySharp is a cheap, easy-to-use alternative to the unsharp mask filter and gives improved sharpening results in most cases.
- EasySharp is ideally suited to sharpening images for presentation on the web, producing beautifully sharp results without touching noisy or busy areas of the image. It includes an “auto” setting, allowing it to be used in actions and scripts as part of an automated workflow. read more about EasySharp at http://www.pixelvistas.com/photolift-sample-images/
- EasySharp is particularly effective when sharpening enlargements. Unlike the unsharp mask, it effectively restores sharpness to the blurry edges that result from up-sizing an image to higher dimensions. (Examples of this can be seen here.)
- A complete, multi-pass sharpening workflow can benefit from the use of EasySharp. Such a workflow typically includes separate source- and output-specific sharpening steps, as well as an intervening, content-specific sharpening step in which the photographer applies sharpening subjectively according to the character of the image. EasySharp can replace the edge masks which are usually used in this step, doing a better job with much less hassle.
EasySharp works with Microsoft Windows and Adobe Photoshop only. It is compatible with Photoshop CS and CS2, the new Photoshop CS3 as well as recent versions of Photoshop Elements.
Try EasySharp Yourself!
A thirty-day evaluation version is available for download here. We encourage you to experience the benefits of EasySharp for yourself. If you like the filter and would like to use it on a permanent basis, a registration key can be purchased here.
Testimonials & Reviews
- EasySharp is reviewed at Forensic Photoshop: “Now, we want to do a touch of edge sharpening to really make this image pop out of the screen. This is where EasySharp really stands out … With EasySharp, you can achieve the benefits of edge sharpening, without the effort … If you are used to using the Unsharp Mask filter, EasySharp is an easy to use and inexpensive alternative which gives you surprising results … Once you’ve used it, you can easily justify the $35 expense to make it yours.”
- “Just used it on a large Medium Format scan. Worked great. I am glad I don’t have to sharpen noise and grain anymore!” — C. McNulty.