How do I sharpen up a slightly blurry picture in photoshop?

Posted on 2014-09-23
Last Modified: 2016-06-14

I have a ,jpg of a picture and it is slightly blurry. Is there an easy way that I can sharpen it up a bit?

Question by:ddezines
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Expert Comment

by:Brian Pringle
ID: 40340134
LVL 26

Accepted Solution

David Brugge earned 500 total points
ID: 40340514
Depends on what your idea of slightly blurry is. Photoshop now comes with a wide array of "sharpening" tools, but let me tell you at the offset, in general, there really is no such thing as true sharpening of an image using these filters.

What the sharpening filters do is to detect areas of high contrast (sudden changes in light and dark). It decides that this must be a blurry line, so it makes the area on one side of the area lighter and on the other, darker. The filter will have controls over how much to lighten and darken, and how wide of an area to apply this to.

Sometimes you get lucky and the results turn out great, other times it just makes matters worse. It all depends on the subject matter and the degree of blur.

The high pass filter mentioned above is another way of locating the areas of contrast and applying "sharpening." It is worth a try simply because no one sharpening method works for every subject.

Quite often in my work, I have a soft image that the sharpening filters just dont help. In those cases, I have to zoom in to the most important regions and sharpen by hand. This is done by sometimes using the stamp tool set to lighten or to darken to take pixels from a lighter or darker region using them to recreate the sharp contrast that was there originally. Other times, particularly on faces, I will use the burn tool, set to a low opacity and with a small sharp brush, and darken regions that should have a sharp line such as eyelids nostrils and edges of the lips.
Other times I will use the pen tool to put a path along where the edge should be, then turn the path into a selection then use the smudge tool to push pixels up against the edge to make an instant sharp edge. Note, usually creates too sharp of an edge, so I either blur the selection a bit before I use the smudge tool, or I go ahead and make the sharp edge, then remove the selection and use the blur tool to apply just a touch of softening.

Hope this has given you some ideas.

Oh, and by the way, ALWAYS WORK ON A COPY. Sometimes you get your image looking great only to come back later and realize that you over did it and need to go back and start over. This happens all of the time.
LVL 70

Expert Comment

ID: 40362000
Can we have a copy to show you.
 there is also Paint Net excellent to adjust hues and levels contrasts, drop your image on and go to  adjustments and effects at the top.
There is many plugins for free you add to take your images to another level
How to
The sharpen one is here
The plugins list

Or just open it in Microsoft office Picture Manager and then go to edit at the top.
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 40627061
@David,    great info.    I find manually sharpening, although tedious, gives the best result.

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