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Bring your image into focus with Photoshop’s Unsharp Mask
At A Glance:
While it’s frustrating to discover that an image is out of focus, it’s even more annoying trying to figure out the best sharpening technique. Don’t overlook an oldie but goodie—Photoshop’s Unsharp Mask filter—for bringing your soft images back into focus.
To sharpen with Unsharp Mask, we’ll:

• Take a quick look at where the term Unsharp Mask comes from.
• Examine the filter’s control options so you understand how to adjust the settings for your images.
• Selectively control the sharpening through the use of channels.
Although much depends on the quality of the image itself, there are a number of techniques you can use to increase image detail and crispness. A terrific aid to fix sharpening problems is Photoshop’s Unsharp Mask filter. Though you can’t use it to fix significantly blurry images, you can apply it to reasonably decent images and make them much sharper, as shown in Figure A.
Figure A1:  
Article figure image
Figure A2:
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The significance of the filter’s name
If you’re wondering why we use a filter named Unsharp Mask to sharpen an image, you aren’t alone. The term comes from the traditional film darkroom era. To sharpen a photograph, a photo technician first made a contact-masking negative of the original photo. Then, to reduce the harshness of the mask, he placed a thin sheet of frosted Mylar between the original and the mask. This softened the mask and made the image appear sharper.

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