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Photoshop plug-ins for retouching

Sharpness editor

Quick introduction

This Photoshop plug-in lets you sharpen photos without the negative edgelines that unsharp mask produces. Four different sharpness methods with no artifacts. This is the Sharpness Editor plug-in’s control panel. Click on the image for a larger view. It works with the following image modes: 8 & 16 bit/channel: RGB, CMYK, Grayscale, Duotone, Lab.

Video introducing the Sharpness Editor Photoshop plug-in

Sharpening controls

These are the main sharpening controls. Sharpen method.  Select between four sharpening methods and a blur that emulates optical blur. Luminance only.  When on, only the luminance of the image will be sharpened.
Link Surf. and edge.  When on, the two sliders Surfaces and Edges will be linked so you only have to move one and the other will follow. Radius is similar to the radius of common unsharp mask found in Photoshop and other software. Surfaces sharpens surfaces only - as found with the setting of the edge detection slider below. Edges sharpens edges only - as found with the setting of the edge detection slider below. Remove bright halos/dark halos.  Common unsharp mask produces halos along edges. This slider removes them by altering the sharpening algorithm so they are not produced in the first place. Edge detection determines what will be sharpened as surfaces or as edges. Show edges. When on, the found edges are displayed in the preview as an aid to set the Edge detection slider. Threshold  is the same as threshold found in regular unsharp mask. Anything below the contrast level set by the slider will not be sharpened. This means more or less monochromatic surfaces will not be sharpened.

Sharpening methods

The plug-in offers four sharpening methods and a better blur. Gentle Unsharp Mask : Built to sharpen evenly but without producing edge artifacts. Remove Halos is not so necessary with this method.
Sharpness Editor : Built to sharpen like regular USM but with less noise enhancement and slightly less halos. Designed to be used with the Remove Halos sliders. Unsharp Mask (USM) : Regular unsharp mask, but with all the extra Power Retouche options added. Contrast Adaptive USM : High contrast edges get sharpened the most while the effect fades out as contrast is reduced. This means surfaces are sharpened less than edges and noise is virtually untouched. Blur  (true de-focus): This blur emultates the optical blur of an out of focus lens. It is unlike gaussean blur.


Anti-aliasing  is local softening of the jagged edges digital images may get along curves or oblique lines. When you sharpen such a curve or line, you might enhance the jaggies. If this is a problem, you can do anti-aliasing to remove the jaggies.

Graduated effect

The graduated effect controls are common to many Power Retouch plugins. Using graduated effect will apply full effect at one side and no effect at the other with a smooth graduated effect in between.
You can use this to sharpen the foreground of a landscape and leave the background slightly blurred, or vice versa. This will create a greater sense of depth.
Foreground sharpened

Retouch levels

Retouch Levels are common to many Power Retouch plugins. It will change the amount the sharpening that is applied to various levels. The four buttons preset four common situations.


Pixels to the right of the From slider and to the left of the Up to slider will be filtered. Colors to the right of the   From   slider and to the left of the   Up to  slider will be filtered. This means
if the top slider is to the left of the lower, then colors between the two sliders will be filtered. If the top slider is to the right of the lower slider, then colors in between will not be filtered. Thus any selection is possible. To make selections easier, you can turn on Mask Unchanged . You can change the color of the mask by clicking the small framed rectangle, here red.