Selective sharpening?

In class one day, the subject of "eye pop" was raised. (It's done using Levels, of course!). My trainee asked me if I ever found it necessary to selectively sharpen eyes.

The answer is no.

For one thing, sharpening is not the best way to make eyes pop. There are invariably better and more natural ways to do it. I don’t think eyes should get any more or less sharpening than the rest of a photo.

But that’s the thing. When sharpening is done properly, it automatically applies most strongly to the areas of best focus. And what is the usual focal point of a portrait? The eyes, of course. So when I sharpen a portrait, I find that as long as I use the Threshold slider correctly in USM, the eyes get the main "hit" of sharpening, without having to trouble myself with selecting or masking.

If it so happens that the eyes aren’t the sharpest thing in your photo, it shouldn’t have made it past your culling process.


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