Insanely Powerful Tip to SHARPEN TEXTURE and DETAIL in Photoshop – High Pass Sharpening Explained

Insanely Powerful Tip to SHARPEN TEXTURE and DETAIL in Photoshop – High Pass Sharpening Explained

Hi. Welcome back to the I’m Jesus Ramirez. In this video, I’m going to show you
an insanely powerful tip to enhance texture and
detail in Photoshop. I’m going to show you nondestructive techniques
that will allow you to apply selective sharpening. Now, just to be clear, this tutorial is not
about sharpening the entire image. It’s about targeting specific areas of an
image. If you’re looking for a tutorial that will
teach you about sharpening the entire image, then check the link down below in the description. It’s my tutorial on how to sharpen in Photoshop. It teaches you everything that you wanna know
about sharpening, but in this tutorial, we’re going to focus on targeted sharpening. Okay, let’s get started. We’re going to work with this portrait, and
this image has already been developed. It already has tonal adjustments and color
adjustments. In the final step of every image, of course,
is sharpening, and this image has already been sharpened globally, but now, we’re going to focus on
enhancing the detail and texture of the image. And before we actually get into the sharpening
effect, I’m going to show you an example that’s going to teach you how the filter, the High Pass filter, works. That is the main filter that we’re going to
use for this effect, and you need to know how it works. I don’t wanna give you a recipe,
a step-by-step tutorial, without really showing you
how and why it works. So, we’re gonna take just a moment and
explain how this filter works. So, the very first step is to right click
and convert this layer into a smart object, because we want to work non-destructively. We want to be able to come back and edit adjustments
at a later time. Then, I’m going to press Ctrl J, Command J
on the Mac, to duplicate the smart object. With this duplicate copy, I’m going to rename
the layer and call it ‘low’. And I’m going to press Ctrl J, Command J on
the Mac, once again, to duplicate the layer, and I’ll call this layer ‘high’. Then, with the high layer selected, I’m going
to hold shift and click on the low layer, and then press control G, Command G on the
Mac, to put that into a group, and I’ll call the group ‘example’. This is just for the example of how the sharpening
works. I’m going to expand the group, and I’m going
to select the low layer and disable the high layer. So, we’re working with the low layer. And although, also, the same with the portrait
layer so that you’re sure that we’re only working with this layer. So, with this low layer, I’m going to apply
a filter, a filter that you probably already know. But before I do so, I’m going to double click
on the zoom tool to see the image at 100%. And I’m gonna hold the space bar, click and
drag and pan up to her face. Then, I can go into Filter, Blur, Gaussian
Blur. So, I’m sure you’ve seen this before. This is just a filter that blurs the image,
right? We’ve removed all the detail. In other words, we’re removing the high frequency
information. We’re left with the low frequency information. So, I’ll select the radius of three, and then
press OK. So, as you can see, I removed all the detail,
all the high frequency information. Like many other tools in Photoshop, the blur
filter has an opportunity filter. I’ll enable this layer, and I’ll show you
what that filter is. If you go into Filter, Other, High Pass, you
have a filter that does the opportunity. This filter removes the low frequency information
and it keeps the high frequency information. More specifically, High Pass retains edge
details in the specified radius where the sharp color transitions occur, and suppresses
the rest of the image. So, notice that as I adjust the slider, you
can see that I’m only keeping details, and if I drag the slider all the way to the end,
notice that I essentially bring back the original image, which is not what we wanna do. So, I’m gonna add the same radius that I used
in the Gaussian Blur. I’ll add three pixels. Notice that the filter is now only keeping
the detail in the image, the high frequency information, so High Pass looked for edges
in the image, and expanded the radius three pixels, and that’s what you see on screen. So, anything that is not detail, not part
of the high frequency information of the layer, becomes 50% gray. And that’s gonna be really useful when we
apply a blending mode. So, I’ll press OK for now. Now, using blending modes, I can blend these
two layers together to get back the original image, which is the portrait. So, select the high layer, the layer that
contains the detail of the image, anything that is not detail is 50% gray. Then, open the list of blending modes. And what you wanna do is blend the two layers
together, the high and low layer, and we want to blend them by removing
everything that is 50% gray, which means that we’ll only keep the detail. And to do so, we can use any one of these
blending modes. All these blending modes remove 50% gray. The one that we’re gonna use is linear light,
and once I select it, you’ll notice that we almost have the original image back. Almost there. What I’ll do now is simply bring down the
opacity to 50%, and I have pretty much the original image back. If I double click on the hand tool to fit
the image to screen, you’ll see that when I disable the example group, it’ll look virtually
the same as the portrait layer. It’s not 100% the same, but it’s close enough. It’s about 99% or 98% the same. And the reason that I went through this long
explanation was just to simply show you what the High Pass filter is doing. A lot of times when you’re learning Photoshop,
people just show you the steps, but they don’t really explain to you what the filter is actually doing, and then
that was the purpose of this example here. Also, for those of you that are more advanced
and who are paying a little attention, you’ll notice that what I just did here is frequency
separation. I have the low frequency layer and the high
frequency layer above, so the layer without detail and the layer with detail, and combined
they create the final image. And this is, um, frequency separation. Which, as you may know,
is a popular retouching technique. Let me know down in the comments below if you want to see a frequency separation tutorial from PTC. But anyway, now that you know what the High
Pass filter is doing, I’m just going to select the example group,
and I’m going to delete it. And I’m going to duplicate the portrait layer
by pressing Ctrl J, Command J on the Mac. And I’ll call it “High Pass”, because that’s
the filter that we’re going to apply. So, I’m gonna go into filter, other, High Pass. Notice that in the preview window, all the
low frequency information is gone. We just have the detail, the high frequency,
and we’re going to use this detail information and apply it to our portrait selectively in
areas that we want to enhance the detail and texture. And you can set the radius, which determines
how much sharpening you’re going to apply to this image. I’ll leave it at three for now, and I’ll press OK. And I’ll select the linear light blending
mode, and I’ll bring the opacity to 50% for now. Now, this is exactly the same layer that I
had a moment ago in the example group. I just wanted to show you how to do it without
having to go through the Gaussian Blur steps. One other thing I wanna mention is that in
Photoshop, or any other software, you cannot really add detail to the image. You can only create the illusion of detail
by adding contrast on edges, so that’s really what we’re doing here. So, creating the illusions of more detail. I’m gonna select the zoom tool,
and I’m going to zoom in, and I’m gonna work at 100%. You always want to work at the 100% view to get an accurate representation
of what is going on. Any other zoom level could be misleading,
so try to work at 100% if you can. So, with this High Pass layer,
obviously, it adds a sharpening effect to the entire image,
and we don’t want that. We want to selectively sharpen the image. Now, before we do that, I also wanna mention
that we are currently in the linear light blending mode, but you could also use overlay, soft light, hard light, and vivid light, so any one of these blending modes. For this tutorial, I’ll stick with overlay, and now I’ll move on to the step of
selectively sharpening the image. So, with this High Pass layer selected, I
can create a layer mask, but I’m going to hold alt, before I click on the layer mask
icon, to create a black layer mask, which means that it’s going to hide the High Pass
effect. Now, with the brush tool and with white as
my foreground color, I can paint in detail. So, I can paint in detail in her eyes, for
example. See that? Before and after. Her eyebrows. Before and after. And you can also duplicate the layer by pressing
Ctrl J, Command J on the Mac, and fill this layer mask with black
so that we can start from scratch. Black is currently my background color, so I can press control, Backspace,
that’s Command Delete on the Mac, to fill the background color,
which is black. Everything is invisible, and now I can use
this second High Pass layer to bring in more detail on her hair. And obviously, I’m going fairly quickly here
for the example. You wanna spend a little more time with working
on your images. So, that’s before and after. And the reason that you want to have separate
layers and not work on a single layer is so that you can fine tune the High Pass. So, when I expand the smart object, you’ll
see the High Pass label. If you double click on it, it brings up the
High Pass filter controls once again, and you can make adjustments to the High Pass layer if you want. So, that is one of the reasons why it’s good
to work non-destructively. It gives you the flexibility
to make changes at any time. And, of course, you can keep fine tuning all
the details in the image, maybe even bring more detail into the texture of the camera. It’s totally up to you
what you want to sharpen on your image. What I’ll do now is I’ll hold shift,
and click on both layers, then press control G,
Command G on the Mac, to put them into a group, and I
can just call this effect sharpen texture/details. And when I zoom out,
you can see the before and the after. Notice that in this zoom level, you can’t
really see what’s going on. I’m at 21.92%, so I’ll double-click on the Zoom Tool
and zoom in to 100%, and then you’ll be able to see the before and the after. And you can see the texture on the camera
as well. Now, I do have one more trick for you. It doesn’t have to do with sharpening, but
it has to do with High Pass layer, so I’ll show it to you in this tutorial. For now, I’ll disable the sharpen texture
details group, and I’ll select the High Pass layer and duplicate it by pressing
Ctrl J, Command J on the Mac,
and drag it out of the group. Then, I’ll right-click and select, Delete
Layer Mask. And obviously, it applies the
High Pass effect to the entire layer. You can see that there, right? And I’ll increase the opacity to 100%. And the trick that I wanna show you is that
you can press Ctrl I, Command I on the Mac,
on that High Pass layer to create a softening effect. So, you can actually
soften skin with this same filter. So, notice that I inverted the information
on that layer. And I can then hold Alt, Pption on the Mac
and click on the layer mask icon to create a black layer mask, and I can paint in softness in the skin. Obviously, I would have to fine tune the adjustment
by maybe bringing down the opacity, and maybe painting a better layer mask. I got a little bit of her eye there, which
I didn’t intend to, but you get the idea. You can spend a lot of time in your images
fine tuning the effect, but I just wanted to show you how you could use High Pass to
also add a softening skin effect. And if you enjoyed this tutorial, don’t forget
to check out my tutorial on how to sharpen images in Photoshop. That tutorial is all about sharpening the
entire image, so check it out. There’s a link right below in the description. Let me know down in the comments below if
these techniques were useful to you. If this is your first time at the Photoshop
Training Channel, then don’t forget to click on that subscribe and notification buttons. Thank you so much for watching, and I will
talk to you again in the next tutorial.


  • Photoshop Training Channel says:

    PTC Facebook Group ►
    Sharpening In Photoshop Fully Explained ►
    Podcast Interview with He Shoots, He Draws ► ​​

  • I photoU says:

    I use frequency separation a lot, but I would love to see you do a tutorial, I bet i would learn something new about it

  • Carl Remmers says:

    Thanks! Great tutorial!

  • Yea rite says:

    Yes Jésus, Please create a video on frequency separation! Thank you for your amazing videos. You are a very effective and gifted teacher!

  • Frank Hernandez says:

    I would love to see your explanation of Frequency Separation and a practical demonstration on how you apply it. Thanks!

  • laila zeroual says:

    Very good teacher thanks for sharing your knowlege

  • Matt Sweadner says:

    As usual a great tutorial Jesus. Mind blown when you inverted the high frequency lol. That may be my new go to method for softening skin haha

  • Bill Stewart says:

    Do you have a video explaining how to create a mirror image of an angled object, like say a car at a 45 degree
    angle.. flip horizontal or vertical is all I know to do and that doesn't work.. probably has to be done with 3d which I'm not familiar with? I'm using the latest Photoshop CC from subscription.
    Thanks, Bill Stewart

  • David Cardwell says:

    Thank you. A yes definately interested in a frequency separation video😀👍🏼

  • Schauk says:

    I always use a similar technique, I apply a simple unsharpen mask and tick it on the history panel, then I roll back one step in time and apply selective sharpening using the history tool. But your technique is better and very instructive, as always, thank you very much Jesus for sharing. You rock!

  • Matt Warnick says:

    Once again Jesus…you killed it bro!

  • Xscaped says:

    Wow, it all sounds complicated, but I guess if you use the video as a step-by-step guide while working on a picture you'll be fine. I will try that out soon.

  • runbei says:

    it was very useful. Looking to improve portraits and this will be very helpful.

  • ora walker says:

    Always my favourite Photoshop guy!! Wonderful information~~ Thank YOU!!

  • grozzer 21 says:

    WOW……great video Je'sus.Thank you.

  • Steven Blake says:

    Good tut Jesus. I hadn't known that High Pass was the opposite of Gaussian Blur … that tidbit brings some things into focus for me (pardon the pun). As for frequency separation, I've tried to really understand it before and there is a plethora of tuts for it but I'd really appreciate one from you as you have a knack for making these things understandable.

  • MLCreations says:

    Definitely… A high frequency separation tutorial. Please. And once again thank you for sharing your vast wealth of knowledge. Wishing you and your family Happy Holidays…

  • Peter Hernandez says:

    Great to finally see the video in focus. All previous ones have seemed out of focus (soft).

  • Agnieszka Janicka-Struska says:

    That's great!

  • Ανδρέας Κεμάλης says:

    Again a very clear explanation, Thanks Jesus! (and please make a video on FC)

  • Carl Kristensen says:

    I am often using the high pass Sharpen technique, but as allways, you ad new tricks to it, and I never thought at using it to soften anything. If we want you to make a tutorial on frequency separation….? YES PLEASE!

  • Connor Drummond says:

    The result is almost as sharp as his hair.

  • Arnoldo Saenz Jiménez says:

    Eres una pistola Jesus !!!! congrats!!

  • Bowen Shen says:

    I love you. I never knew how high pass works even though I've been using this technique for years.

  • Novide says:

    Oh man… You're too good of a teacher… I get so excited when I see these tutorials. BEST ON YOUTUBE!!

  • Novide says:

    JR: "Let me know if you want to see a frecuency separation video from PTC"

    Me: "Dude… That and pretty much anything else from the PTC, PLEASE!"

  • Joyce Rivera says:

    Great explanation of this filter, thanks so much Jesus.

  • mahang115137 says:

    massive thanks for the great tutorial and pls do the frequency separation.

  • Flurest says:

    I really don't understand this tutorial.

  • Elias chico says:

    Es todo mi Jesús, excelente tutorial

  • L. A. Sartor says:

    Yes on a frequency tutorial! Thanks for this tutorial.

  • Collin Anderson says:

    Great tutorial Jesus, thanks.

  • Gregory Annicchiarico says:

    Great video. Would love to see your approach to frequency separation in full.

  • Marisa Liberato says:

    yes please a tutorial on frequency separation would be great

  • Jeff Reber says:

    Would this be similar as sharpening in lightroom but using a local adjustment to apply sharpness to a specific area? Or is the technique you showed hitting only high frequency parts of the image?

  • R Garlin says:

    Thanks Jésus, crystal clear (or should I say "very sharp" ? 😉) explanations as ever!

  • Calvin Ho says:

    Is the inverse of the high pass the same as Gaussian blur?

    Excellent video. Thank you for taking the time to explain. Passing on actual knowledge doesn’t happen nearly enough! I’d love to see your approach to frequency separation.

  • Hemant Upadhyay says:

    Sir, you have created a poster tutorial of "man of steel" which is really awesome but now I want you to teach us how to create that logo with different letters on it please I was so excited when I got onto your YouTube channel

  • Retus Rieben says:

    By far the most useful Photoshop tutorials around… Love it🎉

    Little question, what is the monitor you use? Could you recommend something?

  • Francois Ruel says:

    Yes please a frequency separation tutorial would be awesome. Thank you!

  • Alia Resin says:


  • crix says:

    thanks for explaining how it really works!!

  • Barry Green says:

    As photographer(s) it would be nice to know what camera and lens the images was taken, Since 'High Pass' filter pixel adjustment is dependent on pixel size of image, this informaion helps select a setting within the filter adjustment. For a future Split Frequency tutorial the 'Apply Image' settings are different for 8 bit and 16 bit images. Could you also explain why this is important?

  • drpentecost says:

    Thanks for this tutorial. What's the difference between the technique that you used for the texture layer (High Pass) and the normal way of doing frequency separation using 'Apply Image' ? Thanks for your help

  • sonny jacobsen says:

    FRQ seperation bring it on

  • Victor Voznyuk says:

    there are no "too many" FT on the web, I would really like to see yours

  • Technical Mentor says:

    Love you sir

  • David Banko says:


  • Andre Courtemanche says:

    Great tutorial Jésus, Yes a frequency separation tutorial will definitely be appreciated. Thanks for your contribution

  • Alistair Nitz says:

    Hey Jesus, it would be fantastic if you could do a frequency separation video. There are so many versions on YouTube, but I would really appreciate seeing yours. Al

  • Willem Van Der Post says:

    This is very helpful – thanks so much. A tut on the application of frequency separation would be most welcome. I look forward to it.

  • Jay Garcia says:

    you sharp my knowledge ! thanks a lot.

  • Bob G5511 says:

    Thank you, I watched this and the original sharpening video, learned a great deal from both videos, and yes a video on frequency separation would be great.

  • Dan The Man .Golden says:

    Hell yes, I want to see a tutorial on frequency separation, my notes so far on this one. You want to be working on a smart object, so right click on it and convert to smart object as you want to work non-destructively. Then duplicate it (CTRL-J) and duplicate it again. Rename one as low and one as high. Then with the high layer selected, hold shift key and click low then CTRL-G to make a group(a folder that can be expanded). Then you select the low layer and disable the high

    You can double click on the zoom tool to get 100%, then you can hold the space bar and click and drag in the photo. You go to filter/gaussian blur and select radius of 3, by doing this you are removing the high frequency information and blurring everything. The opposite filter of the blur is go to filter/other/high pass and this retains edge details in the specified radius where sharp color transitions occur and suppresses the rest of the image. Use the same radius as the blur. So 3. This keeps the high detail and everything else that is not becomes 50%gray, ie: everything that is not part of the high-frequency information becomes 50%gray. You now want to blend the 2 layers together high and low to remove everything that is 50% gray so that you on keep the detail. All of the blending modes remove 50%gray, but select linear light.

  • Andrew Андрей says:

    how to make sooooo "colourful" and rich color line in this image?

  • Richard Bourdeau says:

    Yes a Frequency Separation video would be beneficial. I have seen numerous videos on it, however, I find them confusing. I would prefer your clearer explanations.

  • P. Peter R says:

    Hmmm… do I want a PTC tutorial on Frequency Separation? Let's see – I could learn by trial and error OR learn the right way… I choose the right way. 🙂

    Please do a frequency separation video on removing uneven skin textures as well as skin tones please.

  • Shmoopy Shaboopy says:

    Inverting the high-pass never came to mind! Brilliant!

  • Muddy Export says:

    Good job. “Yes “on a frequency separation tutorial.

  • Sean Norton says:

    yes please to frequency technique.

  • TS Fetzko says:

    Always learn something new. Thank you!

  • David Wingad says:

    Definitely YES to the frequency separation tutorial!

  • Teodor Groza says:

    I did not know that I can soften something with high pass filter. Thank you

  • David Macias says:

    Hi Jesus, please do a tutorial on frequency separation, thank you very much.

  • Juan Lopez says:

    Excelente maestro, !muy chévere!

  • Obi-Wan Kenobi says:

    Thank you Jesús 🤩

  • Jorge says:

    Great tutorial Jesus. Please do one on frequency separation for portraits and for landscapes as well. Thank you. Jorge

  • Pantelis pantel says:

    You rock!Keep on the great job! (PS:Yes for the frequency Seperation video 🙂 )

  • Robert Rudnik says:

    I saw several FS tuts, but would be awesome to see one from you – I bet I'll learn something new from you 🙂

  • Bob MAkrides says:

    Very good explanation thank you

  • Ümit Zobu says:

    Very good tut. Yes please create a tut on freq sep. thx

  • sal juarez says:

    Hi Jesus, yes please do a frequency separation. Also can you do a tutorial on the mixer brush, history brush tool, I know your explanation will clarify it more. Thank you for the hard and great work.

  • keith mcmonies says:

    Hello Jesus. I am a 68 year old ( in the UK ) "trying" to learn Photoshop. You are the first instructor , I have found that makes learning easy and fun. I have only one request. Is it possible to get written tutorials or have you considered compiling a book of them ?? Keep up the good work.

  • Paul Anderson says:

    Excellent….. As ever. Nice extra tip on softening with invert HP…!

  • Debby Thomas says:

    Yes, to Frequency Separation!! Thank you

  • Bob M says:

    I did learn something new…which is always a good thing: using an inverted high pass to soften areas of a photo

  • Sajid Editing Zone says:

    very useful vedio

  • Mike Giovinazzo says:

    OMG Never saw skin softening via High Pass – very cool

  • Paul Tomlin says:

    Hi Jesus. I love your channel, you are one of the better PS learning channels on YouTube. I have to ask you a question here because I don't know how else to contact you.
    I have Photoshop cc 2019, and with this update I have lost the ability to create mirror/reflections of images. I can do it in CC 2018, but not any longer with 2019. Do you know if there is an existing glitch in CC 2019?
    Thanks so much!!

  • Kevin Le fournis says:

    Great explanations 🙏🏻

  • Ian Graves says:

    Frequency separation is NOT a non-destructive technique. It is used by non professionals because it is easy.
    Also skin smoothing is another big no-no because it makes people look like they are made of plastic – everyone has texture in their skin.
    Look at beauty images where perfect looking skin is shown in closeup detail and you will see even there that skin has texture. Please don’t teach people these bad techniques.

  • Ian Farns says:

    Thanks for the explanation on the High Pass filter and the inverting of it for smoother skin. It's really an insanely powerful tip to know.

  • Sreekumar Nair says:

    I would love to see your explanation of Frequency Separation and a practical demonstration on how you apply it. Thanks!

  • Bad Boy says:

    Thank you for the explanation, I finally understand this a whole lot better.😁

  • Mr. Edi says:

    more more and more trick from you, thank you

  • SRA Rizvi says:

    It is useful for me…. because it also teaches how to make use of Highpass filter for creating softening effect in the desired parts of the image…. ThanX

  • tigerman62 says:

    Jesuś I am working on scanned photos from the 70s, no negative available the problem is the prints are matt which is very pixelated. Have you any way to sharpen the photo to make them a bit sharper?

  • Dylan Stover says:

    Would love a frequency separation tutorial! Great videos!

  • lukman ramli says:

    why not just using sharpen filter? what is advantage of high pass over sharpen?

  • Luis Mendoza says:

    HI.. great videos.. Did you do the high frequency separation? I'd love to see it..

  • UpLighting says:

    Aren't you supposed to desaturate the high pass layer to avoid artifacts?

  • Snow Wold says:

    Thanks a lot

  • Dylon2016 says:

    Learned this technique in 2014 from elia locardi's photographing the world. a very very powerful technique indeed

  • Braga Photography says:

    I can use this technic already, but you taught some new things. That´s great. Thank you.

  • Rajesh Bhagi says:

    Hats off's very useful trick.its simple ant easy way . really thanx sir

  • Nancy Smith says:

    Yes, I would like a video on frequency separation.

  • Erhan Er says:

    I'm grateful for your tutorials. As an old-school guy, I have been learned a lot thanks to you.
    However 3.0 pixels for hi-pass is too much to me, the technique you showed is great. Thanks again.

  • As Told By Brittany D says:

    This was so helpful

  • Shubham Pal says:

    nice smile

  • Martin Golembiovsky says:

    Thanks man! A very good video. Finally I understand it.

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