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Sharpen a specific area of an image

The Sharpen tool is used to make a specific area of an image sharper.


Sharpen a specific area of an image

  1. Do one of the following:
    • Choose Tools > Retouch > Sharpen (from the Tools menu at the top of your screen).
    • In the Tools sidebar, click or choose if from the grouped tools.
  2. In the Tool Options pane, customize the Sharpen tool:

    Brush Size: Drag the Brush Size slider to adjust the size of the Sharpen tool brush. Hold down the Option ⌥ key to extend the range of the Brush Size slider beyond 100%. You can also manually enter a value from 0% to 200%.


    Tip: You can use the [ and ] keys on your keyboard to change the size of the Sharpen tool brush.

    Softness: Drag the Softness slider to adjust the softness of the edges of the Sharpen tool brush. With softer edges, the sharpened areas will usually blend in better with the rest of the image.

    Strength: Drag the Strength slider to adjust the intensity of the sharpening effect.

  3. Select a tonal range to sharpen:


    • All — When you brush over an area to sharpen it, the darkest, brightest, and midtone areas are sharpened equally.

    • Shadows — When you brush over an area to sharpen it, only the shadows in that area are sharpened.

    • Midtones — When you brush over an area to sharpen it, only the midtones in that area are sharpened.

    • Highlights — When you brush over an area to sharpen it, only the highlights in that area are sharpened.
  4. Brush over the area of your image you’d like to sharpen.

Show Original: Click the Show Original button or press the O key on your keyboard to see what the image looked like before you sharpened anything in it.

Click Reset to discard all the current changes made with the Sharpen tool.


Note: Images shot with digital cameras are often a bit soft in focus because of the demosaic filter applied by the camera’s processor. The Sharpen tool is designed to add focus to images that are already relatively sharp — as opposed to completely blurry or out of focus images. You can also use the Sharpen adjustment to reduce the softness of images taken with digital cameras.

Pixelmator Pro User Guide