SHARPEN your Images by BLURRING them in Photoshop!

18 Sept 202307:18

TLDRThis tutorial reveals a counterintuitive method to sharpen images using the blurring technique in Photoshop. It guides viewers through setting up a new document, importing and converting images into smart objects, and applying two blur filters: Surface Blur for detail enhancement and Diffuse Glow to brighten highlights. The process involves creating a grey map for HDR effect, adjusting layer blending modes, and toning with Gaussian Blur for an enhanced visual impact. The video also addresses how to upscale low-quality images using AI and apply the HDR effect to new images with a smart object, offering a practical and efficient approach to photo editing.


  • 🔍 Blur can actually make your images appear sharper by enhancing details and contrast.
  • 🖼️ Start by creating a new Photoshop document with specific dimensions and color mode.
  • 📷 Import your image and convert it into a smart object to preserve its original state.
  • 🎨 Duplicate the image layer and apply effects to the new layer for comparison with the original.
  • ✨ Use the 'Vivid Light' blending mode combined with an 'Invert' adjustment layer to create a greyish map for HDR effect.
  • 🔧 Apply the 'Surface Blur' filter to enhance image details, adjusting the radius and threshold for desired effect.
  • 🌟 Boost image highlights by using the 'Diffuse Glow' filter from the Distort folder.
  • 🌈 Create a High Dynamic Range (HDR) effect by combining layers and changing group blending modes.
  • 🖌️ Add tonal adjustments using a 'Gaussian Blur' and other filters to create an additional HDR tone.
  • 🔄 Save your project and learn how to apply the HDR effect to new images using smart objects.
  • 🛠️ Fix common issues like halos by adjusting the 'Surface Blur' filter settings on the HDR layer.
  • 📈 Discover that AI image upscalers can provide better results than traditional methods for enhancing low-quality images.
  • 🎭 Use a premium Photoshop action to apply the HDR effect for a more streamlined process.
  • 👀 Compare the before and after results to appreciate the impact of the HDR effect on image quality.

Q & A

  • What is the main technique discussed in the tutorial for enhancing image details and contrast?

    -The tutorial discusses using two blur filters in Photoshop to enhance the details and contrast of photos, specifically the 'Surface Blur' and 'Diffuse Glow' filters, along with the HDR effect for a high dynamic range.

  • How should the new document be set up in Photoshop according to the tutorial?

    -The new document should be set up with a width of 3000px, height of 2000px, and in 8-Bit RGB Color Mode.

  • What is the purpose of converting the imported image to a smart object?

    -Converting the image to a smart object allows for non-destructive editing and helps to avoid any errors that may occur later in the editing process.

  • Why is the 'HDR' layer's blending mode changed to 'Vivid Light'?

    -Changing the blending mode to 'Vivid Light' when using the 'HDR' layer with an Invert adjustment layer creates a greyish result, which is a step towards achieving the High Dynamic Range effect.

  • How does the 'Surface Blur' filter affect the image details?

    -The 'Surface Blur' filter enhances the image details by increasing the Radius and Threshold, which helps the details to pop and become more visible.

  • What is the role of the 'Diffuse Glow' filter in the process?

    -The 'Diffuse Glow' filter is used to boost the highlights of the image, making the brightest areas even brighter and contributing to the HDR effect.

  • How does changing the group blending mode to 'Overlay' affect the final result?

    -Changing the group blending mode to 'Overlay' combines the layers in a way that creates a more dynamic and vivid HDR effect, enhancing the overall appearance of the image.

  • What is the purpose of using the 'Gaussian Blur' filter in the additional toning step?

    -The 'Gaussian Blur' filter is used to create a blurred version of the image, which when combined with other adjustments like 'Black & White' and 'Invert', adds an extra layer of toning and enhances the HDR effect.

  • How can the HDR intensity be adjusted in the final result?

    -The HDR intensity can be adjusted by changing the values of the Surface Blur Filter or by altering the opacity of the HDR Tone group.

  • What is the suggested method for upscaling low-quality images mentioned in the tutorial?

    -The tutorial suggests using free AI image upscalers available online, which are found to be more effective than Adobe's neural filters for increasing image quality and detail.

  • How can the halos seen in some images be fixed after applying the HDR effect?

    -To fix halos in the image, one should open the Surface Blur Filter settings of the HDR layer and lower the Radius and Threshold values until the halos are no longer visible.



📷 Enhancing Image Details with HDR Effect in Photoshop

This paragraph introduces a counterintuitive technique to sharpen images by using blurring methods in Photoshop. The tutorial guides users through creating a new document with specific dimensions and color mode, importing and converting an image into a smart object for error prevention. It details the process of duplicating the layer, applying effects, and adjusting blending modes to enhance details and contrast. The use of 'Surface Blur' and 'Diffuse Glow' filters to create a High Dynamic Range (HDR) effect is explained, along with steps to fix common issues like halos. The tutorial also covers how to upscale low-quality images using AI and apply the HDR effect to new images with a smart object, concluding with a comparison between regular sharpening and the HDR effect.


🔍 Upscaling Low-Quality Images with AI and Photoshop

The second paragraph discusses the process of enhancing and upscaling low-quality images. It suggests that traditional methods like changing image dimensions or using Adobe's neural filters may not be as effective as free AI image upscalers. The script provides a step-by-step guide on using an AI image upscaler to increase image quality by adding pixels and filling in missing details. After upscaling, the paragraph explains how to apply a premium Photoshop action to achieve an HDR effect, and offers solutions for issues like over-bright highlights. The tutorial ends with a comparison of the original low-quality image and the upscaled, sharp image, showcasing the dramatic improvement in detail and quality.




In the context of the video, 'sharpen' refers to the process of enhancing the clarity and detail of an image. The video suggests a counterintuitive method of achieving this by using blurring techniques. This is part of the main theme, which is about improving image quality through unexpected means.


The term 'blur' is used to describe the effect of reducing the focus on details in an image, which is typically seen as the opposite of sharpening. However, the video explains how specific types of blurring can paradoxically lead to a sharper image by adjusting details and contrast.


Photoshop is a widely used software for image editing and manipulation. It is the platform on which the tutorial is based, and the script provides step-by-step instructions on how to use various features of Photoshop to achieve the desired effects.

💡Smart Object

In Photoshop, a 'smart object' is a feature that allows images to be embedded and manipulated without losing their original quality or properties. The script mentions converting an image to a smart object to prevent errors and facilitate editing.

💡Blending Mode

Blending modes in Photoshop determine how layers interact with each other. 'Vivid Light' is one such mode mentioned in the script, which, when combined with an invert adjustment layer, creates a specific effect used in the sharpening process.

💡Surface Blur

The 'Surface Blur' filter is a tool within Photoshop used to selectively blur an image while preserving important details. The script describes how adjusting the radius and threshold of this filter can enhance image details.

💡Diffuse Glow

The 'Diffuse Glow' filter, found in the Distort folder of Photoshop's Filter gallery, is used to enhance the highlights of an image. In the script, it is applied to a duplicated layer to brighten the highlights and contribute to the HDR effect.

💡HDR (High Dynamic Range)

HDR refers to a technique that allows for a greater range of luminosity and detail in images. The video script describes creating an HDR effect by manipulating shadows, highlights, and the overall dynamic range within the image.

💡Gaussian Blur

Another type of blur filter in Photoshop, 'Gaussian Blur' is used to apply a uniform blur across an image. The tutorial uses this filter in conjunction with other adjustments to create an additional layer of toning and effect enhancement.

💡AI Image Upscalers

AI Image Upscalers are tools that use artificial intelligence to increase the resolution and quality of images. The script mentions using these tools to upscale a low-quality image before applying the HDR effect for improved results.


Patreon is a platform where creators can offer exclusive content to their supporters for a subscription fee. The script mentions joining Patreon to access the HDR Effect action and other project files related to the tutorial.


You can make your images sharper by blurring them using a simple technique in Photoshop.

Enhance details and contrast of photos using two blur filters.

Learn to upscale photos using AI and enhance with HDR effect.

Create a new document with specific dimensions and color mode.

Import and convert your image to a smart object for error avoidance.

Duplicate and rename layers for applying effects and comparison.

Change blending mode to Vivid Light for a greyish result.

Use Surface Blur filter to enhance image details.

Fix spots in the image later with adjustments.

Duplicate 'Before' layer and apply Diffuse Glow filter to boost highlights.

Create a High Dynamic Range (HDR) effect within the image.

Group layers and change blending mode to Overlay for the final HDR effect.

Add an extra layer of toning for a stunning image effect.

Apply Gaussian Blur and Black & White filters for additional HDR tone.

Adjust intensity and opacity for desired effect intensity.

Save your project for later use and apply the effect on any image with a smart object.

Fix halos in the image by adjusting Surface Blur Filter values.

Compare the HDR Effect with the regular Sharpen Filter.

Upscale low-quality images using AI image upscalers for better results than Adobe's neural filters.

Apply HDR effect using a premium Photoshop action for enhanced results.

Restore overly bright highlights by disabling the filter of the 'Highlights' layer.

Optimize the output image by adjusting Surface Blur and Tone group opacity.

Compare the upscaled high-quality sharp image with the old low-quality image.