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How to Create a Gritty Sports Portrait in Photoshop

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Sometimes it’s better to be nasty, as in the case with sports portraits. Learn how to make a sports portrait even more gritty by using Dodge and Burn and advanced sharpening in today’s episode.


Create Different Levels of Sharpening

A great way to help define detail in an image is to add sharpening. To create a gritty sports portrait, use different Levels of Sharpening to enhance both small and large details.

Start by creating a duplicate of the Background layer and desaturating it by pressing SHIFT + CMD + U. This will make sure that it only effects Sharpening and not Color. Then convert this layer into a Smart Object so it can be used with Smart Filters. Change the blending mode to either ‘Soft Light’ or ‘Vivid Light’. Next, go to Filter – Other – High Pass. Choose a small radius to start.

This will create the first sharpening layer. To add more sharpening, simply duplicate this layer and change the radius on the High Pass Filter. Because the layer is a Smart Object, the High Pass Filter is applied as a Smart Filter, allowing it to be changed at any time.

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