Photoshop High Pass Filter

This blog post is an introduction to three tutorials covering the high pass filter and its many creative applications. Most people use the high pass filter as a sharpening tool. While it performs excellently at this task, few people are aware of its many other uses. Did you know that you can use the filter to smooth over skin tones and remove blemishes? Or did you know that you can use the high pass filter to mimic the grungy aesthetic of HDR images? The links below demonstrate how to do all this using step by step tutorials and instructional videos. However, if you don’t know what the high pass filter is then I suggest reading the short explanation further down.

Part 1) high pass for sharpening your images

Part 2) high pass for smoothing effect

Part 3) high pass for grungy HDR ‘look’

How the high pass filter works

The high pass is one of the cleverest filters that you get with Photoshop mac free. Despite this, it’s actually quite easy to use. But don’t underestimate it, it is a very powerful tool and in order to get the most out of it, you should understand what is going on in the background.

The high pass filter specifically targets and manipulates pixels that are high frequency or where there are rapid transitions of luminance in a small area. In simpler terms, the filter selects the edge details of the image you are working on and leaves the rest relatively untouched. It helps to think of this in practical terms, for instance, if you are sharpening a portrait then you probably want to sharpen the areas of detail such as the subject’s eyes and hair. However, it is usually not a good idea to sharpen the subject’s skin tones as this will exaggerate any blemishes that the subject may have, resulting in an unflattering image. The high pass filter allows you to do all this, and more.

High pass Intensity and Attenuation

The way that the high pass filter works out between which areas should be affected and which areas shouldn’t is called attenuation. By default, the high pass filter does it’s best to select edge details and leave surface areas alone. However by using various blending modes and different opacity settings you can control both the intensity and the attenuation of the filter. In each of the three parts of this series, you’ll learn how to do this.

How to apply the high pass filter to images

Now that you have a better understanding of how the filter functions you are ready to apply it in different ways. Click on the links below to learn more.