Web Sharp Panel Tutorials
This page provides a comprehensive tutorial to using the free Web Sharpening Panel from Greg Benz. This panel is designed to allow you to quickly and easily create high-quality versions of your images for sharing online.
If you do not already have it, you can download here. If you are interested in more free Photoshop software and tutorials, please join my newsletter (look for links in the footer of any of the newsletters for software and other downloads).
Key topics on this page include:
This free web sharpening panel offers:
The main panel includes 4 buttons (and a flyout menu at top-right):
*** If you have chosen the preference to leave open or are otherwise working on a file already sharpened by this panel, this button will instead show as "Save" This allows you to quickly save the file with the output folder and quality specified in options after making local changes for sharpness and grain.
These buttons is described in detail below. Additionally, there is a Utilities menu option (via the three-bars menu icon at top-right of the panel). This allows you to reset options and popup notifications.
This button will immediately start sharpening the current image using the settings specified under options (see below). It will also use any visible crop overlays (see below). This provides a quick and simple way to create your output. If you wish to process multiple source images, just click this button while viewing each image. You may also initiate sharpening via the "Options" button, which may be preferable if you are frequently changing settings from one image to the next.
The "sharpening" process takes numerous steps that go well beyond just sharpening, including: cropping (interactively or via overlay template) to ensure proper display, conversion to sRGB (or P3) colorspace for best color, adding film grain for a nostalgic/dreamy feel, adding copyright metadata, removing other sensitive metadata, annotating key settings int the filename, and control over the tradeoffs between quality and file size in the final JPG.
This button is used to create (or remove) crop overlays. The overlays allow you to interactively pick the perfect crop, as well as automatically set the output dimensions for specific uses (such as uploading a landscape image to Instagram).
Using the overlays:
Note: If you have used anything other than 0% for "dim cropped areas" setting, the cropping overlay group will include a sub-group which helps make it easier to visualize the crop. You should generally leave this alone, but may change its opacity to affect the amount of dimming quickly. Do not otherwise edit that group or its contents.
The settings dialog includes tabs for both Sharpening and Crop Overlays.
Crop Overlay options:
The Overlay options may be accessed from within the Options dialog or by <ctrl/cmd>-clicking the Overlay button. It includes the following choices:
* If you first wish to save a copy of your template, you may click the "Edit template" button and use File / Save As to create a copy.
Customizing the overlay template:
The Web Sharpen panel was originally released as a script. While the interface has changed and the capabilities have expanded, the following videos are still great resources to learn more how to make the most of it. Settings for sharpening and grain have the same impact now in the panel as they did in the script.
Overview and comparison to other methods of sharpening
Adding grain for a dreamy, nostalgic feel
If you run into any problems or warning messages, here are some tips...
Warning: The crop dimensions are inconsistent with the final dimensions...
This message is shown when using a cropping overlay who's aspect ratio does not match the output ratio. Common reasons for this and solutions include:
Note that the panel is designed so that the image is always resized proportionally. So even if there is a mistake here, it will not cause stretching. Instead, it will cause the final crop to be different (even if only slightly) from the preview.
Warning: Crop extends beyond the edge of the image
This warning is shown when any portion of the crop overlay is beyond the edge of the image canvas, even if by 1 pixel. Check that the crop overlay is properly aligned when resizing or moving at the edges of the document. Photoshop's snapping feature may sometimes be off by a pixel or two when moving while zoomed out, so be sure to zoom in and inspect closely.
You should also check that the template does not have any stray pixels outside your intended cropping rectangle, such as parts of guides, text or other information you may have put into the overlay template.
I cannot see the panel:
Look under the Plugins menu at the top of Photoshop. If it is not there, it is not installed or has been disabled. If disabled, go to Plugins / Manage Plugins in Photoshop to to find the plugin and click the "Enable" button.
How do I uninstall the panel:
You may simply right-click the panel's name tab to close it if you do not wish to fully uninstall. Otherwise, open the Adobe Creative Cloud installer application via Plugins / Manage Plugins in Photoshop and click then click the ... icon next to the panel you wish to uninstall.