Photoshop Tutorial: Shake Reduction

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Before and After: The photo on the right is sharper after using shake reduction.

If you’re like me and have hands that shake while you go for the shutter button, then Photoshop is here to save you. Shake Reduction was made for people like me. It aims to reduce the blurs in the photo that are caused by movement and attempts to reduce it. It works well most of the time but it does fail from time to time. Dark photos and photos with a lot of detail tend to be impossible for smart sharpen to fix.

The process itself is really simple. It literally is just a few clicks most of the time and doesn’t always require fine adjustments.

Step 1: Go up to Filter > Sharpen > Shake Reduction

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Step 2: Wait, and if everything looks good, click OK. That is it! You’ve now got yourself a sharper image.

Troubleshooting

The default options usually work well, so you hopefully don’t need to tweak the settings. But in case you image turns out a marbled mess like below, then you’ll need more work.

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The church photo with default sharpness adjustments, which does not give good results

For things like this, I usually try to mess with the sliders until something works. The first one you should try is the blur trace bounds slider, since that controls the main aspect of this filter. If you get an acceptable result that’s a bit too grainy, you can bump up the smoothing slider too. The artifact suppression tries to get rid of the weird colored pixels that show up in jpegs. For this church image, pushing blur trace bounds to the 90s and smoothing to the low 40s seems to have fixed it:

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The same photo after manual adjustments

Advanced Usage

In the advanced panel, you can select an area of the image to sample as a reference to how much “shake” to reduce. If the picture you have has a ton of blurs but also has a sharper portion that you want even sharper, you can select that area and watch as the whole photo gets slightly sharper. If you tried that with the default selection, you would get a mess similar to the first church photo.

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Using the advanced panel

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