'Edge & Texture Sharpening with Emboss Filter'

Clive R. Haynes FRPS

This is an alternative method of image sharpening.
It's a technique that is particularly appropriate for emphasising the 'edges' and/or 'textural content' of an image.
And, It's also quick and easy to do.

Before Sharpening
After Sharpening with 'Emboss'

The Method

Open the picture, this may be a 'Background Layer' but it doesn't have to be.

Make a copy of this layer, placing it on the layer above

Change the 'Blend Mode' for this copy layer from 'Normal' to 'Hard Light'

Desaturate the copy layer Image via: Image > Adjustments > Desaturate or Quick-Key: Ctrl + Shift + U
The purpose of desaturating the image is to avoid the effects of 'colour fringing'.

Go to: Filter > Stylise > Emboss


Above: Emboss filter dialogue box

Set 'Height' to 2 to 4 - You need to experiment to find what's best for the image.

Set the 'Amount' to, say, 100 (again experimentation is required)

Adjust the 'Angle' to give the best accentuation of the edges/texture in your judgement

Click 'OK'

Options: 1

A 'Layer Mask' can be added to the layer- this enable parts of the 'sharpening layer' to be selectively 'erased' (using black f/g colour) or 'restored' (using white f/g colour) and a suitable brush.
NB: If 'Layer Mask' is an unfamiliar method, click on this link: Layer Mask for more details.

Options: 2

A 'Curves' Adjustment Layer can be added and 'Clipped' (Ctrl + G) to the Sharpening Layer. The 'curve' can be set as an' S-curve' to increase the contrast and therefore the 'edge effect' of the 'Sharpening Layer'.
Options 3

Experiment with other 'Blend Modes' in the 'Hard Light family':
Soft Light
Vivid Light
Linear Light
Pin Light
('Hard Mix' is probably far too harsh)

Options 4

Experiment with the amount of 'Opacity' for the 'Emboss' Layer.

Related Topics
Sharpening - Introduction
Sharpening in Luminosity
Selective Sharpening
Sharpening with 'High Pass'
Sharpening Edges Specifically

Know-How Contents
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