'Edge & Texture Sharpening with Emboss Filter'

Clive R. Haynes FRPS

This is an alternative method of image sharpening and one that permits some 'flexibility'. It's a technique that is particularly appropriate in emphasising the 'edges' and '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 as a Background Layer

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 (Ctrl + Shift + U)

Go to: Filter > Stylise > Emboss

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'


Above: Emboss filter dialogue box

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
Selective Sharpening
Sharpening Edges Gently
Sharpening in Luminosity
Sharpening with 'High Pass'
Know-How Contents
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