Deviant Login Shop  Join deviantART for FREE Take the Tour
×

More from deviantART



Details

Submitted on
January 12, 2012
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
2,804
Favourites
4 (who?)
Comments
11
×

Emboss Sharpening

Journal Entry: Thu Jan 12, 2012, 7:10 PM
Way back in March of 2008 I wrote a journal entry on how to use the Smart Sharpen Tool.  thaumadzo.deviantart.com/journ…  I had not realized that it was that long ago, and also that so much has changed, not only in the tools, but also in my knowledge of the program.  

Sharpening, like most things is Photoshop is kind of an art and requires a level of finesse.  Too much, and the image is ruined, too little and things just don't seem sharp.  The beauty of photoshop is that it provides a number of tools for sharpening that work in many different situations.  Photoshop also provides the ability to fine tune effects, if they are added on a separate layer.

So for the next few weeks, my journal will speak about these various sharpening tools.  As I have already spoken about the Smart Sharpen Tool, I will not present it again, rather I will look at the following methods:

Emboss Sharpening
Unsharp Mask
Lab Sharpening
High Pass filter

As I present these various methods, you will notice that the sharpening methods sometimes fit one within the other.  For instance LAB sharpening uses the Smart Sharpen tool, and emboss sharpening is very much like the HIGH PASS filter.

Emboss sharpening is a great tool for images that are slightly out of focus.  Emphasis here must be on the word "slightly".  Nothing can really fix an image that is greatly out of focus.  Mostly Emboss sharpening is a method that can be used with images that are recoded as JPEGS.  If an image was recorded as a RAW file, emboss sharpening may not be as effective or even necessary because sharping may have already been carried out in the raw conversion process.  

Another thing to consider, especially with JPEG files, is "in camera" sharpening.  Many cameras have the capacity to sharpen files as they are recorded.  Usually, but not always, sharpening is applied only to JPEF files, but some cameras apply sharpening to all images even RAW.  Check you camera documentation to find out what is being applied to the image in the camera.   

The issue of course, is over sharpening.  One wants an image to appear sharp, but not to induce noise and halo's that are common with over sharpening.  The one advantage of digital work however, is that if you proceed with care, you can try just about any technique and not ruin the original digital negative.  This gives you the ability to try various techniques to see which one will work for you in the situation.

To use emboss sharpening, create a new layer above your base layer.  (This will ensure that your base file is not changed, and it will allow you the possibility of actually seeing what you have done by turning it off and on.)  Emboss Sharpening can be used in Photoshop as well as Photoshop Elements so it is a useful tool.

Then go to the Filter menu, scroll down and click Stylize, and then click Emboss in the next window that opens.  

A new window will open with a grey tone image of your picture.  Where ever the "angle" opens is fine.  Mine was at 45º but any angle will work as well as any other.

You should keep the pixel height quite low.  2-4 should be sufficient.  More will potentially over sharpen the image and actually increase the blurring.  (Try this yourself on a new layer, the effect was quite noticeable on my tests at the 10 pixel level).

The percentage slider must also be kept at a low level.  Increasing it too much will induce coloured edges in the picture.  Once again this is something that you can try yourself.  I found that levels of 100% created very noticeable coloured lines along straight edges.  For my purposes, I find that setting the percentage slider to 10-15% is the most effective.

After you have made the adjustments click OK.  You now have an image that looks grey overtop of your base image.  To correct this change the blend mode of the layer from "normal" to one of the "Hard Light Family of Options". These options include:

Overlay
Hard Light
Soft Light
Vivid Light
Linear light

In terms of strength, the settings work from the least to the strongest in the following order:

Soft Light
Overlay
Hard Light
Vivid Light
Linear Light

My tendency is to over sharpen sharpen a bit and to adjust using the layer opacity so the final result is slightly under sharpened.

Now in order to see the effect, you can turn the layer off an on.  You will notice that the image will "shift" in the direction of the angle that you set.  As it shifts, the focus changes.  Turing the layer on and off will allow you to evaluate the effect.

So what do you do, if the Soft Light setting is not quite enough, but the Overlay setting is too much?  Well the answer is simple, change the opacity of the layer.  Set the layer to the higher level, in this case Overlay, then reduce the opacity of the layer to fine tune the effect.  This ability means that you just have to be "close" when you make the initial settings in the emboss dialogue, because you can fine tune the effects afterwards by changing the "strength" of the layer.

One of the advantages to this method is that colours are removed.  Sharpening on a B&W layer is apparently more effective that trying to sharpen colours individually.  So the emboss tool, allows you to sharpen on a grey layer.



THE CHOSEN THREE


:iconmadscroach:


13921 by madscroachout of town by madscroach



:iconbamako:

Red Eyed Monster by bamakoMarch Crocus by bamako



:iconsophia-christina:

Regression by Sophia-ChristinaWind Beneath My Wings by Sophia-Christina




And thats my bit for this week.


Have a good weekend y'all

Original CSS Journal Coded by FleX177 modified by XWAUForceflow
Add a Comment:
 
:iconlayla199:
this information is so useful.
Reply
:iconvellosia:
Vellosia Jan 13, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Good info here! I learned something, and I thought I knew almost everything about Photoshop already!

And great features too. Madscroach has solid work!
Reply
:iconwaynebenedet:
PS is an amazing program. But I still learn things about it all the time. Often, a tool designed for one thing can do other things if you know how to tweek it. Have you ever sharpened in LAB? That is similar to emboss sharpening, but has some advantages and disadvantages.
Reply
:iconvellosia:
Vellosia Jan 13, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Never heard of LAB! Gah, there is so much I don't know!
Reply
:iconwaynebenedet:
It is a color space like RGB or CMYK but it has the advantage of a grey layer for sharpening. I will get there
Reply
:iconvellosia:
Vellosia Jan 13, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Oh wait! Sounds familiar now. I don't use all the photo editing capabilities of Photoshop often.
Reply
:iconwaynebenedet:
it is very rare for anyone to use them all, that is why it is so hard to remember them. The trick is knowing which one to use when. Something I will always struggle with I am afraid.
Reply
:icondavincipoppalag:
davincipoppalag Jan 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I dunno nuffin bout no photoshop.. lol its all greek to me.. nice to see Gil featured up there
Reply
:iconsophia-christina:
Thank you very much. I have all to often over sharpened and found funny added stuff and noise I did not like. I will definitely try using this new technique. Also Thank you for the feature :)
Reply
:iconwaynebenedet:
I have a few more things up my sleeve SC, that may help in your work. There is also something called luminosity sharpening that I may write about. It is a new wrinkle for me, and the applications are limited, but it still has a place in the tool belt.
Reply
Add a Comment: