Embossed to Sharpen

On Monday I was in at Photo Color to pick up some prints that were printed for an order.  Rob and I were discussing editing and different things you can do.  He suggested I try using the embossing for sharpening, in much the same way that I had used the High Pass.

I have tried the technique on this image.  The image was processed in Camera Raw, then opened in Photoshop.  A duplicate layer was added then the embossed filter applied.  The blending mode overlay was then applied.  I’m not going to lie, I am not so sure about it.  I find it little too much, though I might need to practice some more.  This image was also processed with Color Efex.

The same has been done to this image, though it was toned down a bit.  I tried to make it not as strong. This image was not processed with Color Efex.

It is an interesting step, I am not really sure about it, but I like to give things a go.  I will try it again at some point.


A parcel arrived yesterday, it was a big box and inside was a Nikon camera.  I have been sent the D5100 to try and see how it works.  I haven’t had a chance to go out and try it yet.  The D5100 is Nikon’s equivalent camera to Canon’s 600D.  I am looking forward to seeing how it performs.  My initial impressions have been quite positive.  I like the weight of it, and I have been able to figure out everything for myself so far, which is always a good sign.

My experience with teaching people how to use a DSLR seems to be that the people who have never used one before have no idea what they are doing and find it all confusing no matter what camera they have.  People who have come from film need some help, but work it out with the manual.  Those that have had DSLR before can pretty much work it all out themselves.

Thanks Nikon, so glad to have received the parcel and I look forward to trying it out.


  1. arnoldthearmadillo says

    I rather like the top one… Really jumps out at you without seeming ‘wrong’

  2. The second image looks a bit cleaner. Interested to see how the Nikon works for you as I am fond of Canon cams. I value your analysis.

    • Thank you John, I am curious as well about the Nikon, so far so good, I am going to an event tomorrow so I might see if I can get some images with it then.

  3. while using highpass i using softligt and then press ctrl L or command L (mac user) and adjusting the panel. try it !

    • I do the same with highpass, then soft light, but I didn’t know Ctrl L brought up levels, thanks for the tip.

  4. It is amazing what one can do with photoshop and other such programs… I have given up entering my photos in competitions of certain magazines after learning how much of the entries are adjusted using these tools… I don’t have them so I can’t compete… but it still amazes me …

    • It is interesting, I can remember when I was a member of a camera club, back in the days of film, I stopped entering because I didn’t have a darkroom and couldn’t compete, funny isn’t it, really the same problem. We do what we can Rob. Thanks.

      • It helps if you are competing on a even ground, is that the term? Though, if photoshop is too expensive, I would consider Photoshop Elements, it is pretty good as well.

  5. You’re the first person I’ve run into who has actually used the emboss effect, so this was helpful. Have you experimented with both the opacity and fill sliders to control the technique? If you did, what happened?

    • I haven’t really played with it much, I did these images and one other. I am not sure how much I like it. I will play with it at some stage. Thanks.

  6. I love the images or what I presume the images would look like without the embossing which like you I’m a bit unsure of. The embossing seems to means the images lose their sharpness completely which I have reservations about. I love how prepared you are to try everything and share the results – really illuminating. Thanks Leanne!

    • Thank you Liz, I think it is important to try everything, some things don’t work, but it is fantastic when some do. The embossing does something to the edges that I am not so sure about.

  7. I love your images and the way you have used the emboss effect. Both images are amazing. Thank you for sharing them xxx

  8. How interesting, Leanne…I’ve never tried ’embossing’ an image, only graphics I’ve created…but I’ll check that out today with an image I’ve been working on.

    Looked up the D5100 specs and seems to be a great camera…something I would upgrade to within the next year (but…then I’d have to get a camera bag, and an extra lens, and…oh, well, I can dream—can’t I?).

    • I hope you checked it out 1000, it is a strange one. I am still not sure what I think of it.

      It does seem like a great camera, I still haven’t had a chance to play around with it, but hopefully tomorrow I might get a chance. I have to go somewhere, so it might be good. Will let you know how I go. I think most of the camera brands now do things for people who think like you. I have a friend who wanted to get a DSLR, but really didn’t want to bother with lenses, so she got a 18-200mm and had a great time with it in Europe. Something to consider.

      • My Nikon P80 has a 4.7-84.2mm lens with !:2.8-4.5…but I can force it to do low-light shots. If I were to ‘go pro’ again, I’d definitely have DSLR (as I used to with film cameras) but, those days (unfortunately), are over, I fear. Just happy to be alive and doing what I do!

        I will be very interested in reading how the D5100 performs…and It’s wonderful you have this fantastic opportunity to ‘test run’ these different cameras (I envy you that, because I know it’s so much FUN!).

        Have some happy shooting, and, as it Thanksgiving Day here in the States, I’m giving thanks, especially for finding you and your marvelous blog!

      • I just read your post 1000, and I totally understand. I think we all must do what we can. I am having trouble with my hands, actually my arms, and my days of holding up a camera at cycling events is coming to an end. for many reasons, my hands are glad of it.
        I love my DSLR, I love what i can do with it. Though I also understand what you are saying as well. I think you have to use what you can.
        I really need to take the 5100 for some photos, it has just been a very hectic couple of weeks here. I’ve had a bit of work on, which is great, but also means I am very busy. I wonder if I will get more cameras in the future to try out, that could be good, or it could be bad, I might start wanting some. I have approached Nikon about sponsoring my blog, but no word back from them yet.
        That is so nice of you, I am so happy that you have become my blogging friend as well and I always look forward to your posts and your comments, so thank you.

  9. Great idea here, Leanne! I will definitely try out this technique. I have a D5100 and love, love it– have fun!

  10. I normally use High Pass if I want to sharpen an image, this works well for me. I haven’t tried the Embossed option either, but maybe I will give it a try.

    • I usually do the same Gracie, I was told about this the other day, I don’t really know if I prefer it, I think I like high pass more. Thanks

  11. Interesting technique, and I like the effect in your photos. I’m going to experiment with different images to see where it works best. Thanks for the tip!!

  12. Interesting use of the emboss tool to sharpen an image. I’m looking forward to your field test of the Nikon 5100.

  13. Totally agree … I hate those manuals for cameras – never read one – when I left my fantastic film eating camera behind – I went to a small compact camera and I still haven’t read the manual.
    I have looked in it – but too much to take in and letters too small. Have played around with my Canon and every day I find something new I can do with that little camera that I had for over 4 years now.

    • I don’t know that I would go that far, the manuals can be very usual and sometimes you just need to read it to find out what it does. Usually when I get a new camera I go through my manual, just to familiarise myself with what it can do, and I have had to refer to it when I couldn’t do something. It is nice though to be able to pick up a camera and know how to use it. Thanks viveka

      • It’s only me and it has to do with that I’m so inpatient – thank you so much for coming back to me, Leanne
        I’m very much a hands on person – and I that is also I reason why I don’t read manuals myself.

      • I am exactly the same, the manual for my camera is the only manual I ever read, I don’t read them for anything, I think that tells you how important my camera is to me, :)

  14. I have to say, I agree with your reservations with the first image – the second is much better. Look forward to hearing what you think of the Nikon.

    • Wouldn’t that be nice, but alas no, I already use Nikon, now if Canon were throwing cameras at me it might be different. :)

  15. I just read recently that 2/3 of DSLR owners never take their camera out of Auto, so you have a huge audience Leanne.

    • Really, surely not. I find that so weird. I would never dream of buying a DSLR and using in Auto, you would be better of with a good compact camera. There are so many things to do and experiment with them. Maybe I should do more posts on that. What do you think? Thanks Ed

      • I think the 3100 is a great camera too. I have been teaching some classes and three students had them, and they were all taking great images. It it your first DSLR?

      • Yes it is. My last camera (which died the day after I bought the nikon) was a fuji finepix with manual settings but I’ve always wanted an slr. I’m getting used to turning the lens rather than a dial to zoom. I’m in love with this camera. My photos are soooo clear. It’s awesome

      • It is a great first DLSR, so I think you will be amazed. You will be able to do so much with it. Have a great time exploring your world with it.

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