Alternative Edge Enhancements

You may prefer to sharpen images using an alternative edge enhancement technique. Rather than rely on Unsharp Mask to determine where the edges are in your image, you can use an algorithm called Emboss to locate the hard edges.

1. Open the file Carcassonne.jpg from the CD. This is the exterior of the medieval castle that holds the stained glass you worked on before.

2. Press Ctrl+J to duplicate the Background layer. Rename the new layer Edges.

3. Choose Filter > Stylize > Emboss to open the Emboss dialog box, as shown in Figure 3.26.

4. Change Height to 5 pixels. The best results come from using between 3 and 5 pixels on most images. Click OK. The image in the document window appears mostly in grayscale with some strange colored highlights.

5. In the Layers palette, change the blending mode of the Edges layer to Hard Light.

The color image reappears in the document window with heavy edge enhancement.

Figure 3.26

The Emboss dialog box

6. Lower the opacity of the Edges layer to 33% to tone down the edge enhancement effect.

7. You may notice the edges of the branches look unrealistic. Change the foreground color to middle gray (128 in all three RGB values). Paint out the branch area in middle gray to eliminate edge enhancement from this portion of the image. Figure 3.27 shows the result.

8. Close the file without saving when you're finished.

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