Along with graphics, surface embossing is the quality that makes vinyl plank look more like a wood plank. If you hold the product to an angle, you see how deeply the surface is embossed. This texture provides a realistic wood look. This is paradoxical, though, because real wood flooring does not always have texture. One aim of sanding down and re-finishing real wood floors is to bring down the texture and create a smooth surface once again.
You can even find vinyl planks with a heavily antiqued or distressed look, hand-scraped, dinged, scratched, and peppered with nail holes. But you need to go thicker for this because thinner vinyl boards are physically impossible to emboss that deeply.