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Deke's Techniques is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
Hey gang! This is Deke McClelland, here to welcome you to Deke's Techniques. In today's installment, I am going to show you how--in Photoshop--to create text that appears to be branded into any surface texture. It does not matter what that surface texture is; this technique will work. We start off with live editable text. Then we put that inside of a Smart Object and apply a displacement map. What that does is it goes ahead and maps the letters onto the surface texture, then we convert those letters to a selection outline, we burn inside of them using the Burn tool, we apply the Multiply blend mode, and finally we add a little bit of Bevel and Emboss in order to create that beveled edge effect right there, so that the text appears to be set into the background.
Let me show you exactly how it works. In this movie, we are going to take this text and we are going to burn it into the surface of this background image, which comes to us from Strikker of the Fotolia image library. We will end up with this effect here, in which not only do we have these darkened letters as if the text has actually been branded into rock, but we've also got these embossed edges. Then most importantly, the edges of the letters are actually bending into the contours of the photographs. So notice how this edge of the N and the stem of the D are both bending into that rock right there.
The registered trademark is also bending back and forth into the surface texture. Just to give you a sense of how incredibly flexible this technique is, I've set up a few layer comps. This is that same text burned into some corrugated cardboard. Notice how the serifs float up and down along the corrugation, as does the registered trademark. This is that same text branded in a burlap. We have a very different effect going on this time. Then I went ahead and branded the text into rhino hide. I wouldn't do that in real life, but it works great inside of Photoshop.
Then of course, this being a brand, I had to burn the text into cowhide. Every one of these effects was achieved using this exact same technique. So I am going to switch back to my starter image, zoom out, and then press Shift+Tab in order to bring up my right side panels. Now the first thing that I need to do is a need to set up a displacement map, and that's an image that tends another image inside of Photoshop according to its luminance levels. You create the displacement map from the photographic image itself. Here is how it works. My image is set up on this rock layer right there. I will click on it to select it.
Right-click in order to bring up the shortcut menu and choose Duplicate Layer. I am going to go ahead and place this layer inside of a new document, like so, by choosing New from the Document pop-up menu, and I'll go ahead and call this guy "Rock displace." Then I will click OK in order to create the new image. Now I need to flatten the image--this is a very important step, by the way--by going out to the layer menu and choosing the Flatten Image command, so that you have a single background item here inside the Layers panel. Then go up to the File menu and choose the Save command. You want to save this image in the PSD format.
It has to work that way in order to work with the displace filter. I've already named the image, so it's ready to go. I will just click on the Save button in order to save out my changes. Now, I am going to switch back to the image in progress. Now because you cannot apply filters directly to editable text inside of Photoshop, I am going to click on a brand layer, Shift+Click on the registered trademark because they are on independent layers inside this composition, then I am going to right-click on either one of them and choose Convert to Smart Object, like so. Now that the text is ready to receive Smart Filters, I'll go up to the Filter menu and choose Distort and then choose this command right there, Displace.
Now the settings that I found work the best are a Horizontal and Vertical Scale value of 5 a piece. The other options can be left set to their defaults as you see them here. Then click OK, and now you're going to be invited to open up your displacement map. Go ahead and locate that file that you just created. Click on it to select it. Then click the Open button, and Photoshop will do this number here where it just slightly re-writes the edges of these characters as you can see them, in order to follow the contours of the detail inside of that photographic image.
Now we are ending up with some pretty sharp transitions. If you zoom in, you can see that we've got a lot of jagged edges going on. In order to smooth over those jagged edges just a little bit, go to the Filter menu, choose the Blur command, and then choose Gaussian Blur. I like to assign a pretty small Radius value--something like 0.7 pixels works out pretty well here. Then I will go ahead and click OK in order to accept that modification. I always like to get rid of the filter mask if it's not in use, so I am going to right-click on that white thumbnail and choose Delete Filter Mask in order to get rid of it.
Now what better way to burn these letters into the background than to use the Burn tool? Now you can't use the Burn tool directly on a Smart Object; what you have to do is create a new, independent, static layer. We are going to do that like so: press the Ctrl key, or the Command key on the Mac, and click on the thumbnail for that Smart Object. That loads those edges as a selection outline. Now turn off that Smart Object, click on the image layer itself to make it active, and then press Ctrl+Alt+J--or Command+Option+J on the Mac--to jump the selection to a new layer.
I am going to go ahead and call it a "burned type," like so, and then click OK in order to create the new layer. I will zoom out a little bit, so that I can take in my entire image, and I'll switch over to my Burn tool, which I can select from the Dodge tool flyout menu. Now I will press the Right Bracket key a few times in order to grow my brush to a pretty big size. Make sure it's nice and soft as well. The default settings up here in the Options bar are just fine. And just go ahead and drag across your type a few times. So it'll take like two or three times in different locations in order to get the effect the way that you want it.
Once you get an effect that looks something like the one that you see here on-screen, go ahead and switch back to the Marquee tool, which you can get by pressing the M key, and then switch over to the Layers panel and change the blend mode from Normal to Multiply. That will go ahead and burn those letters in the place. Now I think this effect looks awfully darn and good. The edges of the letters are bending to the contours of the image. However, the one thing we are lacking is those embossed edges, and we will apply those using an Emboss effect. So drop down to the fx icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, click on it, choose Bevel and Emboss, switch the Style from Inner Bevel to Emboss, like so.
You also want the direction to be set to Down so that the letters appear to be bent into the image, as opposed to out. I am going to reduce the Size value to 4 pixels, so I am just taking it down ever so slightly. I've got my Angle values set to 120 degrees, which works out fine. The Altitude is 30 degrees, which is also great. I am going to change both the Highlight and Shadow Mode opacity to 100% a piece. I am going to change the blend mode from Screen to the highlight to Linear Dodge (Add). I am also going to change the color of the shadow slightly. So I will click on that black swatch, change the Hue value to 15 degrees, the Saturation value to 100%, and the Brightness value to 15%.
That will give us a very dark brown. Click OK. Click OK again in order to accept your modifications. Then I will Shift+Tab away my panels, press the F key a couple times in order to switch to the Full Screen mode, and this is our final effect, in which we've branded the text into the very surface of a textured photograph.
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