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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.
In this movie, I'm going to show you how to create these beveled letters against this background. And if I zoom in so that you can see the detail here, you'll notice that the texture, the wood texture in the background, actually wraps around the bevel. So we have this incremental bevel that goes up and then back down, and the wood wraps into it as well, and so I'm going to show you how that works. Now this document here represents my progress so far, the last point that we saw in the previous movie. I'm going to press Shift+Tab to bring in my right-side panels. So make sure that my big white 100% is selected, which it is.
Then I'm going to take that Fill Opacity value right there and I'm going to reduce it to 0%, so that we're seeing entirely through the text; we don't want to see any of that white fill. Instead we're going to do all the work with layer effects which will continue to be visible, thanks to the fact that I changed to Fill value and not the Opacity value. Now I'll drop down to the fx icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and I'll choose Bevel and Emboss, and these are the settings I use. I raise the Size value to 26 pixels. Notice that my angle is already preset to 15 degrees, and it's the global lighting value that's at work inside of this document.
I'll click on the swatch for the Highlight mode, the color swatch there, and I'm going to dial in these values. So change Hue to 35 degrees, the Saturation to 15%, and I'll take the Brightness value down just slightly to 80%. Then click OK. Because I just want a soft highlight here, I'll leave the Highlight mode set to Screen 75%. Opacity is just fine. For the Shadow mode, Multiply and 75% are fine. However, I'm going to change the color by clicking on the color swatch. I'll dial in, once again, 35 degrees for orange. Then I'll change the Saturation value to 50% and the Brightness to 35%.
So just as with the highlight, we have this soft shadow. Click OK to accept that modification. Now, the only other thing I'm going to do is click on Contour here underneath Bevel and Emboss, so we're on the left- hand side of the dialog box, and I'm going to change the Contour by clicking on this down-pointing arrowhead. I'm going to change it to this one right here, which is Rounded Steps. And that's basically it. You can turn on Anti-alias if you're worried about having sharp jagged transitions, but we shouldn't have any in this case. Now I'm going to add a little bit of a drop shadow by clicking on Drop Shadow, and I'm going to change the color once again-- this time, again the 35 degrees for Hue. But I'm going to take the Saturation value all the way up to 100%, and I'm going to enter 20% for the Brightness value.
Click OK. And then finally I'll change the distance value to 7 pixels and the Size to 15 pixels. And of course you can go your own way with this effect. You could dial in any values you see fit. This just happens to work well for this particular graphic. Now, I'll click OK. All right, so the problem is that we don't have any distortion in the background, so it doesn't look like the text really works with the background so far. We need to create a displacement map, and this displacement map takes a little bit of work. So here is what I'm going to do.
With this layer active, I'll go up to the Layers panel flyout menu and I'll choose Duplicate Layer, and I'm going to duplicate this text into a new document by choosing New from the Document pop- up menu. Click OK. And inside this new document, I'm going to get rid of all these settings I've applied by going up to Layer menu, choosing Layer Style, and then choosing Clear layer Style, this command right there. That will restore my opaque white text. I'm going to create a new background layer by dropping down to little page icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and Ctrl+Clicking on it here on a PC or Command+Clicking on it on the Mac.
That creates a new layer behind the previously selected layer. Now, I'll press the D key to establish my default colors, black as the foreground color, and I'll press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete to fill that layer with black. Now I'll go ahead and rename that layer Black just so that I know that's what it's doing. All right, now I need to put both of these layers into a Smart Object, but first I need to grab this text layer here-- it's really a shape layer at this point. But I need to make a copy of it by pressing Ctrl+J or Command+J on the Mac, and we'll come back to that later. But right now I'm going to turn it off.
Then I'll grab these two layers, click on one and Shift+Click on the other, so they're both selected, and I'll go up to the Layers panel flyout menu, and I'll choose Convert to Smart Object, because we need to apply a Smart Filter. All right, so both the text, the white text and the black background, are merged together into a single Smart Object. Now I'll go up to the Filter menu and I'll choose Blur and I'll choose Gaussian Blur. Now the idea here is I need to create a slope for the displacement map, a little bit of gray so that text slopes upward.
Now you would naturally think--I would think anyway--because I dialed in a Size value for my bevel effect of 25 pixels that I should enter 25 pixels into the Radius value. But Gaussian Blur has a very soft distribution associated with it, so you want it to be less than half of that size value that you assign to the Bevel and Emboss. So since I went with 25, divide that in half; that's 12.5. I went ahead and notched the Radius value down to 10 pixels. That turns out to work very, very well for this effect. Click OK.
All right, so now so far what I do, if this were expressed a displacement map, it's get a little bit tricky here conceptually. But if I express this now as a displacement map, black moves pixels in one direction, white moves them in another direction. I don't want to move anything outside the text in any direction; I want it to stay where it is. So that background needs to be gray, and the best way to make it gray is to drop down here to this black-white icon, press and hold the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, click on the black- white icon, and choose Levels.
I'm going to go ahead and call this dmap for a displacement map. You can go ahead and merge it with the previous layer by turning on this check box if you want to. It's a good idea, actually, so I'll go ahead and click OK. Now, this gets really conceptually difficult, but try to bear with me here. I'm going to go ahead and zoom in so we can see what happens. Right now, the blur goes outside the letters and inside the letters. I don't want it to go outside the letters because that would start sloping before the bevel occurs. So I'm going to take that first value, that black point value, up to 128.
So I'm basically taking all the stuff that was outside the letters and sending it to black. This may seem truly bizarre, but now I'm going to select the Output Levels value and change it to 128 as well, and that's going to take everything that was formerly black and make it medium gray, so nothing moves to the background. Only the stuff inside the letters moves. So 128 for the first Input Levels value-- that's what this is--and 128 for the first Output Levels value. That's it. Go ahead and close that panel. Now, I'm going to go back to the final version of this composition, so you can see the woodgrain right there starts flat, and then it wraps up around the bevel, and then it comes back into the letter.
So far, I've created a displacement map that would keep the woodgrain and flat in the background and slope it up around the bevel, but then it would stay high inside the letters. I need to move it back down into the letters. So I'll go back to my displacement map in progress here, I'm going to go ahead and zoom in on this text as well, and I'm going to turn on that layer that I'd set aside, that text. And I'm going to change its color to 50% Brightness right here. So I've got my Color panel open. Hue and Saturation are 0%, and Brightness is 50%.
And then, once I've done that, I'll press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete in order to fill this layer with gray. That wipes out everything. All right, bear with me here. Now, we need to go down here to the fx icon and choose Inner Glow in order to establish a little bit of additional blur inside the letters. And I'm going to change the Opacity value to 100%, click on that color swatch, change it to absolute white, click OK, and now I'm going to raise the Size value to slightly larger than my bevel--28 pixels works very nicely in this case.
I'm going to increase the Choke value as well, to fill in that Inner Glow up to 70%. So, 70% for Choke. If you're following along, size is now 28 pixels. Now, I'll go up to my Blending options and I'll change the Blend mode, because I just want to burn this effect in. I'm going to change the Blend mode to Multiply. Initially, that doesn't do anything until I turn on this check box, Blend Interior Effects as Group. All right, so I apologize if there is all these little bells and whistles we have to take advantage of. But that ends up doing the trick very nicely. Click OK.
I don't want the woodgrain to wrap all the way down inside the letters, just most of the way down, so I'm going to change this Opacity value right there to 75%, and press the Enter key or the Return on the Mac to accept that modification. All right, now we need to save the displacement map. I was telling you in previous Deke's technique that Photoshop wants a flat file for the displacement map, and we have all these layers going on. So just to check things out, go to the Edit menu. Those of you working on the Mac, go to the Photoshop menu. You drop all the way down to Preferences.
It's not that far down the list on the Mac. But then ultimately, once you've chosen Preferences, you need to choose File Handling. Go ahead and choose that Command-- that brings up the File Handling options here inside the Preferences dialog box-- and change Maximize PSD and PSB File Compatibility to Ask. Now, that's the default setting. But if you've ever worked through any of my other series, you know I prefer to have it set to Never. Anyway, go ahead and click OK after changing that to Ask. Then go up to the File menu and choose the Save As command in order to save this document.
I'm going to go ahead and name this guy 100% dmap, like so. Make sure to save it to the Photoshop format, the native PSD format. Click the Save button and then once you see this dialog box, make sure Maximize Compatibility is turned on. Again, normally, I don't like that option, but for this effect, we need it. Click OK. Now let's switch to the file in progress here, the one in which the woodgrain has not been wrapped around the letter yet. Click on that background layer, which represents the Smart Object that we created over the course of the previous movies.
I'm going to go out to the Filter menu, choose Distort, and choose Displace. I'm going to change the Horizontal Scale value to 0, because I don't want the woodgrain to be moving horizontally. I'll take Vertical Scale to 6, which is pretty low, kind of a subtle effect, but it's going to work out great. The other options don't matter. Click OK. And then find that file that you just got done saving, 100% dmap.psd in my case. Click Open and Photoshop goes ahead and distorts the background. All right, now in my case, I've got a problem, and the problem is that the underlying Smart Object here is a little bit too big.
So here's what you got to do, if you end up with a similar problem here. You have to double-click on the thumbnail for this Smart Object. So many steps involved here. And that's going to bring up the core Smart Object. Go up to the Image menu and choose the Canvas Size command. I need to reduce the Width value. It's 3,211 because Photoshop made the Smart Object big enough to contain everything inside this composition. You may recall that this composition has a Width of 3,000 pixels. The Height is also too large. I'm going to take it down to 1,200 pixels. Make sure the chiclet is set to the center, click OK, and then Photoshop is going to lie to you and tell you that you are going to lose pixels.
You are not; go ahead and click Proceed to move onward here. In a moment, it's going to update everything. Then go ahead and close out of that Smart Object and click the Yes button here on the PC, or the Save button on the Mac, to update that background inside of the other composition, and that should take care of the problem. That should go ahead and accurately map that background texture onto the letters. If it doesn't, go ahead and double-click on Displace here, at the bottom of the Layers panel. Ignore that dialog box. It should have the last settings you applied. Click OK and reload that file once again.
Click the Open button, and it should remap accurately. And you should see this woodgrain pattern, or any background pattern, mapped accurately onto the beveled edges of your letters here inside Photoshop.
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