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InDesign FX is a collection of self-contained effects projects designed to be completed in ten minutes or less. Taught by expert Mike Rankin, the series explores every aspect of InDesign's graphic effects capabilities through real-world examples, all without relying on Photoshop or Illustrator. The intent is to reveal the quick, practical, and sometimes surprising application of InDesign effects to creative projects.
The basic strategy for making text or other objects look like they were carved or chiseled is to combine two of InDesign's effects, Bevel and Inner Shadow. Here I have some text, the word CHISEL that looks like it's been chiseled into my document. If I zoom in, I can see how these two effects work together nicely. I can see the edge of the material that's been created by the Bevel effect and I can see the Inner Shadow that adds a little bit of lighting and makes it a little bit more convincing. I will zoom back out and let's try this. So here's some plain text with no effect applied to it.
I will select the frame, I will go to the Effects panel, and I will double-click to open up the Effects dialog box. I will start by applying a Bevel and Emboss and for the Style, I am going to choose an Outer Bevel, for Technique, Chisel Hard, and Direction Down. So it looks like the light is coming down from the top-left corner and I can see I have a nice edge to my material there. Next, I am going to apply an inner shadow. I will click on Inner Shadow and that's a little bit too dark for me.
So I am going to decrease the Opacity from the default 75% somewhere down in the neighborhood of 40% and if you wanted to, you can add a little bit of noise just to try to make it a little more realistic. I will click OK. Let's zoom in again and see how these two effects work together nicely. Again, I have the edge, courtesy of the Bevel effect and the Inner Shadow adding to it. Nice! Now let's try carving some wood. Here I have a wood carving that's been done in the same manner as that original chiseling that I just showed.
It uses two InDesign effects, Bevel and Inner Shadow. In the case of the carving, I actually use two copies of the text. One to give me the bevel highlights and shadows and the other just to give me this color of the wood fill. The reason for that is I want to use the Hard Light blending mode. The Hard Light blending mode allows me to create nice intense shadows and highlights on objects when I use Bevel and Emboss and make the fill color disappear. That way I can keep this wood color independent of the shadows and highlights and not have them become oversaturated and unrealistic. Let's try this.
So here I have some plain text just filled with black. I am going to select it and go to my Swatches panel, target the text, and fill it with plain wood, and I am going to select Formatting affects container and go up to the Effects panel and I am going to change the blending mode from Normal to Hard Light and this gives me that nice bare wood color that I am looking for. Now I will copy the text, paste it in place, and I am going to leave the Hard Light blending mode on and this copy is going to give me my chiseled effect with the Bevel and Emboss and the Inner Shadow.
I will switch to the swatches, target the text, and fill it with black, 50%. That makes that fill disappear. Now I can apply the effects to create the carving. Again, target the container, open the Effects panel, and double-click to open the dialog box. So we'll choose Bevel and Emboss, Inner Bevel, Chisel Hard, and a Direction of Down. That's looking pretty good.
And now I just need to add the Inner Shadow. That's too dark. So I will decrease the Opacity down to something really small, maybe 20% just to add a little bit of depth there and maybe a little bit of Noise, industry standard 2% Noise, and click OK and deselect. There I have my nice carving into wood effect. Now let's try some stone. Here I have some text that's been carved into some stone and the variation here is I wanted to create some weathered text to look like Mother Nature had been working on this a long time and roughening up the edges of the type.
If I zoom in, I can see that. the edges of the text are sort of blending into the rest of the stone and having a really rough feel. I accomplished this by applying a directional feather with a lot of noise. Let's zoom out and we'll start from scratch. So here's some text just filled with black. I will open up my Swatches panel, target the text, and change the Tint from 100% black down to something in the neighborhood of 70%, a dark gray. I will target the container, open the Effects panel, and double-click to open my Effects dialog box.
We will apply the Bevel and Emboss and this time we'll apply an Emboss. Again, we'll Chisel Hard and a Direction of Down. This is a little bit too deep for me, so I am going to decrease the size down to 4 points. I am going to increase the Altitude from 30 degrees to 50 degrees and the Highlights in this effect are too shiny, too bright for me. So I am going to decrease the opacity of the Highlight down to something like 40%.
That's looking better. Now, I'd like the fill color of this chiseled text to disappear. I only want to see the photo of the stone. I don't want to see this gray color. So I am going to target the transparency and change the blending mode from Normal to Hard Light. There we go! Now we will apply the Inner Shadow. That's a little bit too far for me. So I am going to decrease the Distance from 7 points down to 5 points and I will also decrease the Size down to 5 points.
That's too dark for me. So I am going to decrease it all the way down to 20%. That's looking better and now to weather the text I am going to apply that Directional Feather. I am going to constrain it so it's applied the same in all directions, 3 points worth, and a large amount of Noise, 20% Noise, a setting you probably wouldn't use in any other context, and I want to apply it to all edges. I will click OK and zoom into look at my weathered text.
That's looking good. I see the edges of the text are fading into the stone, courtesy of the Directional Feather. I have my Inner Shadow and my beveling to create a carved stone effect. To make a convincing carving or chiseling image, you need to use both Bevel and Emboss and Inner Shadow effects. The Bevel creates a sense of depth and the Inner Shadow adds to it with lighting. If you want to make a convincing effect of carving into stand wood, you need two copies of your subject, one to provide you with the color of the underlying wood and a second for the Bevel and the Inner Shadow with a proper amount of saturation.
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