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For the first installment of Photoshop for Designers, Nigel French shows how to create editable, non-destructive effects such as shadows, glows, and bevels with layer effects in Photoshop. The course covers the use of layer effects like Drop Shadow, Inner Shadow, Bevel and Emboss, and Gradient Overlay, as well as how to combine effects with blending modes, transparency, and textures. With these techniques, designers can finesse type and graphics, control light, warp text, and extrude shapes, creating drama and adding depth to their compositions.
This example is going to bring out some interesting stuff. We are going to be embossing the contour of the bevel, applying an Outer Bevel with texture. Two Bevels, how are we going do that? Well, the answer is, we are going to be working with Smart Objects and we are also going to fill a shape with an image using Pattern Overlay. So, we want to get this nice sort of chrome effect with a reflection in the chrome. My first task is to create the Pattern Overlay, a half here on a hidden layer, this image which we are going to use. There are of course other ways to do this, but Pattern Overlay is a completely viable approach.
But I first need to make this into a pattern. So with it visible, I'm going to come to the Edit menu > Define Pattern and I'll just leave it called R. Then I'll hide that, go to my Layer Style, come to my Pattern Overlay, and I should at the bottom of my list see that pattern. Now I will need to just align the patent with the image, so I'm just going to drag it around, position it relative to the piece of type the way I wanted, which is like that.
And now I'm going to come and add an Inner Shadow and I'm going to increase the size of the Inner Shadow to about 13 pixels and then I'm going to customize the contour of the shadow. I'm going to use one of the predefined contours, Ring Double, and watch what happens to the Inner Shadow when I apply that. I get this lovely interior effect. I will also make sure I have Anti-Alias turned on for that. Next I'm going to go to Bevel and Emboss. I want to turn off Global Lights so that I don't affect the Inner Shadow that I've already added.
The Style will be Emboss and the Size is going to go up to 13 pixels and I'll Soften that by just a couple of pixels. Then I'm going to adjust the Highlight mode so that we really make those highlights pop out. I'm going to change that from Screen to Linear Dodge. Here is where things get really interesting. I'm going to apply a contour curve to the Bevel itself by clicking on Contour, one of the sub-effects, and to get a really cool sort of machine hand-tooled kind of look to this.
Like it's punched out of aluminum, then I'm going to choose this Custom Curve that I made earlier, and if we take a look at the Curve Editor we can see that it looks like this. It has four points and each of these points is set to be a corner. I also want to make sure that I have Anti-Alias checked to make sure that I don't incur any of that nasty- jaggy stuff that we saw there. I'm just going to turn that off. Those are the jaggies. Anti-Aliased. There we have it without the jaggies.
So those are the effects that we want to apply to the letter, but we want to go further than this. We want to apply a more and a different kind of embossing to this letter. Now you can only apply Emboss once, unless you safe this layer as a Smart Object. So that's what I'm going to do now, I'm going to right-click on the layer and choose Convert to Smart Object. Now that it's a Smart Object, we can add additional effects to it, but before I apply additional beveling to the letter itself, I want to add a Texture Bevel to the background. Bevel and Emboss > Texture and the texture that I'm after is called Metallic Flex and it's part of the grayscale paper's group, and I want that to be linked with the layer and I will click OK to that.
Having applied the textures to the background, I'm now going to add an Outer Bevel to the R to make the R look like it's being punched up out of this textured background. I'm going to come to Texture. I want to make sure I'm using the same texture as we used on the background, Metallic Flex, and then for the Bevel and Emboss, the Style needs to be Outer Bevel and then I'll increase the Size of that. And we get this great-looking raised effect and there is our finished result.
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