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The punchline of this technique is embossing the stroke. This is all about the stroke and then applying and embossing to that stroke. We're also going to be working with light by combining Drop Shadow, Inner Shadow, and Gradient Overlay. Here's our starting point. Let me just mention that this font is one called Neuland. You may not have it in which case I've included a shape layer. It's not going to be editable type but you will be able to get the same look and effect with it. A type is sitting on a background field of gray and that has a Gradient Overlay with a reflected gradient applied to it.
So firstly I'm going to go to Stroke and I'm going to add a heavy stroke, a heavy black stroke to the center of the letter. Then I'm going to come to Bevel and Emboss. I would like the direction of the lights to be down and I want the style to be Stroke Emboss. So it's working on the stroke that we just added. And then I'm going to increase the Size of that, to about 80, and I'm also going to increase the Depth, and I'm also going to increase the Opacity on the Highlight and the Shadow, just to make it a bit more dramatic.
Now I'm going to come to my Drop Shadow. I'm going to turn off Global Light so that anything I do here with the angle isn't going to affect the Bevel and Emboss, and I'm just going to drag that off slightly and I want to keep that shadow quite well-defined I think, so I'm not going to increase the size. I am just going to leave that as is. Then we will go to the Inner Shadow and I'll pull in an Inner Shadow. I'm going to turn off Global Light before I go any further, pull that in and then increase the size to soften that, maybe adjust it a little bit more, and then let's add a Gradient Overlay.
The Gradient Overlay, I need to change the blend mode to Multiply. We currently have a Gradient Overlay in the background which is going from the bottom left to the top right, so here I want to have my Gradient Overlay go counter to that. So I'm going to change the Style to Reflected and the Angle to about 135 is fine, and I want to reverse that so that we go from dark to light. So dark instead of what we currently have, and I may also want to just dial down the Opacity.
There is our embossed stroke on the Z with some nice dramatic lighting applied to it as well.
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