PhotoShop

In this tutorial, we will explain how to take a flat logo and animate it using Photoshop’s new 3D and Timeline features. Let’s get started!


Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial.


Step 1

Open the logo in Photoshop. Note that the PNG file contains transparency—this is important when we convert to 3D. There’s no need to adjust the image size since we will change it at the end when we save it as an animation.


Step 2

Select the Crop Tool and extend the top and bottom to give our scene more space. Hit Enter to commit to the changes.

Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to select just the ‘envato’ text (the leaf is excluded) and click on the “Add Layer Mask” icon in the Layers Panel. This will isolate just the text.


Step 3

To make things easier, I’ve renamed the only layer to “Text.” Go ahead and make a copy of this layer, rename if “Leaf,” and click on the Layer Mask (this targets the mask, making it editable). Press Command/Ctrl + I to invert the selection and thus, isolating the leaf. The result should look identical to the original image that we opened. The only difference is that the text and leaf icon are now on separate layers.

With the “Leaf” layer still active, go to Layer > Layer Mask > Apply. This will remove all delete all pixels that were hidden by the mask.

Next, go to 3D > New 3D Extrusion From Selected Layer. This will automatically bring up the panels we need to work in our 3D scene.. If not, you can always go to Window > Workspace > 3D to force those panels open. Notice that the “Leaf” layer now appears as a 3D object llayer.


Step 4

In the 3D panel, select the “Leaf” object (denoted by the extruded star icon) and go to the Properties Panel and set the Extrusion Depth to 35. Also, deselect Catch Shadows and Cast Shadows.

We now need to move the “Leaf” object to the exact center of our scene. Before we do this, it will help to change our camera to a better view. Select the “Current View” layer in the 3D panel, then select the “Top” preset in the View setting .

On the canvas, use the onscreen widget to position the leaf in the exact center of our scene (denoted by the intersection of the red and blue lines).


Step 5

Currently, our canvas is showing the Top View. Select “Default Camera” in the 3D panel to reset the camera. Notice that the leaf object does not appear to be in its proper position. We will fix this in the next step.

Currently, the leaf appears out of position. To fix this, use the camera tools in the top menu to move the camera until the logo is properly placed. By moving just the camera, we can make the leaf object appear to be back in it’s proper position. It is important that we do not actually move the leaf object like we did in Step 4.


Step 6

Now, we’re ready to animate—click Create Video Timeline in the Timeline Panel. If you don’t see the timeline panel, then go to Window > Timeline.

When you do this, you will see all the layers displayed as separate video layers in the timeline. In this case, we will have two video layers.


Step 7

Since we want to animate the “Leaf” object, we need to access its properties in the timeline. Twirl-down the “Leaf” layer to show all properties that can be animated. For this aniamtion, we will focus on the “3D Scene Position.”

Click the stopwatch icon to Enable Keyframe Animation. This will add our first keyframe to our timeline (denoted by the yellow diamond).

Since Keyframe Animation is enabled, Photoshop will automatically add a keyframe when we make changes to the scene’s position (or rotation). Before we start rotating our scene, we need to indicate how long it will animate for. Do this by dragging the Current Time Indicator (denoted by the blue slider) to another point in the time bar.


Step 8

Back in the 3D Panel, select the “Scene” layer and go to the Properties Panel. In the Properties Panel, select the Coordinate icon and change the “Y Angle” value to 360. This will rotate the scene around its Y-axis 360 degrees.

Notice that a new keyframe has been added to our timeline. Using the Current Time Indicator, you can scrub back and forth to see how our 3D object animates. Since our “Leaf” object was placed in the exact center of our scene, we should see the leaf spinning in place.


Step 9

Our goal is to have the “Leaf” object appear to continually rotate around its axis while only showing the front face of the object. To do this, we first need to make a copy of our “Leaf” layer. In the Layers Panel go ahead and copy this layer. Notice that a copy of this layer also appears in our timeline.

Next, scrub through the timeline until the “Leaf” object makes three-quarters of a turn.

Grab the beginning of the “Leaf copy” video layer and drag it to the red line. This video layer is now cropped and will start animating right after the three-quarter turn.

Now, scrub over the first part of our animation and find the point at which the object makes its first quarter turn. This time, drag the ending of the “Leaf” video layer so it stops at the red line.

Finally, slide the “Leaf copy” video layer over to the red line. Scrub through the timeline to check that the animation is smooth.


Step 10

Before we render any frames, we have to tell Photoshop which frames we want rendered. Use the Current Time Indicator to scrub through our animation to locate the point where our object appears to make a full rotation. Use the slider immediately below the timebar to set the end of the work area. Now, only these frames will render.


Step 11

With our scene complete we can set up the final animated GIF. We will cover two options to save out our animation: Option 1 will quickly save out a low-quality GIF; Option 2 will take more time, but allow us to produce a high-quality GIF.

The first option is to go to File > Save for Web. This option skips the rendering process and will save out the frames as they appear on our canvas. Go ahead and change the settings as you see fit. Click Save when done.

Here is an example of the final animation using Option 1. Notice that the edges of the leaf appear jagged.


Step 12

The second option will require our scene to be rendered first. It is highly recommended to save at this point. Now, go to File > Export > Render Video and make the changes as shown. Make sure to select “Photoshop Image Sequence” as the output. This will render our scene as individual frames.

After all the frames have rendered, we can open them as an animation. Go to File > Open As and navigate to the folder we just created with all of our rendered frames. Select the first frame and click “Image Sequence” at the bottom of the window. Click Open. You will also see a dialogue box for the Frame Rate, just click OK.

The rendered images should automatically appear in a new timeline as a new animation.


Final Rendering

The last step is to save out the animation as a GIF. Just repeat Step 11 and you’re done!.



Photoshop layer styles are a popular way to add effects, such as drop shadows and strokes, to layers in a non-destructive way. With the right knowledge and experience, any effect can be achieved. To achieve these effects, however, you need to understand what each setting does and how they can be combined to create a certain look. In this series by John Shaver from Design Panoply, we will explain every aspect of Photoshop’s layer styles feature and show you how to unlock their potential.

In this article, Part 7: How to Apply the Satin Setting to Layer Style Effects, we will explain the settings behind Satin and the ways it can be used to create different effects. Let’s get started.

 


The Uses For Satin

Satin is one of the more obscure settings within Photoshop Layer Styles, but if you know how to use it, you can create a few different effects.

In addition to creating a silk or satin look, it can also be used to add additional depth and even more realistic detail to glass and metal effects.


The Layer Styles Satin Dialog Box

Satin creates two copies of your layer, then offsets and blurs them to produce the final result. You may not be able to picture it, but it is easy to understand once you see it in action.

There isn’t much to the Satin dialog box, and we have seen most of these settings before. All that’s left to do is jump in and see how they interact with each other.


Blend Mode

The Blend Mode allows you to set the blending mode for your Satin, while the color box, expectedly, allows you to choose the color.

A good place to start is Linear Burn using the color black, or Linear Dodge (Add) using the color white. This will allow you to see how Satin works, while at the same time applying the most realistic looking effect.

If you are unfamiliar with how all the different Blending Modes work, I highly recommend checking out the Blending Is Fun Basix tutorial.

In the following example, using a white color with Linear Dodge (Add) as the blending mode lightens our text while using black with Linear Burn as the blending mode darkens it.


Opacity

Our good old friend Opacity. A smaller number here makes for a more subtle effect and increasing the Opacity makes it more pronounced.

In the following example, you can see that a lower Opacity has a predictably more subtle impact on our final effect.


Angle

The Angle spinner sets the angle at which our Satin effect is offset from the original shape. You can enter a number in the box, or drag the line around using your mouse.

The following example may not be the prettiest, but it clearly shows how adjusting the Angle can change the look of your style. Used in conjunction with other effects, changing the Satin Angle can help you get more realistic looking lighting.


Distance

The Distance slider changes the distance that the Satin gets offset from our original shape. This is extra helpful when you are trying to create reflections for glass styles.

In the following example, you can see how slightly increasing the Distance of our white Satin effect gives us bigger reflections on our glass text.


Size

The Size slider sets the blur size of the Satin. The larger the value is, the blurrier it gets. A modest Size value will typically yield the most realistic results.

In the following example, the lower Size setting gives the lighting on our cookie style a harder edge.


Contour

Contour curves change the falloff of the Satin effect. A linear or slight “S-curve” are the best to begin with. More dynamic Contour shapes can help you get more interesting reflective effects.

The Anti-aliased checkbox will smooth out any hard edges when checked, and the Invert checkbox will flip your Contour upside down.

In the following example, you can see how changing our Contour gives us a more reflective looking double highlight on our text.


Saving and Loading Default Settings

You can save and load default settings for each effect in the Layer Styles dialog box. By clicking “Make Default”, Photoshop will store whatever settings are currently active as the new default settings for that effect.

By clicking “Reset to Default”, Photoshop will then load whatever settings were last saved. This allows you to experiment and simply reload custom default settings if you want to start over.


One For The Road

Until next time, this free, exclusive layer style and accompanying .PSD will show you some clever usage of the Satin effect.

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The Digital Illustrations of Liran Szeiman

12.07.2012

POSTED IN PhotoShop | Comments Off TAGS :

Each week, we feature the work of some of our favorite artists and designers for you to enjoy. In this article, we will showcase the work of Psdtuts author, Liran Szeiman. Let’s take a look!


Technification


Retreat | Tutorial


Untruth – HM9


Lurking Back


Rapto


Hysterical Banana


Karke


Bajo Presion


Nina


Howl



By combining certain fonts and styles, you can create graphics reminiscent of the automobile emblems of the 1950′s, also known as Brightwork. In this tutorial we will show you how to create a reflective, retro chrome emblem using Photoshop layer styles and a few selection tricks. Let’s get started.

 

This tutorial was sponsored by our friends at Fontbros.


Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial.


Step 1

The first thing we’re going to do is create our background. Create a new document, ours is 1920 x 1280, and unlock the background layer.

It doesn’t matter what color it is, because we are going to override that color using layer styles.

Double click the name of your background layer in the Layers palette to open the layer styles dialog box. Apply the following layer styles settings, using a medium red to dark red gradient for the Gradient Overlay.

You should end up with something similar to the image below.


Step 2

Using the pen tool, draw a black shape with a jagged line across the top as a new layer. This shape is going to be used to simulate the reflection of mountains in the distance.


Step 3

Change the Fill to 0% in the Layers palette, and apply the following layer style settings.

You should end up with an image similar to the one below.


Step 4

Create a new layer and fill it with white. With your new layer selected, Command/Ctrl + Click the vector mask icon for your mountain reflection shape in the Layers palette to make a selection of your shape.

Press Delete to delete that portion from your new white layer, leaving you with the image below.

Set the fill to 0% in the Layers palette and apply the following layer style settings to achieve the result below.


Step 5

Now that we have a nice reflective, red car paint effect, it’s time to create our emblem.

Draw an oval shape using the Ellipse tool, set the Fill to 0% in the Layers palette, and apply the following layer style settings to achieve the result below. The Inner Shadow effect will be used to simulate the shadow of our chrome border when we create it later.


Step 6

Duplicate your oval layer, clear the layer style settings, set the Fill to 0% in the Layers palette, and apply a black outer stroke of 25px.

Right click the layer in the Layer palette and click Convert to Smart Object. This will allow us to style the stroke as a shape, while giving us the ability to edit the thickness later on.


Step 7

Apply the following layer style settings to your newly created Smart Object to give it a chrome effect.


Step 8

Next we will create a mountain shape to reflect within our oval.

Create a new layer without anything in it. With your new layer still selected, Command/Ctrl + Click the thumbnail of your Oval shape in the Layers palette to make an oval selection. Next, Command/Ctrl + ALT + Click the white layer you created as a negative of your original mountain shape. This will subtract that shape from your selection.

Fill your selection with black and apply the following layer style settings to achieve the result below.


Step 9

Duplicate your oval shape, clear the layer styles, and move it above all the rest.

Set the Fill to 0% in the Layers palette and apply the following layer style settings for some subtle lighting effects.


Step 10

Duplicate your top oval shape and clear the layer styles.

Set the Fill to 0% in the Layers palette and apply the following layer style settings for one last shadow effect.


Step 11

Now for the star of our show.

In order for this retro effect to work, you need a retro style typeface.

We are using the beautifully designed “Cocktail Shaker”, which you can get at Font Bros.

Create your text and apply the following layer style settings for a chrome look.


Step 12

Next we will create our checkerboard pattern.

Create a new document that is 200 square pixels with a white background. Draw two, 100 pixel black boxes and place them in the upper left corner, and lower right corner.

Press Command/Ctrl + A to select your entire canvas and click Edit > Define Pattern. Name your checkerboard pattern and click OK.


Step 13

Switch back over to your main document.

Draw two, 100 pixel tall strips across the top and bottom of your canvas.

Apply the following layer style settings, using our checkboard pattern for the Pattern Overlay.


Final Image

That’s it! Using some simple selection tools and Photoshop layer styles, you now have your very own retro chrome emblem.

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Actions may be able to records a complicated series of steps but that doesn’t mean that they are complicated to use. In fact, actions are quite easy to use. In this tutorial we will explain how to save, and then edit a long series of steps using actions. Let’s get started!




We’re excited to let you know about the latest addition to the Tuts+ family — Mactuts+!

Mactuts+ is focused on teaching you how to use your Mac more effectively, efficiently, and powerfully. You’ll learn about the basics of OS X, how to switch, how to use accessories and time-saving software, work with your Mac in an enterprise setting, and how to save time with advanced productive tips and tricks.

Read on to find out more, and learn about our $1,000 competition!


What to Expect on Mactuts+

Mactuts+ is focused on teaching you how to use your Mac more effectively, efficiently, and powerfully. We’ll be covering a wide range of different techniques, and offering advice on everything from customising your desktop and using OS X, to automating complex tasks and delving into Terminal. So whether you’re completely new to OS X or you’re a seasoned pro, we’ve got you covered!

We’ll be publishing a combination of step-by-step written tutorials and screencasts/video lessons. In most weeks we’ll be publishing 4-5 high quality tutorials, so make sure to subscribe to the Mactuts+ RSS feed so you don’t miss a thing.

If you think you have the skills to create a screencast or text and image tutorial for Mactuts+, it’s easy to familiarize yourself with the guidelines and pitch your idea. We’re hungry for user contributions and pay great money for tutorials.


Win $1,000 — Submit Your Tips & Tricks!

We’re excited to let you know about our Mactuts+ launch competition, giving you the chance to win $1,000 to put towards a new Mac! You just need to submit a short screencast that showcases your favourite OS X tip, trick, or shortcut.

We’d love to find out more about how you use your Mac productively, and discover the tips and tricks that help to speed up your workflow. These might be related to a particular app, something built into OS X, an automator action, terminal command, or anything else!

Find out how to enter


Subscribe, Follow & Stay Up To Date

Don’t forget to follow Mactuts+ on Twitter, Facebook, and everywhere else! Here’s how to keep up to date with what’s going on:


Our First Few Posts…

If you’d like to delve straight into the content, here are a few quick links to our first handful of posts on Mactuts+. We hope you find them useful — it’s a good taster of what’s to come!

  • Preparing Your Mac for Mountain Lion

    Preparing Your Mac for Mountain Lion

    Apples next big operating system is set to release in the middle of this month and its likely that youll be one of the many users who are upgrading from Snow Leopard or Lion. Its not surprising, either, because there are a lot of great features in this update and its going to be the same price for users of either of the aforementioned versions. In light of that, why not update to version 10.8, Mountain Lion?

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  • 4 Easy Ways to Automate Your Mac’s Schedule

    Easy Ways to Automate Your Mac’s Schedule

    Your Mac comes with lots of ways to schedule tasks, but not all of it’s ready to go out of the box. Beyond automated maintenance, OS X has a lot going for it, but you have to put in a bit of elbow grease to get everything working how you want it and on your schedule.

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  • How To Migrate All of Your Important Data To Your New Mac

    How To Migrate All of Your Important Data To Your New Mac

    We recently saw another WWDC come and go and despite little to no progress in the desktop area, the MacBooks all received nice upgrades. This means there’s a fresh crop of users transitioning to a brand new machine, a task which always brings with it a decent number of questions.

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In this Tuts+ Premium tutorial by author, Sheridan Johns we will explain how to create stunning "Iron Man" fan art in Photoshop using digital painting techniques. This tutorial will begin as a sketch and then show how to slowly build up your artwork to create realistic metallic objects. We will then incorporate some photographic elements such as smoke and sparks to enhance the overall realism of the piece. This tutorial is available exclusively to Tuts+ Premium Members. If you are looking to take your photo manipulation skills to the next level then Log in or Join Now to get started!

Tuts+ Premium Members can login now for instant access to this tutorial. Membership to Tuts+ Premium gets you access to hundreds of exclusive premium tutorials, top selling ebooks, in-depth courses, member forums, and much more. To learn more about Tuts+ Premium, Take the Tour or Join Today.



Each week, we feature the work of some of our favorite artists and designers for you to enjoy. In this article, we will showcase the work of Andric, an artist with a talent for producing excellent commercial artwork and photo manipulations. Let’s take a look!



Recently we showed you how to replicate quick tintype photos. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to recreate its sister technique, wet plate photography, for an intriguing yet timeless photo effect.


Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial.


Wet Plate History

Collodion wet plate photography is an extensive process where a glass plate is prepared with several chemical solutions, transferred to a camera to expose, and then developed quickly all before it dries. This technique was used in the early 19th century to produce exquisite black and white photos with incredible detail.

Research

Wet plate photos vary in composition and detail according to the photographer’s preferences and its overall exposure time. Because each photo is unique, it’s important to treat each photo individually by applying only the attributes of the technique in Photoshop. Study the history, process, as well as dozens of examples before attempting digitally to avoid copying the effect of just one photo reference.

Attributes of Wet Plate Photos

Here are some characteristics of wet plate photography to keep in mind:

  • Wet plates are generally gray scale (no pure whites).
  • Chemicals may produce tinted photo with red, yellow, or blue undertones.
  • Streaks where the chemicals drip off are common.
  • The imperfections in each photo caused by debris, scratches, and changes in chemical reaction are what make them unique.

Step 1

Open the stock photo of the ballet shoes in Photoshop. Since the collodion technique is often used to produce haunting photos I chose this stock because I thought it would be great for creating a similar mood. Think about a possible story behind your photo, and how it will affect the overall composition as you work on it. Feel free to add notes beforehand to remind yourself which qualities of wet plate will work best for your particular reference.


Step 2

Let’s focus more on the tension and elegance of the ballet shoes by cropping the photo. Grab the crop tool and crop it so that there is roughly an equal amount of space from the top of the shoe to the bottom. Never be afraid to crop or alter a stock photo to better suit the desired composition.


Step 3

I always like to keep a copy of the original to flip back to every now and then. Duplicate the original photo, place it into a group, and name the group” Wet Plate Effect.” This will be the new group where the effects take place.


Step 4

Under the new group, right-click the copy of the original layer and duplicate it twice. Keep the bottom layer normal while you set the second layer to Hard Light, and the top layer to Multiply. The original photo is too light to work in grayscale just yet, so we want to make the tones of the photo richer before applying the black and white effect.


Step 5

Changing the color balance also helps us get more of the tonal quality we want. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color balance and add the following properties to the Midtones, Shadows, and Highlights options. The colors are saturated in blues for now, but this option will help us later by improving tonal value.


Step 6

Now it’s time to work in grayscale. Add a new adjustment layer for Hue/Saturation and bring the saturation down to -100.


Step 7

Add a new layer above the Hue/Saturation layer. Using a low opacity, large round brush with a hardness of 0%, apply soft black shadows to the scene to emphasize the front foot. This also creates a softer transition of tones between the feet. Adjust the layer opacity by bringing it down to 92%.


Step 8

Add a new transparent layer. Using the same brush settings, select the color #939393 and build soft strokes of gray to the back foot and leg. Bring the opacity of the layer down to 50%. This technique in combination with the previous step will help to create the soft muted tones often associated with wet plate photography. Feel free to either use the Eraser Tool (E) or the layer opacity to create the desired effect for both layers.


Step 9

Add a new transparent layer. This will be used in experimenting with the smudges caused by the collodion chemical reaction. Using the same gray color (#939393) as before, apply the color to the lower right corner using a round brush with a 70px diameter, 75% hardness, and 60% opacity. Consider this the start of experimentation with the border of your “wet plate” photo. By setting the layer to Linear Light and lowering the opacity to 84%, we’ve created a soft “wet” look.


Step 10

Not all wet plates are black and white. Sometimes the chemicals create red, blue, or yellow undertones. For this tinted effect, add a new layer and fill it with the color #938e5a. Bring the opacity of the layer down to 70% and set it to Multiply. Now let’s add some texture to the photo. Create another layer and fill it with the same gray color used previously. Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise and add an amount of 200% to the layer. Drag the Noise layer underneath the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer so that the color doesn’t show through. Set the layer to darken and bring down the opacity to 18%.


Step 11

Now let’s work on the contrast between the front and back shoe. Select the “Original copy” layer and use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to trace around the entire back leg. Copy and paste the leg onto a new layer and set it to Linear Dodge. This effect makes the back leg look a little overexposed while the front leg retains its clarity.


Step 12

Right-click the “Wet Plate Effect” group and duplicate it. Now in the “Wet Plate Effect copy” group, select all the layers and merge them together. Rename the merged layer to “wetplate2.” In wet plate photography there is often a blur that moves outward from the focal point. In this case the front ballet shoe is our focal point. So right-click the “wetplate2” layer and duplicate it. Go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and set the angle to -90 degrees and the distance to 16 pixels. Using a large, high opacity eraser brush with a hardness of 0%, erase along the side of the ballet shoe where the bands and skin meet. This allows the layer underneath to show through to retain enough detail.


Step 13

Add a new adjustment layer for Brightness and Contrast. Set the Brightness to +91. Use a large, soft eraser brush and erase over the two large pockets of shadow on either side of the front shoe.


Step 14

Select the “Wet Plate Effect copy” group and right-click to duplicate. Just as before, select all the layers now in the “Wet Plate Effect copy 2” group and merge them together. Rename the merged layer “wetplate3.” This group will be used for the finishing touches to the photo.


Step 15

As we finish the photo we’ll continue tweaking the composition to fit the mood. Currently there is too much rich shadow to the right of the focal point. Add a new layer above “wetplate3” and fill it with the color #1d1d16. Bring the layer opacity down to 35% and use a large soft eraser brush to erase towards the left of the front ballet shoe.


Step 16

As mentioned before, one of the characteristics of wet plate photography is the streaks from where the chemicals run off. To achieve this look, paste the “MetalLeaking0033” texture from CG Textures onto a new layer. Use the Free Transform tool to adjust the texture so that the leaking effect stretches across the canvas. To achieve a subtle effect, set the layer to Linear Dodge and bring down the opacity to 2%.


Step 17

Since the overall composition is a little on the dark side, add a new layer above the texture and fill it with white. Set the layer to Overlay and bring down the opacity to 30% to brighten the photo. Notice how the mood is dramatically different from our first steps.


Step 18

These last steps will add character to our piece. Though the front ballet shoe stands out well, the tone is just a tad off from where it needs to be. Add a new layer and use a soft round brush to apply a gray color to the shoe. Set the layer to Luminosity and bring down the layer opacity to 18%.


Step 19

The imperfections during the exposure and developing process are what make each wet plate photo unique. Set the foreground color to #f4f4c9. Take a hard round brush and set it to Pen Pressure for use with your tablet. Begin building organic, low opacity shapes, by swiping the brush across the screen. Create specs and scratches by varying your pen pressure. Utilize the Eraser Tool (E) to soften or omit shapes as you see fit. Experiment until you find what works. After, bring the layer opacity down to 14%.


Step 20

To finish this effect, let’s add a hint of a border. Add a new layer and use the same brush settings to apply black strokes along the left, right, and bottom edges of the photo. Use a soft eraser brush to soften the edges for a smooth transition.


Conclusion

You can now create your own timeless photo without all the mess or smelly chemicals. Allow yourself room for experimentation and the time to study the true characteristics of this historic technique.



Photoshop layer styles are a popular way to add effects, such as drop shadows and strokes, to layers in a non-destructive way. With the right knowledge and experience, any effect can be achieved. To achieve these effects, however, you need to understand what each setting does and how they can be combined to achieve a certain look. In this series by John Shaver from Design Panoply, we will explain every aspect of Photoshop’s layer styles feature and show you how to unlock their potential.

In this article, Part 6: The Comprehensive Guide to Bevel and Emboss, we will explain the settings behind Bevel and Emboss, including Contour and Texture, and how they can be used. Let’s take a look!


The Uses For Bevel and Emboss

Bevel and Emboss is often considered the most powerful and adaptable tools within Photoshop Layer Styles.

The traditional use for Bevel and Emboss is to make something look more 3-dimensional by adding highlights and shadows to different parts of your layer, but it doesn’t stop there.

With some special consideration and careful tweaks, you can create styles ranging from reflective chrome and refractive glass to chiseled stone and subtle letterpress graphics.


The Layer Styles Bevel and Emboss Dialog Boxes

The Bevel and Emboss dialog boxes are shown below, giving us a slew of new options. These will allow to set things like bevel height, lighting direction, texture map, and more.


Style

The Style dropdown is where you set the style/location of your bevel and includes the following options:

  • Outer Bevel: This applies the bevel to the outside of the shape you are applying it to
  • Inner Bevel: This applies the bevel to the inside of the shape you are applying it to
  • Emboss: This applies the bevel to both the outside, and the inside of the shape you are applying it to
  • Pillow Emboss: This applies the bevel to both the outside and inside of the shape you are applying it to, but in opposite directions
  • Stroke Emboss: This only works when you also have a stroke effect applied to your layer, and applies the bevel only to the stroke

It may seem confusing, but simply scrolling through the different Style settings with the Preview box checked will quickly show you how they each work.

In the following example, you can see that with Inner Bevel applied, it only affects the inside of the shape. With the Emboss style applied, the Bevel and Emboss affects both the inside and outside of the shape.


Technique

The Technique dropdown menu allows you to set the overall shape of the Bevel and Emboss and includes the following options:

  • Smooth: This setting creates a smooth, rounded edge bevel
  • Chisel Hard: This setting creates a hard, chiseled edge bevel
  • Chisel Soft: This setting creates a rougher, chiseled edge bevel

Again, the best way to see the difference is to scroll through the settings with the Preview box checked.

In the following example, you can see that text on the left is more smooth while the text on the right looks like it has been chiseled out of stone.


Depth

The depth slider increases or decreases the apparent depth of the Bevel and Emboss. A lower number creates a less visible 3D effect while a higher number makes it more dramatic.

In the following example, you can see how increasing the Depth makes the text look more 3-dimensional.


Direction

The Direction radio buttons simply let you choose whether you want your Bevel and Emboss to appear to be extruded towards you, or away from you.

In the following example, you can see how the "up" text appear to come out of the page, while the "down" text appears to sink into the page.


Size

The Size slider sets the overall size of the Bevel and Emboss. A lower number creates a smaller effect that stays closer to the edges of your shape, while a larger number increases the Bevel and Emboss coverage to a bigger area of your shape.

In the following example, the text on the left has a smaller bevel while the one on the right covers much more of the text.


Soften

The Soften slider allows you to soften any hard edges created by your Bevel and Emboss. It can be helpful in creating soft and squishy looking styles.

In the following example, you can see that increasing the Soften parameter helps us to create a much softer looking surface.


Angle and Altitude

The Angle and Altitude area is where you set the position of your light. The Angle sets the horizontal position of your light source, and the Altitude sets the vertical position, or apparent height of your light source. You can also drag the small crosshair around to edit your light source without having to use numeric values.

Checking the "Use Global Light" checkbox will sync these settings with any other lighting related settings in your document like Inner and Outer Shadow.

In the following example, you can see how changing the Angle and Altitude settings affects the perceived location of our light source.


Gloss Contour

Gloss contour is the secret to creating great glass and metal effects.

The Gloss Contour sets the falloff of the shadows and highlights within our Bevel and Emboss. A linear contour creates a natural looking falloff, while choosing something like a "sine wave" style contour can create cool, reflective effects.

In addition, the Anti-aliased checkbox will smooth out any jagged edges within your gloss if it is desired.

In the following example, you can see how the text on the left looks nothing like metal, but by changing the Gloss Contour, it begins to look more realistic.


Highlight Mode and Opacity

There are two parts to lighting, highlights and shadows.

The Highlight Mode dropdown is where you set the blend mode for your highlights. Screen is the default setting, but you can also try Linear Dodge (Add), and Color Dodge for more dramatic effects.

This is also where you set your highlight color. Most of the time you will leave it at white, but if you want to simulate different color light sources, you can change the highlight to have a tint of color.

The Opacity slider adjusts the intensity of your highlight edges.

In the following example you can see how changing the Highlight Mode, Color, and Opacity gives our style a slightly different, warmer look.


Shadow Mode and Opacity

The Shadow Mode dropdown is where you set the blend mode for your shadows. Multiply is the default setting, but you can also try Linear Burn or Color Burn for more dramatic effects.

This is also where you set your shadow color. Most of the time you will leave it at black, but you can also achieve other subtle effects by using different tints of color.

The Opacity slider adjusts the intensity of your shadows.

In the following example you can see how changing the Shadow Color and Opacity gives our wood style a subtle "mossy" look.


Saving And Loading Default Settings

You can save and load default settings for each effect in the Layer Styles dialog box. By clicking "Make Default", Photoshop will store whatever settings are currently active as the new default settings for that effect.

By clicking "Reset to Default", Photoshop will then load whatever settings were last saved. This allows you to experiment and simply reload custom default settings if you want to start over.


Contour

The Contour sub-section under Bevel and Emboss allows you to set the overall shape of your bevel. Checking the Anti-aliased checkbox smooths out your Contour, and the Range slider allows you to set the overall coverage of your bevel that you want your chosen contour to apply to.

This is another setting that is easier seen than said.

In the following example you can see how changing the Contour to aninverted "U" shape gives our text an indented type of bevel.


Texture

The Texture sub-section under Bevel and Emboss allows you to add a bump map to your style. A bump map makes the surface of your layer to appear higher or lower, giving us the ability to create special effects.

The Pattern area allows us to choose a pattern from Photoshop’s Patterns Palette to use as a bump map. Click the Snap to Origin button to align the Pattern to the origin of your document. You can also click the small "New" icon to create a new preset from your currently select Pattern.

The Scale slider lets you increase or decrease the size of your pattern, and the Depth slider changes the apparent depth of your bump map.

You can check the Invert checkbox to invert your pattern, make white areas black and black areas white.

Lastly, the Link with Layer checkbox locks the Pattern to your layer, so that if you move your layer around after closing the Layer Styles dialog box, the Pattern moves with it.

When the Layer Styles dialog box is open to the Contour sub-section, you can also drag the Pattern around on your canvas to position it manually.

In the following example you can see how adding a Pattern to our style can create a dramatically different looking effect. Since the Depth is set to "0" for the text on the left, the Pattern does not affect our style.


One For The Road

Until next time, this free, exclusive layer style and accompanying .PSD will help you dissect how all the different Bevel and Emboss settings can change the look of your images.