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PhotoShop Tutorial

3D Plastic Effect

This is a rather easy way to create an originally bavelled text, using Photoshop CS2. Before we begin, I should say that it would look best with Calligraphy and Handwritten fonts. For the example above I created a new 300 * 100 px layer (Shft + Ctrl + N) and filled it with black (Press " D " to choose the black colour, and " G " to select the filling tool).

Create a new layer and select the typing tool. Here we took the font called
LaurenScript (click on the name to download it, free), Size 25 pt, "Smooth" settings.

Go to the upper menu, click "Layers" then "Layers Style" and "Blending Options". Apply the following settings:

1. Select the black (#000000) colour for a shadow, using the "Multiply" mode. Set the angle to 120 degree, "Distance" to 14 px from the object, and also "Size" to 14 px. When these values are equal, the shadow effect looks more balanced, therefore we set "Spread" to 0% -- which makes the shadow very delicate. You can skip the shadow if, like on the example above, you are using a black background. You you choose, however, pale or transparent background, this is how this bunch of settings is going to look (you not necessarily have to use text):

2. The Inner shadow gives a lot of depth to the object, especially if you use a large image nd not a text. this inner shadow creates the illusion of 3D and gives a more complicated look to the bevel emboss we will do later. Choose the black colour for the inner shadow, and set it on the "Multiply" mode, with the Opacity 50%. In order to make the inner shadow accompany the outer shadow, which I did first, we should set the Size to 14 px as well, Choke to 0% and Distance to 18 px. (for text it is better to set it to 18px, but for an object such as the box above - 14 px would look better). Using the same angle, which is 120 degree, will guarantee that visually we will get the impression of one light spot, and correct structure of a 3D object.

3. Adding t he outer glow will create a tiny light aura around the text. Set the blend mode to "Screen", Opacity 75% (which are the default settings in most of the PhotoShop versions). Choose the white co lour #ffffff, (In order to change the colour click inside the colour's box and pick another hue). Set the Elements Technique to "soft", "Spread" to 0%, otherwise the glowing aura will cover the outer shadow. Size, again, 14 pixels. Leave the"Quality" on the default settings -- "Linear contour", 50% Range and 0% Jitter. This will give us a very delicate outer glow, almost invisible, yet interesting.. The more complicated a 3D object is, the more natural it looks on our flat screen.

4. Now to the most important part - the bevel and emboss. Without these settings you can never achieve a complete 3D style. Choose the "Pillow emboss" style, "Smooth" technique and set the depth to about 510%. There is very little difference between 500% depth and 1000%, however a very visible difference between 1% and 200%. You may like the look of lower depth capacity if you work with an object such as button, however, for a calligraphy text, generally, the more depth, the better. Also, I have chosen not to soften the emboss, which you may want to do. Other than that, set the direction of the emboss to "Up" and the Size to 8 px. In the shading settings, use a 120 degree angle (just like in the inner and outer shadow), Global light, and Altitude of 30 degree. Gloss contour -- "Linear"; Highlight mode: "Screen" with white colour and 75% opacity; Shadow mode: "Multiply", black and also 75%. If the box near the "Anti-aliased is checked -- uncheck it. Leaving it checked will smooth the gloss contour, which we don't really want here.

5. The pattern we used is called "Brush metal" and in included in the default patterns of PhotoShop CS2. However, you need to "load" these patterns first.

In order to load the existing default patterns, click "Layer", "New Fill Layer" and then "Pattern..". Skip the name and mode (you can always rename the new layer's fill and change the mode), and click "OK". Click the little arrow that points down near the preview of the pattern (small 50*50 px box) and then, on the side of the pattern's submenu click the small arrow in the circle that points to the right. In the new menu choose "Load". Choose the group of patterns you wish to load, and click "Load". Depending on the file size, in a few seconds, the new patterns will show up in the small preview menu.

If you don't have the brushed metal, you can download it from Adobe's website, and if you can't download or not succeeding to install the pastern, don't worry, you can choose any of the other patterns such as leaves, old paper or marble and others.

6. The last touch up is really up to you. I have chosen to add a 2 px black contour to this style, you may want to choose 3 or 4 px, or not to include the stroke effect at all. From personal experience I must say though, that 1 pixel contour tend to create a "pixelated edge" (jigsaw-like edge). 1 px contour mostly looks good only on very small fonts and shapes, or on simple forms, without many curves. For instance, the Very first image (Lorelei text on black background), is very curvy, and therefore trying to add a 1 px stroke of any colour gave it a pixelated edge.

If you liked this style, you can, after you have finished configuring all the settings, save this style, so that next time you decide to use it, you wouldn't need to go though this complicated process again.

Saving the style is easy: Before closing the Layer Style window, click on "New Style" (just below the 'cancel' button), and give this style a name. Don't forget the check the box for "include layer effects"(!), and click "OK". And where your style is now? In the colours / styles window (to open it click "Windows" and then "Styles"), open the "styles" tab... scroll down, your newest settings will be the last in the list, and from now will be accessible in one click.

That's it. Hope you enjoyed the tutorial. Here are a several more examples of what you can do using the same settings, only changing the inner pattern fill, as we did in paragraph 5..

About Contributor

Liza Kliko

The owner and creator of Lorelei Web Awards, Digital Artworks Portfolio, Lorelei Web, Liza Kliko's official site and is a member and contributor of DeviantArt.

She has a knowledge in developing IRC chat scripts, as well as HTML, CSS, Flash, MySQL and php.

Liza Kliko

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