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Brushed Metal II - Engraved Text

Now that we have our metal plate complete, we are going to add some effects and make it useful. First we will add some engraved text, then we will make it look a little more 3D by adding a shadow and highlight.

Engraved Text

Use the Type Tool to place your text on the canvas. Double-click on the layer to create a new layer style. Add Inner Shadow. You should be able to see the results immediately if you have the Preview checked. Make sure it is checked and adjust your inner shadow. In our example the text is 48pt, and is the serif font, Constantia. Set the Opacity of the shadow to 65%, Angle: 120 degrees, Distance: 1px, Choke: 1 and Size: 3px.

Layer Style Inner Shadow Settings

Here is the Result:

Engraved lettering

This suggests that the brushed metal is just a veneer, but if you want it to appear as though the brushed metal texture is more than skin-deep we will need to remove the gray color of the lettering. Go to your layers palette and reduce the Fill to 0%.

Remove Fill of type

The result is as you see below. The shadow gives the text a nice inset look, and the texture of the metal shows into the type.

Resulting brushed metal effect without fill

Add Highlight

Set your Foreground Color to white. Select the Gradient Tool, and change your gradient to Foreground to Transparent. Change the type of gradient to Radial Gradient just to the right of the Gradient Editor.

Let’s enhance the highlights on this name plate by adding custom highlights. Click on the plate layer and control click on the layer thumbnail to get a selection.

Control Click thumbnail on layer

Create a new layer above the plate layer. Click and drag to add a white circle over the lightest area on the plate.

Drag across to add radial gradient

Reduce the Opacity of the gradient on the Layers Palette to about 75%. Feel free to reposition the gradient horizontally to suit the image best.

Add Custom Drop Shadow

There are two methods for adding a drop shadow. The first is simply adding Drop Shadow Layer Style. You find after working with graphics long enough that this method is somewhat limited in that it will be a uniform shadow which won’t account for more realistic bends on the item you’ve created. Let’s try a more complex method to make this plate more realistic.

Once again Control-Click the layer thumbnail on the plate layer, but this time create a new layer below the plate. Name this White. Go to Edit – Fill and select White from the drop-down menu. We need this white below the plate because adding motion blur to our noise in the previous lesson has made our image slightly transparent. Now repeat this step adding a layer below the White layer and name this layer Shadow. Go to Edit – Fill and select Black from the drop-down menu. There will be no visible changes at this point because our new layers are beneath the plate layer.

With the Shadow layer selected go to Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur, and select a Radius of 4px.

Gaussian Blur added to black layer beneath metal plate

We’re going to adjust the Shadow layer slightly so that it echoes the highlights and low lights on the plate itself. With the Shadow layer selected go to Edit – Transform – Warp. A highlight on the plate suggests an area where the plate may be bowing out, and conversely, a shadow on the plate suggests a place where the plate is either flat or bowing in.

Warp shadow

Here is our finished product:

3d engraved text on a plate

Play around with adding highlight gradients, or conversely, adding shadow gradients to enhance the light effects on your brushed silver plate. Then adjust the drop shadow accordingly. The shadow will expand more as the object is further away from the background. Using the highlights and drop shadow it is possible to make anything at all appear realistic.

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