Thursday, 14 March 2013

Basic Techniques: Inner Shadow

In this episode im gonna show you how to make an Inner Shadow.

This effect works more or less the same as an Inner Glow, but mostly with dark colours and sometimes an offset, which will give your text a 3D-ish look.

01. Start with a canvas 560x280px, Colour: a80000
to make it look a bit less synthetic, i applied a bit of RGB-Noise.
Uncheck 'Independent RGB' and apply a value of 0,04 to the red/bue/green channels.

Im using the same font and values as in my previous tutorial:
Sans Bold 215px, Spacing: -14, Colour: 666666

Align your text and alpha select.

02. Save this selection to a channel for future use (Select → Save to Channel).

Saving the selection of my base text to a channel has become a standard in my work with text.
It makes working with layermasks easier.
Also sometimes your basetext will be changed or gets lost in the workprocess, then a backup always comes in handy.

03. For our Inner Shadow: activate selection from the saved channel and Invert it !

04. On a new transparent layer, fill the selection with a colour you want your shadow to be.
I chose a dark grey 282828.

Then deselect !

Everything outside the text-boundaries should now have the colour of the shadow.

05. Apply a Gaussian Blur.
As in our last tutorial, i used a value of 25.

You can use bigger or smaller values, depending on the effect you want to achieve.

06. Now we need to get rid of everything that is outside the textboundaries.
You can do this by inverting the saved selection and hit the 'Delete' key (or Edit → Clear).
and this is my favorite technique, because it gives you more control:
apply a layermask 'from Channel'.

07. To finalize our effect, we change the 'Mode' and 'Opacity' of the shadowlayer.
'Multiply' and 75% are the default for dark colours, but it depends very much on the whole piece and the overall effect you want to achieve.

And this is your basic Inner Shadow texteffect:

As i said in the intro, Inner Shadows often come with an offset, meaning the shadowlayer is moved, creating an improved illusion of threedimensionality.

You can do this by using the 'Move Tool' and just eye it.

Or with the Offset-Dialog under:
Layer → Transform → Offset (shortcut: Ctrl + Shift + O).

The Offset-Dialog is a cool way of giving other Gimpers the opportunity to copy the exact offset you used. Just note the values for X and Y-Axis in your tutorial.

The coordinates for Gimp's Offset-Dialog are based upon the assumption that X/Y: 0 is located in the left upper corner of your canvas.
(Thanks to saulgoode for this information !)

Or by clicking once on your layer with the 'Move Tool' and then using the cursor-keys on your keyboard.

For this tutorial i used values that give a very visible effect: 10/10 and this is what it looks like:

When you work a while with layereffects and know them inside out, doing texteffects will be like „painting“. But instead of painting with colours, you paint with layereffects.
Sometimes its difficult to find the right offset for a layer, because the shadow is still all over the canvas.

Here is a trick how you can make it easier for you to see your final Inner Shadow will look like:
when you click the eye that is beside the saved channel, as mask made of 50% black will appear on your canvas. 
You can change the colour of this mask any way you like and for the sake of this tutorial, i changed it to green, so you guys can better see it.

With the mask active you can use the 'Move Tool' to drag the shadowlayer around and instantly see, what it would look like after the layermask is applied.

Dont forget to turn off your mask before you export your final picture ! ;)


01. type and then align your text
02. save alpha selected text to a channel
03. invert selection
04. on a transparent layer, fill selection with colour
4a. Deselect
05. Gaussian Blur
06. apply layermask
6a. offset shadowlayer
07. adjust Mode and Opacity

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