Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Crisp Highlights

This tutorial is inspired by Efenstor's 'Glass or Bevel' script.
I dont know exactly how his script achieves the effect, as its written in python, but i will show you a way how to get a similar effect manually.

The main feature of the effect is a crisp, offset highlight, that gives your text a glossy and slightly rounded appearance.
Basically its a bevel without the shadow, but the highlight does not line up with the text edge, instead it is offset a bit inside the text boundaries.
So really its just a variaton of bevelling.


Lets start !

01. My canvas is 800x400 – i applied a gradient as the background.


02. Type your text – i used the font Ventography at 300px
dont make your text too small to avoid jaggy edges !

03. Align your text, apply layer to image size if necessary, then alpha select.

04. Save the selection to a channel (Select → Save to channel).

05. Shrink the selection by a value that you want your highlight to be offset (i used 4).

06. Create a new transparent layer on top of all.

07. Fill the selection on the transparent layer with a 50ies grey (#808080).

08. Save the shrinked selection to a channel – in the channels tab, rename this channel to 'Highlight'
then deselect.


We will bump map this grey layer, then get rid of the grey to extract the highlight.

09. Gaussian blur the highlight channel (thats the one from the shrinked selection) – i will use a value of 5, higher and lower values are possible, but 5 is mostly a good value

10. activate the grey highlight layer, call up the BumpMap (thats under 'Filter → Map').

Under BumpMap choose the blurred highlight channel
….decide on the direction of light – i will use the default.
Find a Depth that will give you a strong highlight – this can be as small as 3 or much bigger
i will use 10.
Depending on what kind of effect you want, you may want to have a very bright highlight – for that play with the Angle – see how the brightness changes with different values.
I used an Angle of 15

For this effect we dont need a shadow, so turn up the Ambient to the max - that will filter out all the black shadows.



11. To extract the white highlights out of the grey layer, apply Color to Alpha (Colours →  Color to Alpha), with the exact 50ies grey (#808080).



12. Next we want to tighten that extracted highlight with an alpha-curve
this step depends on what you made your highlight in the BumpMap process.
In my example the highlight is already  pretty tight, but sometimes it can be fuzzy.

Call up the curves-tool and set the channel to alpha !
Now give the curve an angular shape like you see in the screenshot.
Depending on your individual highlight, the anchors may be dragged higher lower, more to the right or to the left....
important is, that you find a good middle ground between too fuzzy and jaggy !


For demonstration purposes i will show you the same highlight made fuzzy by blurring it by 5.
Also i changed the text-color to black for better contrast.
As you see, this looks pretty good as it is (licorice, lol) and depending on what you want to achieve this can be great.


Here are a few examples how you can custom shape the highlight:


Here the highlight is way too jaggy. Try a different curve !!!


This is a very thin highlight (that could benefit from a duplicate to make it brighter)....


and here its quite fat.


To finish our little texteffect i will add an Inner Shadow

01. Alpha select your basetext and then invert.
02. Create a new transparent layer, name it Inner Shadow.
03. Fill the selection with a dark colour, depending on your basetext.
04. Gaussian Blur the layer (i used a value of 8)
05. Next offset the layer so that you get a 3D-ish effect.
I clicked the layer with the Move Tool, then used the arrow keys 2 px down and 2px to the right


06. To get rid of everything that is outside the textboundaries apply a layermask 'from channel'
(Make sure to use the channel for our basetext, not the blurred bumpmap !)


07. Set the Mode to 'Multiply' or any other that makes sense for you and play with the Opacity if necessary.

For the sake of the effect i added a dropshadow and that concludes this tutorial.


I hope you found it informative and useful ! ;)

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