Photoshop FAILS at Bevel and Emboss [Tutorial]


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You’ve Seen It Before


We’ve all seen this Bevel and Emboss job before. Heavy and sharp shadows and sharp, bright highlights. Only fitting that the shape looks like a big pile of crap.

Add Bevel and Emboss To Type



You can add a defined effect to some big, chunky text with Bevel and Emboss if it’s done well. I have some type here that I added some texture to and then used a Hard Chisel bevel and emboss and changed up the shadow and highlight strength to give this a chiseled stone look. It’s quick and easy! The key here is ensuring that you use this kind of effect sparingly and only when it makes sense. 

Letterpress Effect with Bevel and Emboss





You can also do somewhat of a decent letterpress effect with bevel and emboss as well. I went with a Chisel Hard technique, a small size of just 3px, I also set the Angle to 115 degrees, and then set the highlight mode to 90% opacity and the shadow mode to 70% opacity. We also need to flip the direction of the light source by selecting “Down” as well.

Next, look to the left side of the dialog box and choose “Blending Options” and set the Fill Opacity to 0%. This will knock out the color and just leave the bevel and emboss/letterpress effect.

Adding a Realistic Highlight



One of the things that I use Bevel and Emboss for is to add a perfect highlight or shadow along an edge. We can add a highlight along the top edge of this text using a technique I frequently use when working with user interface (UI) design. Add a Bevel and Emboss and use the “Smooth” technique with a “Depth” of 100%. I also set the size to somewhere between 2-4px and then reduced the shadows to 0% and the highlights areas to anywhere between 15-30% depending on the color of the object that you’re adding the highlight onto.

Use It Wisely


While Bevel and Emboss gets a bad rap, it can be incredibly useful as you use and explore it. Don’t be afraid to play with it, but don’t frighten the rest of us by using it with reckless abandon. Bevel and Emboss used badly is really bad. Share your Bevel and Emboss tips and tricks in the comments section below!

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