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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Metallic Glass Effect

Although I'm doing this technique on type, it works pretty well on just about any shape or a logo, so don't think of it necessarily as a type effect (that's why I put it here in this special effects chapter). What I like about this technique is the transparency created by feathering and knocking out the inside of the letters that's only evident when you place the effect over a background.

Quick Tip: How to move a layer to another document and have it appear in the exact same spot

There's a quick trick for duplicating a layer and having it appear in another document in the exact same position as in the original. In the Layers palette, click on the layer you want to duplicate, then in the Layers palette's drop-down menu, choose Duplicate Layer. When the dialog box appears, under Destination, choose your other document from the pop-up menu (or new if you want it to appear in a brand-new document), and click OK. Your layer will be duplicated to its new document in the exact same spot as in the original.

  1. Open a new document in RGB mode at 72 ppi. Click on the Foreground Color Swatch and pick a color to use for your type (I chose PANTONE 646). Press "t" to get the Type tool and create some very large type (as shown). Next, convert this Type layer into an image layer by going under the Layer menu, under Rasterize, and choosing Type.

  2. Figure 8.25

  3. Create a new layer by clicking on the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette. In the Layers palette, Command-click (PC: Control-click) on your text layer to put a selection around your text. Go under the Select menu, under Modify, and choose Contract. When the dialog box appears, enter 2 pixels, and click OK.

  4. Figure 8.26

  5. Set your Foreground color to white by pressing the letter "d" then the letter "x." Fill your selection with white by pressing Option-Delete (PC: Alt-Backspace). Deselect your type by pressing Command-D (PC: Control-D).

  6. Figure 8.27

    Quick Tip: The limits of Bevel and Emboss

    Photoshop's Bevel and Emboss Layer Style works really well on low-res, 72-ppi images, but unfortunately when you're using high-res, 300-ppi images, the effect of the Bevel and Emboss filter is much less. For example, a Depth of 20 gives a very thick, sharp inner bevel on a 72-ppi image, but the same setting of 20 on a 300-ppi image gives a softer, smaller bevel that seems to have about 30% to 40% of the intensity of the low-res version.

    There's really no practical way around this in Photoshop, but if you want this type of bevel effect for high-res images, Alien Skin's Eye Candy collection of Photoshop plug-ins has an Inner Bevel filter that's first-rate, and it works well on high-res images. Find out more at their Web site at

  7. Go under the Filter menu, under Blur, and choose Gaussian Blur. Enter 3 pixels and click OK to blur your white type. Change this layer's Blend Mode from Normal to Overlay. Press Command-E (PC: Control-E) to merge your white blurry layer with your original type layer directly below it.

  8. Figure 8.28

  9. Go under the Layer menu, under Layer Style, and choose Bevel and Emboss. Increase the Size to 10, the Highlight Mode Opacity to 100%, and click OK.

  10. Figure 8.29

  11. Go under the Filter menu, under Artistic, and choose Plastic Wrap. For Highlight Strength enter 15, for Detail enter 9, for Smoothness enter 7, and then click OK.

  12. Figure 8.30

    Quick Tip: Moving selections from one document to another

    If you have an active selection in a document, and you want the exact same selection in another open document, you can drag-and-drop just the selection (and not its contents) from one open document to another. To make this work, all you have to do is make sure you have a selection tool active (e.g., Lasso, Rectangular Marquee, Magic Wand, etc.), and with that tool, click in the center of your selection and drag it over to the other open document.

  13. Go to the Layers palette, hold the Command key (PC: Control key), and click on your text layer to put a selection around your text. Create a new layer by clicking on the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette. Fill your selection with white by pressing Option-Delete (PC: Alt-Backspace). Deselect by pressing Command-D (PC: Control-D).

  14. Figure 8.31

  15. Go under the Filter menu, under Sketch, and choose Chrome. When the Chrome dialog box appears, enter 10 for Detail, 10 for Smoothness, and click OK.

  16. Figure 8.32

  17. Change the layer Blend Mode for this layer from Normal to Multiply, and lower the Opacity to 75%. Hide your Background Layer (click on the Eye icon), then choose Merge Visible from the Layers palette's pop-down menu.

  18. Figure 8.33

  19. Open a background image, drag it into your type document, and in the Layers palette, drag this image below your text layer. While in the Layers palette, hold the Command key (PC: Control key), and click on your text layer to put a selection around your text. Go under the Select menu, under Modify, and choose Contract. When the dialog box appears, enter 5 pixels and click OK. Go under the Select menu and choose Feather. Enter 3 pixels, and click OK (this will soften the edges of your selection).

  20. Figure 8.34

  21. Now, press Delete (PC: Backspace) to create transparency within the type, while keeping the edges intact. Deselect by pressing Command-D (PC: Control-D). Last, go under the Filter menu, under Sharpen, and choose Unsharp Mask. Increase the Amount to 174, set the Radius to 1, and the Threshold to 4.

  22. Figure 8.35

  23. When you click OK, the sharpening adds a glassy, metallic-like shine to your type, and completes the effect.

  24. Figure 8.36

Quick Tip: Toggling through open documents

If you have more than one document open at the same time in Photoshop, you can toggle through your open documents by pressing Control-Tab (PC: Right-click-Tab).

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