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Black Chrome

This is a different style of chrome technique that I developed for my “Down & Dirty Tricks” column in Photoshop User magazine. I call it “Black Chrome,” but the chrome part is really the bevel around the black shiny letters. Again, this is another technique that works best if you create it at a large size or high resolution first, and then resize it down to the final size you'll need.

Step ONE. Open a new document in RGB mode (the one shown here is a 7" x 5" at a resolution of 150). Click on the Foreground Color Swatch in the Toolbox and choose a medium gray for your Foreground color in the Color Picker. Press the letter “t” to get the Type tool and create some very large-sized type (the font I used here is Bullet from House Industries, set at 185 points). Next, you'll need to put a selection around your type.
Step TWO. Hold the Command key (PC: Control key), go to the Layers palette, and click once on the Type layer (this loads a selection around your type, as shown here). Go under the Select menu and choose Save Selection. When the Save Selection dialog appears, click OK.
Step THREE. Deselect by pressing Command-D (PC: Control-D). Hide your Type layer by clicking on the Eye icon in the first column beside it in the Layers palette. Now, go to the Channels palette and click on the channel named Alpha 1 (that's your saved selection). Go under the Filter menu, under Blur, and choose Gaussian Blur. When the dialog appears, enter 5 pixels and click OK to blur the channel.
Step FOUR. Back in the Layers palette, click on the Background layer to make it active. Then go under the Filter menu, under Render, and choose Lighting Effects. You're only going to make one small change in this dialog. At the bottom, choose Alpha 1 in the Texture Channel pop-up menu (as shown here), then click OK.
Step FIVE. When you click OK, an embossed version of your type is applied to the Background layer. Next, press Command-M (PC: Control-M) to bring up the Curves dialog. You're going to create a curve that looks like the one shown here (don't worry—it's easy). Just click on the lower left side of the diagonal line to add a point, click on that point, and drag upward. Click to add another point near the top right, and then drag it down to add a chrome effect to your Background layer. Click OK.
Step SIX. Go under the Select menu and choose Load Selection. When the Load Selection dialog appears, Alpha 1 will already be chosen as your source channel (as shown here), but if for some reason it's not, choose it from the Channel pop-up menu. Click OK, and your saved selection will appear on your Background layer.
Step SEVEN. In this step, you'll need to expand your selection to include the thick bevel you created with the Lighting Effects filter. To do that, go under the Select menu, under Modify, and choose Expand. When the Expand Selection dialog box appears, choose to expand by 10 (as shown here), then click OK to expand your selection, encompassing your bevel (as shown).
Step EIGHT. Press Command-J (PC: Control-J) to take your selected area (your type and the full bevel) and copy them up to their own separate layer. In the Layers palette, click on the Background layer. Press Command-A (PC: Control-A) to select the entire Background layer, then press Delete (PC: Backspace) to remove the excess gray area created by the Lighting Effects filter. This leaves you with just your chrome type on its own layer (as shown here).
Step NINE. In the Layers palette, click on your original Type layer. Choose Bevel and Emboss from the Add a Layer Style pop-up menu at the bottom of the Layers palette. In the Bevel and Emboss dialog, increase the Depth to 400%, the Size to 21, and Soften to 16. In the Shading section, turn on Anti-aliased, then click on the down-facing arrow next to Gloss Contour to bring up the Contour Picker. Choose the contour named “Ring” (as shown). Don't click OK yet.
Step TEN. Increase the Highlight Opacity to 100%, and lower the Shadow Opacity to 50%). Click OK to apply the bevel. (At this point, the effect will look like the one shown here.)
Step ELEVEN. In the Layers palette, change the layer Blend Mode of this layer from Normal to Color Burn (as shown). Next, click on the beveled chrome layer in the Layers palette to make it active. Choose Drop Shadow from the Add a Layer Style pop-up menu at the bottom of the Layers palette. Increase the Size to 16 and click OK.
Step TWELVE. When you click OK, the drop shadow is applied behind your bevel and the effect is complete. (In the example shown here, I just added another line of type, using the same font, in all lowercase.)
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