Need to reproduce a specific chiseled text effect in Illustrator/Photoshop.

I need help reproducing a very specific embossed text effect that I believe was initially created in Photoshop, but I'm pretty sure can be reproduced in Illustrator,and I really would prefer it be vector-based. The original graphic designer is long gone in the wind, and all we have now is an unlayered version of the file that gives us no help recreating it. If I had to describe it,I would describe it as almost a chiseled effect, such as might be appropriate for Roman numerals or characters, but I would need to either e-mail or post the file somewhere so that the expert could take a crack at telling me exactly how to reproduce it.

Oh ... and I need to know how to do it ASAP, in time to get business cards printed before the August New York Trade Shows
Who is Participating?
David BruggeConnect With a Mentor Commented:
My guess is that this was originally done in Corel Draw. This is based on the fact that the sample has a very sharp highlight area. The Photoshop Bevel and Embossing layer style does not do this using its default settings whereas Corel does.

That being said, I was able to get a somewhat close reproductions using a custom gloss contour.

Here is a screen grab of my settings:

You can also see the original Valenti image on the bottom, and my bevel/emboss style applied to the top (NOTE: to achieve a working layer of the Valenti image, enlarged the original 300% and smoothed the edges. I then selected and deleted the white background, and filled the remaining image with an average of the letter color, making solid colored letters to which the style filter could be applied)

The purpose of the custom gloss contour is to reproduce the sharp highlight reflection found in the original. It is a tweeking of this, and the "size" and "soften" sliders that gives shape to the highlights and shadows. I also had to select a different shadow color and change its blend mode to better match the original.

If you are going to set your own type in Photoshop (as opposed to scanning in an image of some type) then your type is vector based and can be enlarged without the quality suffering. (just the type itself, as well as any shapes or smart shapes. Artwork that is painted or drawn is subject to degradation as it is resized)

In the Image > Image Size dialog box, there is a check box labeled Scale Styles that must be checked before you resize so that your embossing style remains consistent. This check box also affects the Transform tool, If you use the Transform feature and the "Scale Styles" check box is not set in the Image size dialog box, the pixel settings will remain the same for drop shadows, bevel and emboss, stroke outline and any other layer style, but if you use the Transform feature and the "Scale Styles" check box has been previously set, then all of the layer styles will scale up or down with the Transformation -- this can get confusing.

Hope this helps, and best of luck.

David B.
probably it's just an inner shadow filter with the actual text transparent.
It may have been a bevel & emboss with Chisel Hard set. It's hard to say without seeing it. Any way you do it, Photoshop will likely be the easiest solution.

Why does it need to be vector just for business cards?
Get 10% Off Your First Squarespace Website

Ready to showcase your work, publish content or promote your business online? With Squarespace’s award-winning templates and 24/7 customer service, getting started is simple. Head to and use offer code ‘EXPERTS’ to get 10% off your first purchase.

David BruggeCommented:
If you have a jpeg of tiff version of the image, you can upload it here:
for us to look at.

David B
petewinnAuthor Commented:
Thanks one and all for your comments so far - my reponses are as follows:

1) It's definately not just an inner shadow.

2) I don't need it to be vector-based for the business cards - but I'll be using it in several other applications, so it would be nice not to have to worry about degradation during resizing.

3) I've upladed the file as D Brugge suggested, although I'm not sure how to verify its availability here. Alternatively, you can view it at
petewinnAuthor Commented:
Dave - WOW!! Your results are certainly "Close enough for government work," as they say - although I need a little more help before I can apply your solution. I did leave out one key fact: I have the original font, so I'm starting out vector based. The second issue is, I'm such a newbie, I don't even know how to get to the photoshop screen you're showing in your solution. So, if possible, please reframe your solution:
1)  Beginning with any font
2)  Suggesting the RGB codes for the color to start with
3)  Giving me a little more of a step  by step
Finally - I know for a fact it started out as Photoshop, but if at all possible, can you think of a way to do the whole thing with Illustrator? (I'm much more at home there)

Thanks a million!
petewinnAuthor Commented:
By the way - if you think I can get a better result with Corel, I do have Corel Painter Essentials 3 - but I'll REALLY need a step by step in that application!
petewinnAuthor Commented:
FYI, Photoshop newbie that I am, I found the layer style dialog and created a matching style for the layer with all the settings shown in your solution, except I have not, so far, figured out how to access the contour editor - which may account for why my results are still quite a bit off.
Click the Gloss Contour in the bottom section of the Bevel & Emboss dialog to create custom contours.

Make sure you click the actual curve thumbnail and not the dropdown arrow.
David BruggeCommented:
I see the others have stepped up to the plate in my absence to help complete my tutorial.


Can you get this effect in Illustrator? Yes and no. It is theoretically possible.

If you are brave, and if you have Illustrator 11 (CS 1) or higher, open a new page and set your type in a large size, 120 points or so, and fill with a mid value color. I found the color for your sample in Photoshop by using the magic wand to select all of the white, inverting the selection and going to Filter > Blur > Average. This gave me a color of R: 171, G 148, B 142 (actual mileage may very).

With the type selected, go to Effect > 3D > Extrude and Bevel. In the dialogue box, enter 0 degrees in all three rotation boxes so that you are looking straight at your 3D type.

In the Bevel drop down box, select Rounded (its near the end of the list) and check the preview checkbox. Adjust the Height slider until the bevel effect barely meets in the middle of the letter, that is to say, there are no flat areas on the letters. You may find it easier to switch from Plastic to Wireframe in the Surface dropdown box while you make your adjustments because there wont be the lag time while your computer recalculates all of the angles and shadows.

With that done, open the More Options box. Here is where you control the lighting and the surface characteristics of your letters. I have no doubt that with perseverance and enough time, you will get the exact look that you want.

That, or you will go back to Photoshop and do it from there.

If you do decide to stick will Illustrator. After you get as close as you think that you can with the 3D filter, you can expand the appearance of your text and tweek the individual layer. BUT save your design first and work on a copy!!!

Best of luck,

David B.

Not for me!!! D_Brugge is doing the heavy lifting on this question. He gets them all.
That's an Eye Candy plugin for photoshop.  
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.