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Tutorial: Create a Realistic Emboss/Deboss Effect in Photoshop

Tutorial: Create a Realistic Emboss/Deboss Effect in PhotoshopThe coolest thing about embossing and debossing is that it’s completely exclusive to printed paper. You’ll never see a truly “embossed” imprint on a web image—but that makes it difficult when you want to show off your embossed print design on a computer screen.

In the following tutorial, we’ll show you how to use a simple Photoshop technique to create embossed and debossed effects that look so much like the real thing, nobody will be able to tell the difference.

We’ll be applying the embossed and debossed effects to one of our folder mockup templates, but you can use this technique with any design you like.

Creating an Embossed Effect

1. Open your document and create a new layer. Paste the logo, text or artwork that you want to emboss into the document using the ‘paste as pixels’ option.

Creating an Embossed Effect in Photoshop - Step 1A

For this example, we’re using our company logo, but the same technique can be applied to any type of object or text.

Creating an Embossed Effect in Photoshop - Step 1B

Pro tip: Use the CTRL+V shortcut to automatically paste as pixels.

2. Prepare the logo layer by making sure it’s in the right position and that the logo is the right size for the design. Rename the layer to “Logo” so that it’s easily identifiable (if you’re embossing something other than a logo, pick an appropriate name.)

Creating an Embossed Effect in Photoshop - Step 2

3. Double-click on the logo layer to open the “Layer Style” window. Select the “Color Overlay” tab and use the color picker to set the color overlay to the same color as your background. Your logo should seemingly disappear. Don’t worry, it’s still there; just hide your background layer if you need to see it.

Creating an Embossed Effect in Photoshop - Step 3

4. Right-click on the logo layer and select the option “Covert to Smart Object.”

Creating an Embossed Effect in Photoshop - Step 4

5. Double-click the logo layer to bring up the “Layer Style” window once more. From here, select the “Bevel & Emboss” option to begin creating the beveled effect. Change the “Bevel & Emboss” settings so that they match the picture below.

Creating an Embossed Effect in Photoshop - Step 5

6. Without closing the “Layer Style” window, navigate to the “Gradient Overlay” tab and once again change the settings so that they match the diagram below. You will be using a black and white gradient, so remember to open up the gradient editor and set the colors to absolute black (R:0, G: 0, B:0) and white (R:255, G:255, B:255) for the best results.

Creating an Embossed Effect in Photoshop - Step 6

7. Navigate to the “Drop Shadow” tab in the “Layer Style” window and change the settings to match below. Then you can click OK to finalize the changes you’ve made to the layer.

Creating an Embossed Effect in Photoshop - Step 7

8. Create a new layer for the light source and name it “Light.” Select this layer, hold down the CTRL key, and click on the logo layer thumbnail. This will allow you to create a selection on the light layer that is the same shape as the logo layer.

Creating an Embossed Effect in Photoshop - Step 8

9. Select the “Paint Bucket” tool and fill in the light layer with white.

Creating an Embossed Effect in Photoshop - Step 9

Pro tip: Hit the “G” key to quickly bring up the “Paint Bucket” tool.

10. Using the arrow keys on your keyboard, carefully move the selection four pixels to the right and two pixels down. One hit of the key will move the selection by one pixel.

Creating an Embossed Effect in Photoshop - Step 10

11. Click Select > Modify > Feather to bring up the feathering tool. Set the “Feather Radius” to two pixels. Press OK to feather the selection.

Creating an Embossed Effect in Photoshop - Step 11

12. Once the selection has been feathered, hit the “Delete” key on your keyboard to clear away all but a few pixels of the white fill.

Creating an Embossed Effect in Photoshop - Step 12

13. Set the opacity of the light layer to 20%.

Creating an Embossed Effect in Photoshop - Step 13

14. You should now have a realistic looking embossed effect, as shown in the image below. Save your image using CTRL+S.

Creating an Embossed Effect in Photoshop - Step 14

Creating the Debossed Effect

1. Just as in the embossed effect tutorial, you’ll want to paste the object you intend to deboss into a new layer using the “Paste as Pixels” option. Once again, we’re using our logo and folder mockup as an example.

Creating a Debossed Effect in Photoshop - Step 1

2. Set the correct size and position of the object and rename the layer to match. Once again, we’ll be naming our layer “Logo” since that’s what we’re using.

Creating a Debossed Effect in Photoshop - Step 2

3. Double-click on the logo layer to open up the “Layer Style” window and click on the “Color Overlay” tab. Set the color overlay to the same color as the background with the color picker tool. Like before, the logo will seemingly disappear into the background.

Creating a Debossed Effect in Photoshop - Step 3

4. Open the “Bevel & Emboss” tab while still in the “Layer Style” window and change the settings so that they match the diagram below.

Creating a Debossed Effect in Photoshop - Step 4

5. Select the “Inner Shadow” tab in the “Layer Style” window and change the settings to match the diagram below. Click “OK” when you’re done to finalize the changes you’ve made to the layer.

Creating a Debossed Effect in Photoshop - Step 5

6. Your deboss text effect should now look like the example image below. You can now save your completed image using CTRL+S.

Creating a Debossed Effect in Photoshop - Step 6

Conclusion

Not everybody is as creative as you are. Sometimes your clients (and potential clients) need to see exactly what a design will look like on paper. Use these realistic-looking emboss or deboss effects to give them a better understanding of what the final product will look like.

Now that you know how to create embossed and debossed effects for your marketing collateral mockups, we want to see what you can do. Leave us your comments and feel free to submit your designs to the Folder Design Gallery.

Vladimir Gendelman Author: Vladimir Gendelman

As CEO of CompanyFolders.com, Vladimir is a knowledgeable authority in print marketing and graphic design for businesses. He leads a team of talented designers and experts dedicated to helping customers create print collateral that puts forth the best possible impression. You can keep up with Vladimir by connecting with him on Google+ and Twitter.

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