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CREATING RECESSED TEXT
written for Painter 6 and 7
(translations in parentheses for Painter 5 and 5.5)

written by Jinny Brown
© 1994 - 2002
.

RECESSED TEXT VERSION 2
Here, the drop shadow is not so wide and that helps make the text look more like it's cut into the stone surface. It seems that the highlight doesn't fall into position evenly across the letters. It's almost unnoticeable on the "R" and becomes increasingly more visible (or wider) across the rest of the letters, being almost too wide on the "K". Since this highlight was created from a duplicate of the drop shadow, and that was created from the cutout in the stone surface, it's hard to think why it would not fit evenly across the lettering. 

There are moments when my eye sees this image as embossed text and moments when it looks recessed. I think this is because we can either think of the light coming from the upper left (result is a recessed look), or coming from the lower right (result is an embossed look). Optical illusions, preconceived notions, and the artist's failure to make the image completely convincing seem all to be a factor. I hope to learn, or discover, ways to make these kinds of text effects completely convincing with enough extra details added to keep the eye and mind of the viewer believing they see what I intended. 

Interesting note: When I move my head to the left of the image, it's easier to believe the text is recessed. When I move it to the right, it suddenly appears to be embossed. However, the illusion isn't repeatable at will an may depend on the time of day and room light conditions.


Below is a tutorial written for Painter 6 and Painter 7 (translations in parentheses for Painter 5 and 5.5):

NOTE: There are a lot of steps in this tutorial and you'll probably try things and undo them a few times before deciding on which looks best. A few things will help:

  • Immediately after opening the Canvas, save the file as a RIFF.
  • Save the file often to avoid losing any work and always save in the RIFF format. This is a working file with several Layers and you'll need to keep it in Painter's native format to be able to work on it again.
  • Set your Undo number higher in order to allow for many changes of mind. To do this, go to the Edit menu, choose Preferences, then Undo and type in a number up to the maximum of 32. Depending on your system resources, this may be too high as each Undo uses memory so the previous version can be restored later.

  • If you've set your Undo number too high and Painter slows down, save the file and close it, then lower your Undo number, close Painter, reopen Painter, open your RIFF file and continue working.
  • Again, save often and have a good time! 
1.Open a new Canvas of an appropriate size for your text and use a resolution of 72 pixels per inch for the Web  - or - 300 pixels per inch for print. (If you intend to use the image later for print, begin with 300 pixels per inch and later save the file as a JPG at a lower resolution for the Web.) 

2.In the Art Materials palette, Colors section, choose a light grey-brown.

3.In the Effects menu, choose Fill, Using: Current Color.

4.In the Art Materials palette, Papers section, choose a Paper texture.

5. In the Effects menu, choose  Surface Control, then Add Surface Texture, Using: Paper. Move the sliders and adjust the other settings to get the look you want.

6. In the Select menu, choose All and click the Canvas with the Layer Adjuster tool to lift the Canvas to a Layer (double click the new Layer and name it Surface).

7.On the Surface Layer, click the Text tool and type some text, then click the Layer Adjuster tool.

8.In the Shapes menu, choose Convert to Selection

9.In the Select menu, choose Save Selection.

NOTE:The first saved selection is named New Mask 1, the second New Mask 2, etc. If you want to give them new names, in the Objects palette, Masks section, for instance, double-click New Mask 1 and type a new name.

10.In the Art Materials palette, Colors section, choose a darker grey-brown.

11.In the Objects palette, Layers section, click the Surface Layer.

12.In the Select menu, choose Load Selection and choose New Mask 1 from the drop down list.

13.In the Effects menu, choose Fill, Using: Current Color.

14. In the Art Materials palette, Papers section, choose a different Paper texture, one that will contrast with that of the Surface Layer (visually, the surface into which the text will be recessed).

15. In the Effects menu, choose  Surface Control, then Add Surface Texture, Using: Paper. Move the sliders and adjust the other settings to get the look you want. 

16. Click the Layer Adjuster tool, then click the text to lift it to a Layer. The new text Layer is a Sub-Layer of the Surface Layer because it was created on the Surface Layer. Its name is Layer Floating Object.

17. In the Objects palette, Layers list, click and drag Layer Floating Object from below the Surface Layer to the top of the Layers list., then double-click Layer Floating Object and name it Text.

NOTE: Lifting the text to the Text Layer has cut a text shaped hole in the Surface Layer.

18. Click the Surface Layer and in the Effects menu, choose Objects, Create Drop Shadow and use the following settings:

  • X-Offset: 2
  • Y-Offset: 2
  • Opacity: 63%
  • Radius: 2
  • Angle: 114.6 °
  • Thinness: 45%.
19. Click the small triangle to the left of the Layers Group named Surface and Shadow to expand the Layers Group

20. Click the Shadow Layer, then Alt-Click in the image to duplicate the Shadow Layer

21. Double-click the bottom Shadow Layer and rename it Highlight

22. In the Select menu, choose Auto Select, Using: Image Luminance

23. Choose a lighter grey-brown than that of the Surface Layer and Fill the Highlight Layer

24. Using the arrow keys, move (nudge) the Highlight Layer up and to the left to create a small highlight along the lower and right inner edges of the Surface Layer's text cutout. 

25. If you need to adjust the Highlight Layer's darkness or lightness, in the Effects menu, choose Tonal Control, Adjust Colors and move the Value slider. Do the same with the Shadow Layer, Surface Layer and Text Layer if it helps to make the image more convincing.

NOTE: Similar adjustments can be made to these Layers by another method. For instance, click the Text Layer and in the Effects menu, choose Tonal Control, Brightness/Contrast then darken the text to make it appear more recessed. Adjust the Surface Layer as well, using Brightness/Contrast, until the recessed text image is believable. Or, you might find that the Shadow Layer looks better in the overall image if it's not so dark. 

26. Save the file as a RIFF so you'll have the option to continue making adjustments later. 
 

Jinny Brown, October 24, 2000
last modified October 13, 2002

All screen prints on PixelAlley pages are used with permission from Corel Corporation.

© 1994 - 2002, Jinny Brown
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