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I am trying to replicate the gold bevel effect used on Jay-Z's "Watch the Throne" album (see pic) in Photoshop. Any ideas?

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2 Answers

I was suprised, but after a close look, I think this has been produced in Photoshop, by just taking the original version of the artwork, deriving a mono image representing the foreground layer only, and then applying an Bevel/Emboss filter, Innver Bevel style, Chisel Soft technique.

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You need to use a complex "metallic" gradient - a lot more variation between light and dark than Photoshop's built-in library swatches, and I think the Gloss Contour settings would need a bit of work to get it looking this shiny.

Then I think it's had a very shallow Emboss filter applied to the flat background and a gradient map over the top of both.

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It looks like that was rendered in a 3D app using a decent gold material, possibly even with a reflection map. You could do something similar using Bryce (which is actually free right now).

Bryce Pro

In Photoshop, you can get some similar results by creating a height map (AKA elevation map or bump map). Here's something really simple created using Filter > Render > Clouds and Difference Clouds.

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You'll want yours to match the artwork you're trying to create. White indicates taller areas. Black indicates lower areas. Save your height map as a channel.

Then create a new layer, fill it with a gold colour and choose Filter > Render > Lighting Effects. Choose your channel as the height map and adjust the height to suit. Play with the lighting until you're happy.

This isn't editable once it's been applied, but you can save your settings and apply them again later.

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If you want a bit more control over the colour, you could use a Gradient Map (because they're awesome and everyone should be using them, all the time).

enter image description here

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