I would love if someone could help me make this look better since I can't add a gradient due to it being part of the entire letter and to add a gradient would mean changing everything. I have tried mixing certain grays with dark grays and that doesn't work out well, I am trying to make a gothic style type colored arch.
As commented by others , the wanted result needs some guessing. But that's not especially uncommon. My guess is this:
Of course there's the unwanted gradient, but making it is easy. It started by making a selection of the letter shape and filling it with your average color. Actually the shape was selected, copied and pasted in place to another layer and filter Blur > Average was applied:
You need the selection many times. You can get it back by clicking the layer icon and holding Ctrl at the same time.
Insert a new layer and paint into the selection white with a big soft low opacity brush to get coarse shading - do not worry if it's a little clunky like this:
Keep the selection ON and smooth the painting by inserting filter Gaussian Blur. Do not worry if the contrast decreases:
Insert adjustment layer Curves to fix the contrast. It gets automatically the right layer mask if the selection is still ON.
No adjustment layer is needed if you start by making the selected area darker and paint the shading with a light version of the fill color before smoothing.
Painting the white can be avoided if you insert a shading making layer style directly to the extracted shape layer. Layer styles to try:
- Inner Shadow
- Inner Glow
- Drop shadow (to make a shadow on the background if the light direction is a bit sideways
The next example has Inner Shadow. It darkens the edges and the original color was quite dark. It is compensated by tweaking the adjustment layer, but it's best to have lighter fill color
Painting gives more control than effects.