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I'm trying to make text look like its sitting on a background, but still have the shadow to denote the bevel of the text.

I can't figure out what to do with the shadow in Photoshop to make it look like this.

I have tried multiple shadows, but all looks like its floating.

enter image description here

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  • Without the shadow the background and the text don't match. It looks artificial. The shadow works somewhat to bridge it, but I need to do it without the floating look.
    – Aasim Azam
    May 30 at 14:56
  • If you posted the image at actual size and without the shadow, you would make it so much easier for people to try an alternate solution. The problem using a drop shadow is that it's just a blurred duplicate of the original shape. The fact that the shadow disappears beneath the top layer makes it look like it's floating. See this. Besides that, it's true what @JeffK posted about shadows on the shape itself.
    – Wolff
    May 30 at 15:30

3 Answers 3

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A drop shadow is never going to convey the type sitting on any surface. Not ever. Drop shadows inherently convey depth of field.

You need more of a cast shadow and Photoshop doesn't have a Layer Style for cast shadows. You have to create them yourself.

In addition, if the "chrome" is sitting on the texture, light would reflect off of the chrome causing the texture to be lit slightly around the characters.

This is just my hobbling something together. But in short 3 separate layers with varying effects and transformations to create some specific elements:

  1. A slight off-center glow around the figure to convey reflective lighting.
  2. A cast shadow to convey depth but not separation.

enter image description here

enter image description here

Note how the cast shadow is not even around the glyph. It's been transformed to be inconsistent and convey lighting direction.

This is rather quick and dirty just breaking apart the png in the question, then masking etc. to get pieces to work with. Then show the overall goal as I see it. This would absolutely need refinement before any production in most instances.


Layer style on the white layer...

The layer itself is set to "Normal" with 100% opacity and 0% fill. The 0% Fill allows the layer styles to show but not the actual pixels on the layer itself.


enter image description here

Bevel and Emboss set to Emboss to add shadows outside the glyph on the textured background.


enter image description here

Inner Shadow is used to add a slight darkening on the glyph itself to further convey a light direction.


enter image description here

Outer Glow is used to add a slight brightening to the area around the glyph. Note the extra Noise added to emphasize the texture.


enter image description here

Although it's a "Drop Shadow it's used to boost the reflective lighting on the texture. This isn't actually used as a "shadow". It's far more of a highlight on the texture.

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One possibility to make it like it's somehow connected to the background surface is to let it be in a dent:

enter image description here

This one is made by making a little larger copy of the background than the letter and darkening and lightening (manually) slices of it.

A part of your mismatch is the different sharpnesses of the letters and the background. As a workaround I built my own BG from embossed noise.

Someone may see the dent above as a bad joke. As an alternate approach I offer a subtle shadow on the letters (not on the BG). As an idea, also it is a dent, but one with vertical edges. It works because my BG is sharp.

enter image description here

The shadow is black inner glow to make it same on all edges.

The dent can be made more subtle by feathering its outer edges. The next version has both the shadow and the feathered dent:

enter image description here

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  • Clever alternative! If it is floating... dig a hole!
    – Rafael
    May 31 at 6:09
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I looked at images of beveled/embossed type with shadows. Keep in mind I'm no expert in cast shadows - but what I noticed is the shadows were extending onto the type. So the shadows didn't start on the type but somewhat cascaded off of the type to also emphasize the height of the bevel.Here's a quick sample of what i tried:

enter image description here

Possibly this might help to reduce the floating effect...

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