I have been trying to achieve a text effect similar to this "Hobbit-Inspired" text enter image description here

but I keep getting this strange faceting that I can't seem to get rid of. I'm fairly new to InDesign (CS5) and am not sure how to modify settings to fix this. Initially I thought it was just how the preview in the document looked, but it looked like this when I did a test print as well.

Here are my settings and a piece of what the faceting looks like: Faceted Bevel Emboss

  • This is not something I'd do in Indesign. But have you tried using the "Smooth" Setting or "Chisel Hard" for the Technique? Or increasing the "Soften" value? Chisel hard seems like it would work. – Scott Apr 16 '14 at 21:01
  • Hi there, and welcome to GD! As Scott points out, this is really not a job for InDesign. Do you have other tools available, such as Illustrator or Inkscape? – benteh Apr 17 '14 at 0:20
  • I had a feeling that was the case, I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing anything. The only problem I was having when I created something like this in Illustrator was that, when I import into InDesign, every tonal value generated its own swatch. Is there any way around that seeing that it is just a gradient? – Sg1456 Apr 17 '14 at 13:37

InDesign and Photoshop share the same Bevel and Emboss code, and that faceting you're seeing is just part of what happens with the Chisel bevels (hard or soft) in either program. Bevel is an algorithm, and it imposes a not-always-natural-looking pattern to the "chisel marks," although Hard Chisel produces much less pronounced artifacts than Soft.

To get the effect you're looking for, though, requires more than InDesign can do, so the answer is to use Photoshop.

Apply the bevel in Photoshop, add a layer mask, then use an irregular brush to mask out small areas of the letters, which will appear as "dents" in the letters. Add some dodge and burn or painted overlay to get the shading right.

Even in your Hobbit-inspired example, which was created in Photoshop in just this way, you can see those regular soft chisel marks in the bevel. It's less obvious because it's not being applied to pristine Trajan as you're doing in InDesign.

Applying these kinds of effects in InDesign directly is a fantastic way to add Photoshop effects while still working with InDesign's typographic engine. In most cases it saves time and you get all the advantages of both programs. But there are effects and nuances that still require full Photoshop rather than the "Lite" (or "headless," as John Nack called it) version that was originally built into InDesign CS4.

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