I want to make more realistic looking rotary engraved design mockups on a copper surface for clients but can't seem to get it quite right. I might need a new approach and could definitely use some perspective.

Details: I produce mockups/new designs within my engraving software, and export them as a PDF which can then be placed within photoshop over an image of the copper item I'm going to engrave. While it gives a good representation of what the design looks like, it doesn't convey what it will look like when finally engraved onto the material.

Basically, I'm trying to get the design on the second image, looking far more like the design in the first image.

Any help would be much appreciated! Example images are below showing, A photo of a finished engraving, the image I use in photoshop:

Line art to be used within photoshop

The blank item

  • Could you provide a section of the line art as it comes from your software? It is hard to explore the possibilities with these images. – user45605 Jan 14 '16 at 20:38
  • I have uploaded a section of line art here puu.sh/mvQZH/37716b53f8.jpg . Thank you. – Billy Jan 14 '16 at 21:48

You are pretty close with the bevel options but there are a couple of things I would change

The main difference is using an Inner Bevel and changing the highlight color. I went with a more subtle highlight color that is not as jarring. I also changed the shadow to a dark brown as that would most likely be around the color.

bevel options

I think you can get better results but this is working with a jpg image instead of a vector file.


Etching Result

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  • Don't forget to add the (mirrored) line art to the reflection as well! In some cases, like this one, it could be visible. – oelna Apr 15 '18 at 11:39

I suggest the following:

  1. Take the line art and invert it, with white lines on black
  2. Make sure that black is truly black and white is truly white using Curves on this layer, no grays will help
  3. On the channels panel Ctrl-Click on the RGB channel to load the luminosity as selection
  4. Add a blank layer and while the selection is active fill it with whit
  5. Change the blend mode to "Screen", now you have white lines on copper plate below
  6. Then try the special effects, Emboss, even drop shadow

Starting with black lines will not produce engraving illusion since the engraved area will reflect the light appearing brighter than the surface. You may even duplicate the new layer with white lines on it and invert it to make a layer with black lines and then slightly shifting its position by a pixel or two to create dark edges. Of course you need to change the blend mode of this layer from screen to darken and place it below the first layer you created.


I am adding an image and a link, the image shows the effect I envision and it is a little over the top just to show the result. There is also a link to a PSD file with the layers and effects applied to them.

The PSD file: https://copy.com/twvlX9ty8Qzx8Nqa

enter image description here

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I think the first approach to try is using the "Bevel & Emboss" feature in the Layer Styles window. Open this dialog window by double clicking on the layer you want (if you open a PDF in Photoshop, the only layer will be "Background", in which case you'll have to double-click on it once to unlock that layer, then again to open the Layer Styles dialog box).

There are many variables in the Bevel & Emboss section that will achieve the look you're seeking, but I don't know how well it will work on some of the very fine linework you have in your design.

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  • Thank you for your reply! puu.sh/mvCKI/f59e14fc86.jpg It is certainly a move in the right direction as you can see, however as you pointed out, I feel where I'm having issues is with the fine linework. Also, the design itself remains essentially a black outline, rather than detail catching light. – Billy Jan 14 '16 at 18:31

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