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Copyright © 2001, David Mutch & Visionary Voyager Corp. P/L

This method utilises Photo-Paint's Lock Transparency function, or masks to create text or object with soft emboss highlights and shadows.

To learn more about Lock Transparency (what is it?) click here.


1. Create a new image.
Click the New Image icon on the Toolbar .

The Create a New Image dialogue opens.
The size and background colour will depend on the object/s you wish to apply the effect to. For this tutorial, the new image details were: 200x200 pixels, 72 dpi, background colour 30% black.


TIP: The units of measurement a new image uses for both size information and for rulers is image-specific and can be different from the default units of measurement chosen as Photo-Paint's workspace default setting.

The Units of Measurement for each new image can be changed in the Units of Measurement drop-down list in the ‘Create a New Image' dialogue box. If you have several images open simultaneously, each one can use different units and display different rulers. The workspace DEFAULT units are set under Tools > Options > General.



2. Change the Paint colour to cyan.
Left-click on the cyan colour swatch on the default palette.
The Paint colour swatch on the RHS of the status bar changes to reflect your choice.

If the colour palette is not present in the Workspace, open it using Window > Color Palettes > Default RGB Palette.

TIP: Remember: When using the Colour Palette, left-click changes the PAINT colour, right-click changes the Uniform Fill colour and CTRL+left-click changes the PAPER colour.


3. Create a letter ‘A' object.
Click on the Text Tool in the Toolbox and create a letter ‘A', size 240, with a thick font - I used Boink LET.
Click back on the Object Picker Tool to render the text.


4. Align the ‘A' object to the centre of the image.
From the menu choose Object > Arrange > Align and Distribute. Choose ‘To Center of Document' then press OK. The Character is now centred to the image.


5. Apply the Emboss Effect (Effects > 3D Effects > Emboss).
Use the following settings:

  • Depth=5,
  • Level=152,
  • Direction=135,
  • Emboss Color=Original Color.

Press OK.

6A. (Lock Transparency method).

To learn mode about Lock Transparency (What is it?) click here.

Ensure that the ‘A' object is still selected.

Press the Lock Transparency button.

  • In PP 9 and 10 this button is located on the bottom of the Objects Docker and also on the Mask/Object Toolbar.

    The Mask/Object Toolbar

  • In PP8 it is a checkbox on the top of the Objects Docker and also as a button on the Mask/Object Toolbar.




6B. (Mask method).
Create a mask from the ‘A' Object. ( Mask > Create from Object/s, CTRL+M, or click the icon in the Mask/Object Toolbar.

If the mask marquee is visible ( Mask > Marquee Visible, CTRL+H, or ) you will see a moving dotted line surrounding the ‘A' object. The visible mask marquee is sometimes described 'marching ants" !


Both methods continued...



7. Apply a Gaussian blur ( Effects > Blur > Gaussian Blur ).

Set the radius to 2 pixels then click OK

The image opposite shows the difference between simply blurring the object without constraints and the effect obtained when the limit of the blur is constrained using either a mask or the Lock Transparency function.


If you like, you can enhance the effect even further through lightening the highlight more ( Image > Adjust > Brightness-Contrast-Intensity (B = 0, C = 5 to 8, I = 5 to 8),

and add a light drop shadow in the same direction as the shaded area of the object.


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Copyright © 2001, David Mutch & Visionary Voyager Corp. P/L