View Full Version : Beaten Gold effect in Photoshop

09-02-2009, 04:36 PM
[now with PDF file at the end of the post!]

It has come to my attention that some people occasionally use gold styles for fonts, borders, symbols, compass roses, and other embellishments.

There was a bit of interest in my gold effect for my challenge map, so I figured I could share here so it doesn't get lost in the challenge threads

I've set it up with screenshots to reduce confusion - they are a bit on the large side so you can *read* the numbers and such, and to show off the gold effect itself.

Okay, first thing to do is set up your object(s) that you want the effect applied to. I went through and merged all my text layers (copying and then keeping the originals in case I need to edit later), so I could apply all in one go, you can approach however you like. For purposes of this post, I'm going to borrow a familiar relevant symbol:


I played around with grayscaling it and such, levels, etc to get it where I liked it, but that is beyond the scope of this post. the important thing is that you end up with an object on it's own layer, ready for layer styles. You will need to rasterize your text layers before proceeding (more on this later).

Apply a ripple effect, 50% at medium strength. You can adjust the numbers to suit your taste but that's what I found worked best in my opinion. You should now have something like this:

Excellent, now the easy part is over, it's time to apply the layer effects - there are a fair number of them.

Going from top down:

Bevel and Emboss -- this one is the main part of the process, and it will see a lot of action, we will use the secondary effects as well:
Now the thing about the texture is that when it comes down to it, you can really use any texture you like for this. Mine is a rock texture that I typically use for mountain layers in the satellite style maps. Depending on the texture you end up using, you may end up adjusting the numbers a bit to get results that work for you.

Whew. Now the hard part is over, let's tweak it a bit more, it's kind of silvery right now (which is cool with it's own effect too, but I do recommend adding the rest of the effects anyway, just modify the colours needed for your metal style as you see fit)

Satin! What use is it? Most of the time it's not useful at all, but it can provide very nice effects with a bit of experimenting (that's one of the ways I get my leather to look so nifty)
You can tweak these settings around a bit, but unless you're working with large surfaces, it will be difficult to get results you may like. Anyhow:
Turn it off and back on a few times to compare, and you should see why I tend to add it to a lot of my metallics and other glossy and semigloss materials.

Moving along, a simple colour overlay! Anything vaguely yellowish will do, try not to get too orange, but erring on the side of green just a tad won't hurt you.

Next, the gradient. this can take a bit of effort if you don't already have your own decent gold gradients already. It's not too hard though, just pick a few light tan and whitish yellows, throw them approximately in the pattern you see above, and you're good to go. There are thousands of gold gradients out there, some of them very different than others - don't be afraid to experiment or make your own. You will notice I have it set to Reflected on this example - feel free to play with that setting for your own best results.

And finally, the Stroke. You don't always need it, and you can use alternatives like outer glow or strengthening the shadow. In this example I chose to use it to help the rose stand out against the leather, since it's got a fair amount of lighter shades.

And there you have it!

Final results added as an attachment to overcome the images per post limitation...

As an additional bonus, I'm including the style file for photoshop users (http://home.cogeco.ca/~coyote/gold/beaten%20gold.asl).. I'm in CS3, so I don't know if it will load in previous versions, but it may be worth a try. Worst case, just rebuild it using the instructions above

I will follow this post with a few more detailed observations for working with fonts.

09-02-2009, 04:46 PM
I did mention it is usually best to rasterize your font before applying the layer style - in most cases this is a good idea.

Here's a side by side comparison of the Medieval font, the first is straight up font, the second has been rasterized and rippled:


If the first one suits your purposes, excellent! It's a nice effect as is, and subtle, but working at smaller sizes it could get lost. Experiment as you see fit.

An additional note, some fonts do not require the rippling anyhow. A lot of the grunge style fonts already have the rough edges we're after, so you can just work with them as is - for example, this font is called Webster:


Steel General
09-02-2009, 06:45 PM
Very nice CM, you should compile it into a .pdf and attach it to the first post.

Just out of curiousity doesn't the color and gradient overlays either (1) 'cancel' each other out or (2) one supercede the other?

09-02-2009, 07:18 PM
Nope, the colour is at 80%, it's a noticeable difference.

I have no idea how to make a pdf.. :(

09-02-2009, 08:56 PM
Just download CutePDF or a similar program. It allows you to print to a PDF. So for example, after installing, when you are in photoshop and press file -> print, one of the printers will be CutePDF.

09-02-2009, 09:17 PM
Nifty, I'll take a look for that in a bit, thanks.

09-02-2009, 11:42 PM
Excellent, that was incredibly painless!
yet another thing I've learned today :) thanks Avulsion.

09-03-2009, 08:22 AM
As an alternative to rasterizing the text, if you're using Photoshop CS2 or newer, you could always put all the text into a folder and convert said folder to a smart object. Then your text is still editable as text layers, but you can apply filters and such just like it's a regular layer (and in some cases more dynamically than a regular layer, if you have access to CS3/CS4's Smart Filters). Very spiffy stuff.


09-03-2009, 12:06 PM
That's something I haven't worked with yet.. Just started with CS3 a month or so ago. Feel free to add in specific steps!

I probably should look in to this smart object thing...

09-03-2009, 11:33 PM
This is the tutorial that first showed me Smart Layers in action and gave me the impetus to find a copy of CS3.


09-04-2009, 02:13 AM
oh nice! i'll definitely check that out, thanks!

12-29-2009, 10:15 PM
OMG this is so helpfull and I had no clue you could do this. Not sure I can do this as I'm on an older PS but its a CS (might be 2 though :( ).

Rep needed indeed.

12-30-2009, 09:50 AM
As written, it should work in ps7, so you should be good to go :)
if you have access to smart layers/filters, you can use that instead of rendering the text, but hey, keep a backup of the text layer(s) and you'll be fine.

01-01-2010, 11:58 PM
Just tried this out for the first time today, and it looks awesome. Thanks, Coyotemax!