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What is the Photoshop Beveling Tool?

Within Adobe Photoshop's Layer Styles, there's a huge variety of effects that can make your designs glow, give them shadows, and much more. In this complex window, there's also a section called "Bevel and Emboss", which can make images pop out like a 3D object, with or without beveled angles. Originally used in carpentry and stonework, a bevel is the term for the slanting edge that stylises a design. It's possible to bevel a border, text, logos, and virtually anything else. Below, we've outlined how Photoshop's beveling tool functions, as well as the essential steps to create a realistic bevel effect in your projects.

Where can I find the beveling tool? 

To access the Layer Styles window, just double-click on the layer that you wish to edit. On the left side of the window, you'll see a "Styles" column, with different tabs that correspond to each effect. We're mostly going to use the "Bevel and Emboss" tab, so click on the box to enable it. Now, you'll see a huge list of options, which help to specify the kind of bevel you need. 

How do the Bevel and Emboss options work?

  • Style: Set where the bevel appears, as well as the bevel type. You can place the bevel on the outside (Outer Bevel), inside (Inner Bevel), or both (Emboss).
  • Technique: Choose what the bevel's edge looks like. You can select a rounded edge (Smooth), a sharply chiseled edge (Chisel Hard), or a softer one (Chisel Soft).  
  • Depth: Controls the visible depth of your bevel or emboss effect. With a higher Depth, the 3D effect will look more extreme. 
  • Direction: Choose "Up" to have your bevel pop out of the page, and choose "Down" to have it press into the page.
  • Size: Select how large you want the bevel effect to be, in terms of pixels. 
  • Soften: Round off the edges of your bevel. A large value will create a squishier, more natural effect.   
  • Angle / Altitude: Choose how you want the simulated light to fall on your object. Angle corresponds to the light's horizontal position, while Altitude sets the vertical. You can also use the crosshair icon to select a position visually, without knowing the number values. We recommend checking "Use Global Light" if you want to sync all of your light settings.   
  • Gloss Contour: Gives your beveled object a reflective, metallic quality. By default, the contour is linear, but you can change it to achieve shinier results.
  • Highlight Mode / Opacity: Select the quality, color, and intensity of your highlights.
  • Shadow Mode / Opacity: Select the quality, color, and intensity of your shadows.
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