InDesign FX: Simulating carving and chiseling

Published by | Friday, January 27th, 2012

In this week’s free InDesign FX video, I show you how to combine Bevel and Emboss with Inner Shadow to create the illusion of cutting into a surface. (You can often achieve the best results by combining two or more of InDesign’s effects in a strategic manner.)

I start with a simple example, applying both Bevel and Emboss to some text. The bevel simulates the visible edges of the material being cut. The depth of the bevel becomes the thickness of the material. The inner shadow adds to the effect by creating darkened corners inside the letter shapes.

Carving text with InDesign's Bevel tool

Once you get the hang of carving and chiseling, you can take it a step further by overlapping multiple copies of an object to blend different fill colors and effects. In the video I show how you can simulate carving into stained wood by using two copies of an object, both set to the Hard Light blending mode. One copy is filled with gray and has effects applied to it. The other copy has a fill color that simulates unstained wood.

InDesign Chiseling effect

When they’re overlapped you get a nice carved effect.

InDesgin carved effect

I also show how you can add a third ingredient, Directional Feather, to simulate a weathered-stone chiseling effect. By varying the opacity and feathering, you can change the age of your chiseling from recent to ancient with just a few clicks.

InDesign weathered-stone chisel effect

For members, I have another new video this week in the Online Training Library® that discusses a key concept for mastering blending modes and effects, Understanding transparency blend space:

Examples of InDesign's transparecy blend space

See you here again in two weeks with another InDesign effect.

Interested in more?
• The complete InDesign FX course
• All InDesign courses on
• All courses by Mike Rankin on

Suggested courses to watch next:
• InDesign CS5 Essential Training
 InDesign Secrets
• Creating Long Documents with InDesign
InDesign Styles in Depth

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One Response to “InDesign FX: Simulating carving and chiseling”

  1. Video Production says:

    I think simulating a chiseled or carved layer is vital in generating that 3D-look, and really adding some depth to your composition. I particularly like the method you have used here by overlapping layers.

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