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The Perfect Channel



Let’s take a deeper look into another complicated element of our advertisement, the wood grain on the word ‘channel’.

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Download wood texture image from stock photo website

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Begin this process in Adobe Illustrator. Create a new document at 6 inches by 1.25 inches. Select the text tool and type out your text. The typeface we chose to use was Arvo Bold by Anton Koovit which is available for free download at



After typing out your text, navigate to the Object dropdown menu from the top menu bar and select Expand to create shapes out of your text.


After Expanding the text, move on to the 3D extrusion effect of the text. Go to the Effects – 3D -Extrude and Bevel. These settings can vary depending the look you want for your type treatment. Our example is below:




For this treatment, we selected a 5° rotation to the left with a 50 pt extrusion depth. The lighting effects here are insignificant for what we are trying to do so the default settings can be left as is. For this typeface make sure to drop the Blend Steps to 2 and Shading Color can remain black.

Next, copy your edited text, set it aside, and hide the layer. This is just a safety precaution in case you need to make any edits to your text such as a typeface change, 3D extrusion settings, etc…





After setting aside the copied layer, select the edited text layer and head up to the top menu, select Object  – Expand Appearance. Select your expanded text and go back to Object – Ungroup. Depending on the amount of characters in your text, you may have to do this multiple times. You want each letter to be independent objects. Once everything is ungrouped, select the extruded text and regroup with the keyboard short-cut Command + G (Mac)  or Ctrl +G (Windows). Follow the same steps for the extruded text shapes resulting in two separate groups.

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For the rest of this project we’ll be working in Photoshop.  Let’s head there now.




Create a new file with a width of 8.5” by a height of 2” and resolution at 300 Pixels/Inch. Head back to your Illustrator file and copy (Command + C or Ctrl + C) your two text shapes groups separately, then paste (Paste Keyboard Short-Cut: Command V) them as a Smart Object into your new Photoshop file.



../Screen%20Shot%202017-10-23%20at%2010.49.38%20AM.pngOnce the font image and bevel of text are placed, align the two together–placing your first wood texture directly over the front text layer.

../Screen%20Shot%202017-10-23%20at%2011.29.27%20AM.pngWood texture over the front text layer.


Head to the top menu bar and select Layers – Create Clipping Mask. Using this setting, the wood texture will only be visible as the letters.




Place your second wood texture directly above beveled text layer. Repeat Create Layer Mask with new image selected. Rotate or scale wood texture if needed for desired look and feel.


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To further the realistic look of the type treatment select Bevel & Emboss. Depending on the original wood texture image chosen, you may need to make minor adjustments to the Brightness/Contrast to get a realistic or the desired stylistic look. See ours below:




Select Inner Bevel for the Style and Chisel Hard for the Technique. Feel free to experiment with these settings. The colors for the Highlight Mode and Shadow Mode can slightly vary as well. Use your best judgment on what looks the most realistic.


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Taking the realism a step further, select the Add Vector Mask option in the bottom of your layers panel.  With this option applied and selected, you are now able to hide or mask any part of the layer when painted over with black. To unmask what you hid just select white and re-paint over the masked area. The purpose of this effect is to erase content without permanently destroying the it.






Using paint brush tool, paint in cracks and subtly round corners giving the type a realistic distressed wood look. See our A:




Once you feel comfortable with the distressed look select both text layers along with both wood texture images in the layer panel and hit Command + G (Mac) or Ctrl + G (PC) to group your items together. Create a rectangle of any color of your choice and place over a portion of you type. The color we used was C0, M100, Y0, K0.  Select your colored rectangle making sure that the rectangle layer is directly above your grouped layer. Create a clipping mask


../Screen%20Shot%202017-10-23%20at%201.22.37%20PM.png ../Screen%20Shot%202017-10-23%20at%2011.33.05%20AM.png ../Screen%20Shot%202017-10-23%20at%201.24.13%20PM.png

To allow the wood texture to show through and to create faded paint look select fx in the bottom of the layers panel and select the Blending Options…effect.




In the Blending Options menu hold Option (Mac) or Alt (PC) and click on the arrows on each side of the This Layer slider and Underlying Layer. The position on the slide is entirely dependent on the wood texture image chosen. Move the inner sliders toward the center, just enough to allow the shadows and highlights to show through the colored rectangle.




../Screen%20Shot%202017-10-23%20at%201.20.32%20PM.png ../Screen%20Shot%202017-10-23%20at%201.30.15%20PM.png


../Screen%20Shot%202017-10-23%20at%201.27.52%20PM.png ../Screen%20Shot%202017-10-23%20at%201.20.04%20PM.png ../Screen%20Shot%202017-10-23%20at%201.28.04%20PM.png


Now, add a Vector Mask to your colored rectangle and, with the black swatch selected, drop the opacity of your brush to between 40-60% and the flow to 80%. Begin painting in the area that has the most distressed or worn look to mask some of the color allowing the wood to show through. This is a tedious process but the more detail added the more realistic the text effect will appear.
With a little patience, your final result should resemble the image below! Thanks for reading and happy wood graining!


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