Text Carving on Wood

Dino Angelov writes about all things design and is the owner of a Free PSDs search engine.

Have a look at what's required for a realistic carving in wood, how to choose the font, and how to properly adjust the simple layer style in order to achieve a more believable result.

As you'll see, getting text carved into wood involves very few steps and is actually quite simple. There are a few things to keep in mind though and we'll explain all of them here.

If you already have a picture of a cut tree, perfect, if not, just head over to http://www.sxc.hu/. I searched for "Cut Tree" and this is the picture I decided to use, since it's fairly simple and suitable for manipulation.

So, let's place the text we want over the picture. Place it somewhat centered in the cut part, or feel free to experiment with different positions.

The first thing you'll notice is that we used a handwriting font to place the text. Handwriting fonts work best in these situations since they more likely match a real-world carving. Thick handwriting fonts will also not work, since they'd require a lot more work to properly shade and tone the middle part - so we've used a thin one. The font you see above is called Note This and you can download it for free from DaFont.com.

Once you've found something you like and works in your situation, let's open up the text layer's blending options.

The first thing we'll do, is add a color overlay. We could use black, but I found that a red-ish color works best in this situation - #662111.

Since this is carved in, we need to find a way to get the bottom wood textures appearing through the wood. So, let's reduce opacity to 83% and moreso, change the layer blending mode to Multiply.

Far better. We still need to add some shadows and light to make it more realistic. To do that, we need to find the direction from which the light comes.

So the light comes from the north-east, and we'll be using that to add our shadows and lights to the carved text.

First, we'll add the highlights. To do so, I'm actually going to use the Drop Shadow option. Set the color to white, Blend Mode to Linear Dodge (Add), and reduce the opacity to 34%. Set distance to 1px, and size to 0px. Keeping in mind the light source above, I've set the angle to 63 degrees. Make sure the angel is set to Use Global Light, since that's going to make it default for the shadow we'll be adding as well.

The last step is adding the shadow inside. Go to Inner Shadow, set distance to 1px, size to 0px. 100%, black, blending mode is Multiply.

And there we go, the text is carved in the wood. Depending on the size of your original image, you may need to adjust the values. For example, on the originally sized image I had set 2px shadow size and 4px distance, but working with smaller images requires adjustments (and vice-versa).

That about wraps it up - what are you going to be carving? Any suggestions or comments? Let us know below.