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Tip #1821: Refraction Improves on Bump Maps

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

The Refraction filter provides more control and better results than a Bump map.

Top to bottom: Source text, source texture, Refraction filter applied, Stencil Alpha blend mode added.

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Bump maps add texture to text or an image based upon grayscale values in a source texture. While Distortion > Bump Map is one way to achieve this (see Tip #1820), the Distortion > Refraction filter offers more control in the settings and, to my eye, a smoother result.

To apply it:

  • Create some text
  • Import a texture image, something with variations in grayscale
  • Select the text and apply Distortion > Refraction
  • Drag the icon for the texture image into the image well in Inspector > Filters
  • Uncheck the texture image in the Layers panel to make it invisible.
  • Adjust the filter settings in Inspector > Filters

For added impact, select the text element in the Layers panel and apply Inspector > Properties > Blend Mode > Stencil Alpha.

Adjust the settings for the Refraction filter – there are more options here than with the Bump

EXTRA CREDIT

The screen shot illustrates this process. From the top down:

  • Source image
  • Source text image
  • Refraction filter applied
  • Refraction filter and Stencil Alpha blend mode applied.

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