Tuesday, 5 May 2020


One of the things that I miss now that I’m trying to scrap solely in Affinity Photo is the ability to use Photoshop styles. One click and poof, you can accomplish almost anything it seems. So I thought I would spend some time in the AP Layer FX Studio and get more familiar with the tools I do have available so I can make them work for me. Today, we’re going to learn more about Bevel / Emboss.

You access the available layer styles on the right side by clicking “FX”. I’ve gathered up an assortment of flat elements to experiment with and see what can be achieved when looking for added dimension as opposed to strictly a drop shadow.

Having Scale with Object up at the top selected will ensure that any effects you add will change proportionately with the size of the element if you shrink or enlarge it while scrapping.

There are four types of bevel/emboss - inner bevel, outer bevel, emboss and pillow emboss. All of them will add a rounded edge to the element to some degree. The radius determines the extent of the rounding effect and can be linked to the depth of the effect (or unlinked). The soften option affects the look of the shadows and highlights along the edges. Azimuth determines the direction of the light source.

If you click the little arrow, more icon choices will be available. Profile determines how the light is applied around the edges of the element while invert will quickly reverse the light choice made. You use the enable selection to turn these options off and on.

Inner bevel applies the rounded bevel on the inside, outer bevel to the outside and emboss to both the inside and outside of the element. Sometimes a straight comparison is helpful. Here are all four options with the same depth/radius and no other customizations. Obviously, these are pretty harsh.
Let’s go back to inner bevel. Soften does as you might anticipate, softening the harshness of the effect. Changing the azimuth moves the light source thus affecting the darker shadows and elevation changes the edges along the middle parts by adjusting the height of the light source.

Using my alpha example after some adjustments to diminish the harshness, outer bevel acts more like a drop shadow vs adding actual dimension to the letter.

Emboss is starting to look like a chipboard alpha might but some of the shadows are way too harsh. These are the settings I found that were not too harsh, not too soft… just right.

Pillow, this setting is much like emboss but seems a little harsher. Once you tweak the settings, you can achieve a very nice look.

What about the other flat elements? I tried all four of the bevel and emboss settings on each of them and picked out a few of my favorites. Based on the shape and number of inside/outside edges, the choices ended up being different.

Then I went one extra step and added a drop shadow (outer shadow in Affinity Photo) to each element. What a difference from the flat elements at the beginning!

I hope you’ve picked up a little information on the Layer FX Studio that can help in your scrapping. Do you have any other topics in Affinity Photo that you’d like to see me cover in future articles?


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