Beyond bevel

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Beyond bevel

Published by on February 21st 2011.

I spent a good deal of time improving the bevel effect this month. I think you will like the new bevel in future versions of RealWorld tools.

What has changed?

Many things.

Improved accuracy

One of the problems of the old bevel was the need to use the Blur parameter to get smooth results. The height-determining algorithm of the updated bevel filter is more accurate and much lower values of Blur are needed to get a good looking result.

rsrc/bevel-B-accurate.png image
Improved accuracy (Amount=8, Blur=0).
rsrc/bevel-B-old.png image
Old bevel with the same settings.

New lighting equations

While the older bevel simply added or subtracted numbers from the RGB values of the pixels, the new bevel offers another alternative. It can do a "true" lighting with diffuse and specular components. Hue and intensity of the specular reflection are configurable.

More shapes for the beveled edges

The old bevel always pretended the edge is cut under a 45 degrees angle. The new bevel allows angles from 20 to 70 degrees for various bevel intensity. It also allows you to create rounded edges and a special ridged edge. Strictly speaking, this is not a true bevel effect, but it looks nice, so who cares.

rsrc/bevel-B-round.png image
Rounded edge, using new lighting
with specular highlights.
rsrc/bevel-B-ridge.png image
Edge with a ridge effect.
(Same lighting.)

Little bonuses

There are now 2 numbers under the light direction control - exactly duplicating older settings will be possible now (if you write down the numbers).

There is a new option called "Sunken shape" that will make the resulting image look as if it were sunken. Just try it.

rsrc/bevel-effect-config.png image
User interface of the new Bevel effect.

Beyond bevel

As explained on the bevel effect page, crucial part of the bevel algorithm is determining the normal map of the artificial 3D shape to be able to compute lighting. The normal map is a useful thing that can be used elsewhere.

Hence, it is possible (using scripting) to instruct the new bevel filter to output the normal map instead of the actual beveled image. This normal map can be then used for example with the displace effect or with the upcoming environment reflection effect.

rsrc/bevel-B-reflection.png image
The beveled shape is reflecting the environment.

When is it going to be available?

Soon. It will appear in all RealWorld tools released this year. Starting with RealWorld Photos.

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Recent comments

user icon Erik registered user on February 22nd 2011

Very nice update, thanks. Is there a possiblity to make a plugin for Icon Editor 2010?

user icon pumpkin3at3r registered user on February 22nd 2011

Can't wait for the update!

user icon JDDellGuy contributing user on February 23rd 2011

This is exactly what I have been waiting for the bevel to be able to do. One thing that may be able to added in future versions perhaps. Choose how many beveled sides there are. For example, in a ring- there are three bevelled sides. The top face, the outer edge, and the inner edge. Perhaps you could choose the number of faces. So you could have a bevel like my Metal Icons for example. Just two edges, no top face. Or you could add more edges and get a rounder appearance.

user icon Anonymous
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Vista & Win 7 icons
What about ICL files?
I wish there were...