Take a look at this;
You know it as the area on a MTG card for displaying a creature's power and toughness. I'll refer to it here on as the "P/T box".
What so special about that, you ask? Well, intentional or not, it looks terrible. The pitting you see is the result of either a really clever way to combat counterfeiting, or lazy design. I'll walk you through how WOTC created it, and show you what the community at large uses in it's place.
Step by step, using Photoshop, we will recreate the WOTC asset.
I'll be creating the box using a single method, then showing you 2 ways to apply the bevel and emboss. One will mirror the WOTC product, one will be nice and clean. We begin by creating a vector mask of the shape using the pen tool. One thing you will notice right away are the corners don't line up on the source image.
I filled the vector layer with magenta to see how close we were to the actual shape. Turns out, not very, especially on the right hand side.
Playing with the vector a bit, we get a reasonable facsimile of the WOTC asset. Kinda lopsided, ah well.
Now that we have our shape, we need to apply the B/E layer style. For the WOTC treatment, first I'll make a selection of the vector, turn off anti-aliasing, and copy/paste that to create a new layer. This creates a rather jagged edge vs the vector layer. In layer styles,apply the B/E as such:
We are left with this, gorgeous yeah? #kappa
Remember that lovely shape we had with the vector data? Let's apply the same B/E to that layer and see what happens.
Turns out a whole lot cleaner. Applying the texture we get;
The biggest difference is in the printing process. A postscript printer can print using the clean vector data, and it can be scaled to any size without losing fidelity. The bigger you print a MTG card now, the more obvious the "flaws" are.
Hope you enjoyed the read. As always, you can find me on Twitter @TheProxyGuy