I am trying to make a reflection on the outer rim of letters, as if they were embossed in the paper they're printed on, or written with paint/glossy ink.
Such as this: Credit Alex Trochut
Goal: (answer to @LukeD's comment): The goal is to give a volume effect to a design (previously made in Illustrator for example, or based on glyphs from a font) to "flesh it out" with its reflections.
I usually start from a .svg, which gives problematic topology when converted to mesh... So beveling doesn't work, neither does subsurf.
Also, beveling isn't what I want, because the whole surface of the paint is round, not just the edges.
Maybe there's a way to fill a .svg path with a metaball-type mesh? Or a way to "inflate" it? (I think in 3ds Max there is a thing called "push" that is similar, but I couldn't find an equivalent for blender). Ideally, one way to do it would be to be able to "inset" the upper faces; shrink or extrude it towards the offset "middle" of the shape as illustrator does:
Here is what I have tried so far:
Subdivision, then displacement modifier from the black and white flattened image (edgy reflection):
Subdivision, then displacement modifier then Corrective Smooth modifier (not too bad, but over 1M faces for just 1 letter):
Using a svg curve (inner) instead of outside path then extruding/depth (ok result, but I am trying to get this result from a svg path of the outside of the letter):
Using an offset path made in Illustrator and connecting the inside and the outside curves into one mesh, then subsurf (only possible for simple shapes):
Fluid simulation with extruded edge of the svg path as collision object and a plane beneath as second collision object (ok result, the best so far depending on resolution):
Things I haven't yet tried (still experimenting): shrinkwrap, cast modifier (would that work, if a shape other than sphere or cuboid was applied?), applying different effects to outside edges.