I'm working on this effect where I have a comp sized paper texture background and I want a bulge to appear in the middle that is in the shape of some text. The idea is that the text is coming from a branding iron that is poking from the back of the paper.
I'd lake to make this effect behave as realistically as possible to a bulge in tightly pulled paper. For instance, I don't think a bulge would perfectly wrap around the letters of the text, but it would carry over some of the shape in the outline. Also, you wouldn't be able to see the counters (holes in some letters) in the bulge.
And to clarify one point, the branding iron will eventually burn the letters through the paper. I already have that effect created. Any help is appreciated. I hope the cow lives up to its reputation for help.
I just did a quick test and I got a decent result by using the liquify to make the shape of the letters on the paper layer. You can keyframe the distortion percentage after you create the shape. Then I used the brush tool on a solid above that to create shadows and highlights as if the area that is distorted was raised (like a bevel) and keyframed the opacity from 0 to 20% as the distortion from the liquify animate on as well. Fiddle with it for a while to get it to look the way you need, I only did a quick test.