posted by Matt Ward on Mar 25, 2010.
Have you ever wanted a really quick and simple way to apply a glassy effect to objects in Photoshop? In this tutorial, we will take a look at how to exactly that using a combination of different layer styles. It’s fast, easy and widely replicable, so be sure to have a read of this one!
Layer styles are a hugely powerful feature in Photoshop, especially when you combine several different effects into a single design. In this brief tutorial, we will look at one example of how to use layer styles to apply a glassy effect to an object. For the sake of this tutorial, we’ll be working with part of the Echo Enduring Media logo, but you can really use any kind of object that you want for this (though something with rounded edges tends to work a bit better). Here is a preview of our final design:
Achieving this effect is actually relatively simple, and we’ll cover everything in just a few steps! So let’s get started.
First, begin by creating a new 500px by 500px document. Then, add a simple texture into the background. I will be using one of the grunge textures from my Mega Textures Pack.
Next, we are going to want to adjust the Global Light settings for the document, since these will have a strong effect on the our styles are rendered. Select Layer » Layer Styles &rqauo; Global Light. This will bring up a dialog box, which you should fill out as follows:
Next, we need to create an object on which to apply our glassy style. I simply opened up my logo in Illustrator, selected the shape, copied it to the clipboard and then pasted it into my Photoshop document (as a Smart Object, of course).
After pasting your object into the document, reduce it’s fill property all the way down to 0. This, of course, will make the object itself disappear, so I won’t bother show you a screenshot of that!
Okay, now we start applying styles. Making sure that you have your object layer selected, add a new Drop Shadow style. You can do this by either clicking on the layer styles button that to bottom of the layer palette, or by selecting Layer » Layer Styles &rqauo; Drop Shadow from the menu. Use the following settings.
The image should now look like this:
Next, we want to add an Inner Shadow to create a bit of depth to the object. Set the properties for this style as follows:
Now our image looks like:
To balance the Inner Shadow, we’ll also add an Inner Glow, using properties as shown here:
This brings the full shape back into relief:
A Gradient Overlay will help really bring out the shape of our object. We’ll use a simple black and white gradient, with the opacity reduced, as in the following options:
Now the image looks like this:
Next, we’re going to add a Satin effect to create still a bit more depth on our object. Again, use the following properties.
The effect is pretty subtle, but the image should now look like this:
The final step is to create some glossy reflections using the Bevel and Emboss style. This is where the Global Light settings will prove to be the most important. First, create the style with the following options:
Next, we’re also going to slightly adjust the contour, which is an optional sub-property of the Bevel and Emboss style.
After adding the Bevel and Emboss effect, our glossy and glassy effect is now complete, and looks something like this:
There are two things that I really like about this technique. First, once you figure it out, it’s relatively simple and easy to create. Second, you can actually save it to your Styles palette for future use, and then easily apply it to all kinds of different shapes. For instance, here are a bunch of icons from Monochrome Symbols Icon Set – Part 2, available from MediaLoot:
Now, here are the same images with our textured background, the fill reduced to 0 the same style that we created applied to them:
Of course, you can play around with the settings to and get slightly different effects. If you save each one, you can end up with a really nice set of styles to add to your Photoshop arsenal. One thing to note, though, is that these kinds of styles are really dependent on the Global Light source. If you want to force the style to remain completely independent of this document-level property, just go into the style settings and uncheck the Global Light options. Then, whenever you apply the style, it will be applied with the same angle of lighting.
Also, remember that, because many of the options work in terms of a given number of pixels, almost all styles are size sensitive. If an object is too large or small, you can really lose the effect. Of course, you can also usually compensate for this by adjusting the settings within the styles accordingly!
So there you have it – a relatively simple Photoshop tutorial to help create some really cool glossy glass effects using layer styles on your objects. What do you guys think? Will this technique be useful to you? Do you have any other suggestions or ideas that you would like to add? Please do share!Post A Comment
Also from Echo Enduring Media: