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The Williams Studio - Your Creative Source





Choose a background image, or create a new one at any size.

The background can be anything (and can be changed later on); it serves only as something to look at through your transparent creation. We'll cover our transparent (and currently fictitious) web award from start to finish.

So... let's be about it.

First, open up the Gradient Editor (Cmd-G; double click "Edit.").

Next, choose two colors you'll like side by side by double - clicking the color stops. (As an alternative, you could double - click the foreground and background colors in the tool palette to choose colors, and set the linear gradient to "foreground to background." This works, but doesn't preview your gradient.)

Here's the initial gradient, applied diagonally:

A. The initial gradient

And now: Filter>Noise>Add Noise. Gaussian, monochromatic, amount of 40.

B. Gradient with noise added

Next: Filter>Blur>Motion Blur; about 35 degrees, distance of 30 - 40 pixels for this image.

C. Afer "motion blur"

To add deeper texture: Filter>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask; Amount 150 percent, Radius 100 pixels, Zero threshold. To add a little more interest: Filter>Distort>Shear; wrap around.

Here's that dialog:

D. Shear distort dialog

And the result; a finished background... maybe.

E. Finished background

The fun begins.

Be careful; each step is a new layer.

Create a new layer (Layer one).

Using your selection tools, create a shape to render as a transparent object. Glasses, a bottle, a marble... (This one's going to look like cartoon toast.)

Fill your shape with any solid color (black shows best in the layer palette preview).

Create another new layer (Layer two).

Modify the selection you just filled by contracting it a few pixels. The difference between the first and second selections will be the dimension of the bevel, so get it right. Fill the new selection with black. Now, turn off visibility on both layers - they're only there to use as shortcut "load selection" tools. Here's what I mean: If you're working in ANY layer, and you want to create a selection based on the content of ANY other layer, you simply do this:

Find the "selection source" layer and Command-click on it.

If you want to subtract the selection from a current selection, add the option key, etc. Just as you use the modifiers when working with the current layer selections, you can add them to Cmd-click to load selections from the content of any other layer. It may sound confusing, but try it - it's really very simple, and you never have to change the "working layer" to do it. Too darn handy!

Anyway, I digress...

Create another new layer (Layer three).

Command-click on layer one; Command-option-click on layer two. This results in the bevel selection. Fill this selection with white. Set the blending mode (the drop-down menu in the layers palette) to Overlay, 40 percent opacity.

Here's what it looks like:

F. Bevel one

Don't deselect yet, but create another new layer (layer four).

Using a soft brush, fill in with black shadows where needed. Set the mode to Multiply, opacity 40 percent. This is what it looks like before changing the mode to multiply:

G. Bevel shading

Create one more layer (layer five).

Using a light greenish color, highlights are brushed into the bevel. The mode is set to Screen at about 40 percent.

Another layer (layer six).

Lighten the green to almost white and brush in the brightest highlights. Set the mode to Overlay, opacity of 65 percent. Finally, you can deselect the bevel area.

Create a new layer (layer seven).

Command click on layer two to select the area inside the bevel. Using the gradient tool, create a gradient from light green to transparent and apply it to the inner area. Set the mode to screen, 50 percent.

H. Inner gradient

Create layer eight.

Do the same thing as in layer seven, but a little bit more concentrated. Set the mode to color dodge, at 20 percent opacity.

I. Color dodge

New layer (layer nine).

Now some text and line art is placed from a vector program. (You can easily create it within Photoshop, too.) It is filled with white; Filter>Stylize>Emboss is applied with settings of 120 degree angle, four pixel height and an amount of 90 percent. The mode is set to luminosity, 50 percent opacity. You may want to adjust the brightness down some too, to add to the illusion of depth.

J. Text is added

Well, that's about it. To finish, render a base.

K. Base is added

But that background needs something... A little tinkering, and here's the new look:

L. Different background

Flatten the image; add a couple of lens flare effects, and now it's looking spiffy!

Here is the new Workdance Award.

workdance award

All of the layers in this image could be added to, subtracted from, duplicated, deleted and generally tweaked to get the result you want.

Experiment, experiment, experiment.


To download this tutorial (452k), Click here. You will receive a text file and a folder with the images.


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