Pill buttons are, of course, a staple diet of the amateur interface designer.
This is not a coincidence - they are simple to create, look good, and are
supremely reusable. Like many things, however, they can be improved greatly
using a little Photoshop wizardry. The aim of this tutorial is to illustrate a
technique for making glassy pill buttons using nothing but layer effects.
For the sake of those interested in the theory, I've also spent a little time
explaining the different settings, and how their alteration will affect the
final look of the effect. Read on...
Step 1: Create a 200px by 100px blank
document and fill the background layer with white. Create a blank
transparent layer on top and select it. Then, using the Rectangular Marquee Tool / Elliptical Marquee Tool, or shape
tools, design an oval shape filled with black as in the figure to the left.
After this is done, go to the layers palette and set the Fill to 0%.
Step 2: The oval should disappear, but it'll be
back soon. With the pill button layer still selected in the layers palette,
click on Layer > Layer Style > Drop Shadow in the menu and duplicate
the settings on the left. You can, of course, alter the settings to your own
personal taste later, but DON'T exit the layer style dialogs until
the end of step 6.
Step 3: Now progress onto the inner glow
subsection and enter the settings shown here. This will add a dark outline
to the pill button and solidify its presence. After all, if the button
were near totally transparent it would be an absolute nightmare to find!
Step 4: This is where most of the magic happens!
Go to the Bevel and Emboss settings and enter the settings on the
left. The gloss contour applied is not included as default with
Photoshop, so click on the curve itself and create a duplicate of mine.
Don't get too obsessive trying to produce an exact match - its not that
Optional: If you want to change the look of your glass, this is
one of the main places to do it. The Depth setting can be varied to sharpen
or soften the lighting by increasing and decreasing the value. Likewise,
playing around with the gloss contour can help tighten effects around
curves, or make them appear softer. Finally, increasing the size and soften
settings can make the glass appear smoother or shinier, but only up to a
point - overdo it and you'll end up with something that looks daft!
Step 5: Now progress onto the contour
subsection and alter the curve into the one on the left (again, its a custom
one not included with Photoshop). You can try playing around with this
setting if you like, but the effects are unpredictable and best left alone.
Step 6: For our final step, go to the satin
section and enter these settings. This will re-create a light diffraction
effect within the glass, and is rather essential if you are aiming for a
more realistic effect. The contour this time is, thankfully, included with
Photoshop as standard and named 'Cone - Inverted'.
Step 7: Now press OK to exit the layer effects
dialog and admire your work! You can, of course, give the glass a coloured
tint with the Colour Overlay functionality of layer effects or
even a texture with the Texture Overlay feature, but I'll leave the
experimentation up to you...
Variations: As expected, the glass pill is
transparent. To maintain a realistic glass effect you should, of course,
apply a Gaussian blur or displacement effect to all layers underneath the pill to simulate
differing optical densities.
- Tutorial written by Man1c M0g
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