Classic Glass Orbs – Fast & Easy Photoshop Tutorial

There are specific things that I can count on being asked “how to” create. One of them, without fail, is anything glassy. Glass orbs, glass buttons, glass text … I think that the fascination with glass graphics is that they look clean and they impress. When you see a series of glass buttons used in a website header, for example, it looks like it took some real work to create. The fact is that glass graphics are very easy, and glass orbs are likely the easiest of all.

That doesn’t mean they are any less popular.

So in this guide we’re going to go through the very quick and easy steps to create glass orbs. What you’ll end up with a classic glass orb that can be created in 5 steps. Even better? If you save the original orb as a .psd file, you’ll always have a template to use that takes one step to make orbs in other colors.

Ready to get going? Great!

One: Open a new canvas (File, New) sized at 400 x 400 pixels. You can size it down later – work at a larger size and you’ll keep great quality no matter what size you want to end up with. Then, set yoru foreground color to #208dea and your background color to #13548b.

Two: Grab your elliptical (circle) shape tool. Then, hold your shift key down on your keyboard while you draw the circle. This forces the shape to remain a perfect circle as you draw it. After you draw the circle, right-click the shape’s layer and choose “Rasterize Layer”. This is an important step any time you’re working with shapes- always rasterize, to get smooth, flawless edges.

Three: Now, we need to add a layer style. Click Layer, and choose Layer Style. From the list, choose “Gradient Overlay”. This opens a new dialogue. Change the Gradient to your light-to-dark blue gradient, change the Style to Radial, and the Scale to 125%.

We’ve got the base for our glass orb, but it’s not very glassy yet. We’ll fix that in this step and the next. First, set your foreground color to #25c8fe and your background color to white – #FFFFFF. Then, draw an oval with the bright aqua on the lower 1/3 of your orb. Rasterize the oval. Now, click “Filter”, choose “Blur” and click “Gaussian Blur”. Set the radius of your blur to about 25%.

Our last glass step! Switch your foreground and background colors so that white comes to the top. Then, draw a white oval on the upper 1/2 of your orb. Rasterize the oval. Now, drop the “Fill” of your oval layer to 0%. And the last step? Apply a Gradient Overlay (Layer, Layer Style, Gradient Overlay) that is white-to-transparent.

You can change the color of your orb quickly by doing a “Color Overlay” set to Color Mode – and end up with dozens of glass orbs with no more work!

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