Photoshop Tutorial

Glassy Sphere
Skill level: Duration: Requirements: Goal: Intermediate 10 minutes Photoshop version 5 or higher To create a glassy sphere with shadow

Stage 01.
Let’s begin by making a new document 500 x 500 pixels at 72dpi. Make sure you have your rulers turned on (Press Ctrl & R). Right click on the top ruler and select Pixels. Drag a new guide from the left hand ruler towards the centre of the canvas until you feel it lock in the middle. To do this, simply left click and hold your mouse button inside the ruler, and then drag towards the centre of the canvas. Do the same with the top ruler. You should end up with 2 guides intersecting the middle of the canvas

Stage 02.
Create a new layer and name it ‘Sphere’. Select the Circular Marquee Tool and draw a circle big enough to fill about 50% of the canvas. Make sure you hold down the Shift key while drawing the circle. This will constrain it to be the same hight and width. Now drag the circle towards the centre of the canvas until it locks into the centre.

Stage 03.
Decide on a colour you want your sphere to be, and change your for ground and background colours to suit. I choose green for this tutorial; therefore I will have to choose a light green foreground colour and a very dark green for the background colour.

Select the Gradient tool and choose its Radial Gradient option. Now drag a radial gradient starting near the bottom of the circle towards the top. You will end up with a filled circle like this

Click on the Background layer and then create a New Layer. Name this layer ‘Shadow’. Hide the layer named ‘Sphere’ by clicking the small eye icon next to it in the layers palette 

Stage 04.
Change the foreground colour to Black and choose the Paint Bucket tool, then fill the circle. Now press Ctrl & D to deselect. Go to the Layer menu and select Add Layer Mask, and then Reveal All.

Now grab the Radial Gradient tool again drag from the exact centre of the black circle towards the outer circle, and let go of the mouse button about 2 or 3 pixels from the edge 

Stage 05.
Press Ctrl & T and you will be in Transform mode. Using the Move tool, squash the circle downwards my dragging the top resize handle downwards. Press Enter when you are happy with the height

Stage 06.
Enable the layer called ‘Sphere’ by clicking the eye icon next to it in the layers palette. Select the Move tool, and then use the Down Arrow key on your keyboard to nudge the shadow downwards

Stage 07.
Make a new layer above the ‘Sphere’ layer and name it ‘Glare’. Using the circular Elliptical Marquee tool, draw a circle a few pixels inside the sphere. Hold shift to constrain the circle.

Stage 08.
Fill the circle with white, and then deselect (Ctrl & D) Now add a mask to the layer. Go to Layer menu, Add layer mask, and select Reveal all. Grab the Linear Gradient tool and fill from the top of the circle to about hallway down

Stage 09.
Change the opacity of the ‘Glare’ layer to about 60% Now select the ‘Sphere’ layer and change the brightness & contrast (from the menu Image, Adjustments, Brightness/Contrast) until a desired level is reached.

Final Image.

This tutorial was produced by Michael Ott