Does the clean, classic look of glassy or glossy buttons ever fade? It hasn’t so far. They remain some of the most popular buttons and icons available online. Why? Because they work so well with nearly any look, and remain professional.
There are probably as many ways of making glass icons as there are icons out there. Everyone seems to have their own method, and true to human nature, they feel that their method is the best one. I won’t claim that this is the best method to creating glass icons, but it is a quick and painless method that works great to set off zodiac symbols.
Before you get going, you’ll need to be sure you have two things: A copy of Photoshop (any version from 7.0 through the current CS3 should work, though this guide is written using CS3), and this set of Zodiac brushes. Drop the brushes in your Presets/Brushes folder, or open Photoshop and load them up. These aren’t absolutely vital, of course – you can always choose to draw your own – but they will save you some time.
Glass Zodiac Symbol Icons – The Steps
Because we’ve got the zodiac symbols pre-drawn in the format of a brush, we can save ourselves a lot of hassle. If you would rather use your own images, you’ll need to prepare them beforehand so that you can add them into the icons all ready to go. Otherwise, just follow right along and we’ll be done in no time.
1. New Canvas: Generally speaking, I’m all about the bigger is better theory when it comes to starting a new graphic. The only problem is that this time we’re working with brushes that are pretty small (60 pixels and less in size), so we don’t want to start out with a canvas a whole lot larger than those brushes will be able to work with.
Create a new canvas in Photoshop (File, New) that is sized about 150 x 150 pixels. This is still probably much larger than you’ll want your icons to end up being – but that’s perfect. It’s always better to start out at least a little large and work your way down so that you don’t lose graphic quality. The canvas should be in RGB mode with a white background.
2. Circle Shape Tool: Set your foreground color to #b8c3cd and your background color to #a3afb8. Then, grab your circle SHAPE tool. Please make sure you’re using the shape tool (it likes to hide behind the square shape tool – right click the square to get the circle), and not the circle selection tool. If you’re using the shape tool, when you draw the circle out, it will create a new layer all on its own that is already filled with your foreground color. That’s what we want.
Using the circle shape tool, hold down your Shift key on your keyboard (this keeps the circle perfectly round) and draw a circle out that fills most of your canvas. There should only be a small area at the bottom that we will use later for a shadow. Once your circle is drawn, right-click its layer and choose “Rasterize Layer”.
3. Set Layer Style: Make sure that your circle layer is still selected (highlighted). Then, click the “fx” icon at the bottom of the layer palette and choose Gradient Overlay, or go to Layer – Style – Gradient Overlay. In the window that appears, set the gradient to your foreground and background colors, and the style to radial. Finally, move the “Scale” slider all the way up to 150%.
While you’re still in that window, look for the “Stroke” tab. In the Stroke settings, change the color to #767e89. Click OK to apply the settings and close the layer styles window.
4. Create Inner Glow: Yes, yes, I know that there’s actually a layer style that says it can do this … but it can’t do it the way we want. Set your foreground color to #dfe3e8 and pick up your circle shape tool again. This time, we want to draw an oval that fills the lower half of our circle – without touching the edges. When you’ve drawn the oval, right-click its layer and choose “Rasterize Layer”. Then, go to “Filter”, choose “Blur”, and pick “Gaussian Blur”. Set the amount to 7.5, and click OK. Finally, set this layer’s mode to “Screen”.
5. Add the Zodiac Symbol: If you’re using your own artwork, you’ll want to place it above all the other layers in the icon – on its own layer. Otherwise, click “Layer” and choose “New Layer”. Then, set your foreground color to black and choose a zodiac symbol to start with. Just click once on the new layer to set it in place.
You may want to size the icon down just a bit at this point to make the brush fill more of it – it’s up to you. If you want to size it down, go to “Image”, choose “Image Size”, and set it to about 100 x 100 pixels.
6. Add Shine: This is our last step – we want to make the whole icon “shine” like glass. To begin the shine, grab your circle shape tool one last time and create a circle that fills most of the background one. Right-click its layer and choose “Rasterize Layer”. Then, go ahead and set is layer mode to “Screen”.
Now, grab your circle selection tool and select all but some of the top of your new circle (reference the illustration). Hit the “Backspace” key on your keyboard to remove the selection.
Finally, add a layer mask to this cut-up circle (Layer, Layer Mask, Reveal All). Use your gradient tool to make the top of the cut-up circle more white, and the bottom part more transparent.
And for the finishing touch – if you want – draw an oval at the bottom of the canvas and use the “Filter”, “Blur”, “Gaussian Blur” setting we did earlier to create a shadow.
Wa-la! Gorgeous work.