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Simple Step Glass Ball Tutorial

May 23, 2008
Step 1 - With the circular marquee tool, create a simple circle in any color. We will use red in this example.

Step 2) Change the glow color to black and change the blend mode to multiply to give the circle an inner-glow layer effect. The inner glow eliminates an angular deflection creating uniformity and should therefore be used instead of the inner shadow.

Step 3) Load the selection from the circular area. On a new layer, drag the linear gradient in white to transparent downward from the top making sure it is close but not entirely at the bottom.

Step 4. Now press Ctrl/Cmd+T to transform the white gradient. Drag the handles to bring it upwards halfway through, and drag it in a bit in from the top and sides. Create a merge composite layer: Hide the background - Create a new blank layer on top and then Press Alt+Ctrl+Shift+E (Option+Cmd+Shift+E on Mac) to create a merged layer on top.

Step 5) Taking the merged layer, generate a circular selection above, being bigger than the original circle. Eye it to judge what looks right and copy the section and paste it in to a new layer. The top segment of the orb is created. Place it again in the exact position.

Step 6) On now to the base of the orb and create an elliptical shape fitting in to the bottom half of the circle in a new layer. Duplicate this layer while reducing the size just a bit.

Step 7 - Choosing the larger ellipse layer, press Ctrl/Cmd and click on the layer thumbnail to load its selection. Next drag across using the grey-white-grey-white-grey color combination using the cylindrical gradient tool.

Step 8) Again, duplicate this layer bringing the duplicate upward. Place the small white portion above the actual gradiated layer. Link both of these layers reducing their size some, so that the outer gradiated ellipse is just within the red circle.

Step 9) Select the duplicated gradient layer, now giving it a faintly different gradient of greys and whites. Bring the duplicated gradient layer down, arranging it under both of the other layers. Position it to where it is visible from both sides since it is the rim of the orb.

Step 10 -Erase the parts of the orb that are not needed. Keep Ctrl/Cmd pressed and click on the layer thumbnails; first choose the big outer rim ellipse, having the gray gradient, and then Shift+Ctrl/Cmd+Click on the thumbnail of the upper top portion layer. The 2 ellipses will be selected, but we need to also select the bottom portion of the orb. Choosing the Rectangular marquee tool, hold down shift and drag over the bottom portion. Inverse the selection (Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+I) and delete the middle part of the orb.

Step 11 -Now to create the glass portion. Create a circle of the same size of the orb in any color and position it behind the other layers.

Step 12. As with the initial outer orb, give it the same kind of innerglow effect, and now bring it forward so as to cover all but the red outer portions of the orb.

Step 13 -Make the fill amount =0 in the layer palette in order to make the layer invisible, but keeping the layer effects visible.

Step 14. As you had done with the red circle, ie, creating a white gradient reflection, create the same in a new layer above the glass layer, so as to create a more realistic lighting effect. Adjust the settings as required to make it as realistic looking as possible.

Step 15 -Select the base layers, which are the grey metal gradient layers and the white ellipse, merging them together. Press Cntrl+U to fine-tune the hue of the layer. Since it is at this point grey, click on colorize, and convert to a reddish color to keep with the color of the orb itself.

Step 16 -Lastly, make a very small drop shadow to the upper piece of the red orb, in order to create more realism. The lower portion may seem off, so create a new layer above the red lower orb portion. Select the radial gradient tool in the white to nothing option and drag from a point over the red to just a bit inward. Erase parts that are not enclosed within the red portion.

You orb is ready. You can display any items in there now, just make sure any Items kept in have a good reflection added on. This will give the base a shiny appearance.
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