Design a 3D Digital Clock Icon with Illustrator

Preview

Preview

Step 1: Let’s Get Started

Open up a new document in Illustrator and set the color mode to RGB. Then select the Rectangle Tool (M) and draw a rectangle with width of 346 pt and height of 237 pt.

Example Image

With the rectangle still selected, apply some rounded corners (20 pt) by going to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners.

Example Image

Step 2: An Easy Way to Apply Rounded Corners

Now we have some rounded corners. We want them to be expanded, so go to Object > Expand Appearance. This will remove the Style.

Select the rounded corner shape and apply an Offset Path to it. To do so, go to Object > Path > Offset Path and enter a negative number (-25pt). This will proportionally shrink the rectangle.

Once that is done, ungroup the two shapes (Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + G), select the smaller inner rectangle and apply another round corner effect with the Radius of 5 pt.

Afterwards, expand the appearance again ( Object > Expand Appearance).

Step 3: Creating the Framework

Now that we have created two rounded rectangles (one smaller than the other) we can fill them both with black. This is the framework (or base shape) for the digital clock: the outer/bigger shape is the frame and the inner/smaller shape is the clock face.

Step 4: Adding Highlights

Now, I will show you how a few simple shapes created with the Pen Tool (P) can add a 3D look. Select the Pen Tool (P) and draw a similar shape for the highlight on the left side of the frame. Leave a small gap between the edge of the rectangle and don’t overlap into the smaller inner (clock face) rectangle.

Fill the shape with a black/gray linear gradient with the Gradient Tool (G), oriented vertically. By placing the gradient highlight towards the top and blending into the black color of the frame towards the bottom, the shape will look like it bevels outwards.

Create a similar shape for the top part of the framework and also give it a linear gradient.

And then create another highlight at the bottom. As you can see, our clock is already coming to life.

For the corners, create small, semi-rounded shapes and fill them with a gradient.

Here is the bottom-right corner.

Here’s the highlight for the top-right corner.

Here is our digital clock icon thus far with all the gradients.

Step 5: Adding Details

Make a copy of the inner rectangle on top by copying it (Cmd/Ctrl + C) and then using the Paste in Front command (Cmd/Ctrl + F).

Cut away a big part of the top—you can do so by either using the Eraser Tool (Shift + E) or the Scissors Tool (C). Then, fill it with a dark teak to light teak color.

Step 6: Create the Clock Face’s Background

Next, select the inner rectangle (the clock face base shape), add a light gray stroke, and then set the fill to the same gradient as in the previous step.

Step 7: Adding Dimension

Now we will add an effect to bring the clock instantly to life. Select the inner rectangle and add an Inner Glow (Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow). This effect will give the clock face the needed inset look.

Step 8: Small Details Can Make a Big Difference

Now we are just adding some stylistic elements. These thing are always optional and you can add whatever shapes, buttons, numbers or text of your liking. I added two small rectangles at the left side of the frame that will serve as controls for the digital clock (maybe they are the snooze and alarm controls – let’s just use our imagination), one in red and one in gray.

Step 9: Adding the Digital Numbers

A digital clock is nothing without the digital numbers that represent the time! Add the numbers either with a free font (such as DS-Digital font) or draw them yourself with the Pen Tool (P). Usually digital numbers have cut-off endings in a 45o degree angle.

Step 10: Add More Elements to the Clock Face

Here is the clock with numbers, text and some more design elements.

Step 11: Adding Stylized Elements

I thought I’d spice up the digital clock icon with some colored elements. To do so, start by making a copy of the inner rectangle and removing the gradient of the copied shape.

Then cut away the left part and slice it into three parts. You can do so by drawing two lines across the shape, selecting the shape and the lines, and then dividing them with the Divide command in the Pathfinder Panel.

Color each part differently by selecting them with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and choosing your colors. Then set the layer mode to Overlay in the Transparency Panel so that the buttons embody the contours of the clock face.

Step 12: Adding Handles

Let’s add some handles to the clock. Create a rounded rectangle and fill it with a white/black linear gradient.

Then make a copy of it below by copying the shape (Cmd/Ctrl + C) and using the Paste in Back command (Cmd/Ctrl + B). Fill the new shape with black. Move it towards the right and bottom so it sticks out a little.

Select both objects, group them together (Cmd/Ctrl + G), duplicate the group by copying it (Cmd/Ctrl + C), paste (Cmd/Ctrl + P) it, and then reflect the duplicated group horizontally by going to Transform > Reflect, choosing Horizontal for the Axis option in the dialog window that appears. This will be the handle for the other side of the clock, so move it across to the other side.

Step 13: Creating a Back Shape for an Outer Glow

Now select all the shapes you have created so far, make a copy and group them. We want to make one solid shape that is the outline of the entire digital clock. Select the grouped shape and click the Unite button in the Pathfinder Panel. Afterwards, fill the shape with black.

Step 14: Add an Outer Glow to the Back Shape

Add an Outer Glow (Effect > Stylize > Outer Glow) to the back.

Then place the shape with the outer glow behind your digital clock so that it looks like it’s casting a shadow (you might have to reorder your layers so that the back shape with the outer glow is below all of the digital clock’s parts).

Not bad so far, our digital clock is coming along, it’s just a little flat at this point.

Step 15: Make the Shiny Stuff

Let’s add some shine to our digital clock to make it more interesting. Make another copy of your back outer glow shape and fill it with a light blue/black radial gradient.

Edit the gradient so the gradient fill is an ellipse rather than a circle by choosing the Radial for the Type option and then modifying the shape of the gradient to a vertically-oriented ellipse.

You can easily change the color of the radial gradient and give the clock a different color shine if you prefer another color over a blue-dominant color.

Then place the shape on top of all other shapes by selecting it and going to Object > Arrange > Bring to Front (Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + ]).

Allow the contours and shapes of the clock face to shine through the shape by setting the layer mode to Overlay in the Transparency Panel.

Step 16: Don’t Forget a Light Reflection

A nice shiny object is not complete without a little reflection. Create a shape similar to the one in the image below. To make the shape, take a copy of the inner rounded rectangle and subtract a large ellipse from it by creating an elliptical shape with the Ellipse Tool (L) and then using the Minus Front command in the Pathfinder Panel. Otherwise, if you have steady hands and a good free hand ability, using the Pen Tool (P) to draw the shape is another (more laborious and probably less accurate) option.

Fill the shape with a lighter teak color and set the layer mode to Multiply. Place it on top of the clock shape, but below the Overlay shape from Step 15.

Step 17: Giving the Clock a Shadow

Whenever there is light, there is a shadow of an object. Let’s create one. Select the Ellipse Tool (L) and fill it with a white/black radial gradient. Place it below the clock shape.

Then make a copy of it and place it to the right.

Then set the layer mode to Multiply.

Step 18: Reflection, Reflection, Reflection

Let’s add some more reflective elements to our digital clock. We’ll make it to look as if the clock is standing on a glossy surface. Group all shapes except the shadow parts, make a copy and reflect them vertically by going to Object > Transform > Reflect and choosing Vertical for the Axis option.

Place the grouped, reflected shapes below the clock. Afterwards, set the Opacity to 40%

Once that is done, select the reflected group and apply an Opacity Mask so that the bottom part of it fades away.

Step 19: Adding a Backdrop

This final step is really optional: We are just going to add a simple background to help frame our subject.

Start by adding a big rectangle behind the clock and filling it with a vertical linear color gradient.

Duplicate the background by copying it (Cmd/Ctrl + C) and then pasting it in front (Cmd/Ctrl + F). Fill it now with a transparent white gradient.

Set the layer mode to Overlay.

Tutorial Summary

This is it. A glossy digital clock designed solely in Illustrator.Though some might think that Photoshop is an easier way for creating icons with lots of reflective elements and color gradients, I hope this tutorial showed you that Illustrator is not only capable of such design styles, but that it actually does a great and efficient job at it.

Using Illustrator also makes you more flexible as you can increase and decrease the icon’s size without loss of quality. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.

Download Tutorial Source Files

Creating Retro Folded Typography Using Photoshop

Preview

Click on the preview image below to see the final product in full scale.

Preview

Tutorial Resources

Step 1: Working away from the computer

To create our folded text, we first want to see in real-life how folded strips of paper would look. This technique lets us reduce the amount of guessing we have to make and gives us a reference point.

So first, take a piece of regular 8.5” x 11” paper and cut it into strips using scissors or a box cutter.

Working away from the computer

Start folding the strips to the letters that we want. I’m folding all the letters at roughly 90o angles except for the letter "N" (which we need the angle on).

Now we can see exactly how the folds will look for the letters we’re using.

Working away from the computer

Step 2: Setting up the document

Now that we have a general idea of how the fold on our paper strips should look, we’re going to go into Photoshop and create a new 1200 x 600px document.

Write out "DESIGN" and a smaller "INSTRUCT" below it using the Horizontal Type Tool (T), something like I have done below. I’m using Futura Bold for my font because it has a retro look to it. If you don’t have Futura, try using any wide, bold font that gives us room to work with.

We’re going to use this as our type’s base for sizing and width guides while making our folds.

Working away from the computer

Step 3: Adding color

Next, we’re going to change the color of our text. First, the "DESIGN" text is going to be a different color for each letter. Your colors don’t have to be the exact colors that I’m suggesting below, but I’m trying to go for a wide variety of colors that I think will translate into some nice retro colors.

The letters and their corresponding hexadecimal color values are as follows:

  • D: #00AEB7 (blue)
  • E: #FF9900 (orange)
  • S: #BA0000 (red)
  • I: #01AD4E (green)
  • G: #FEDE58 (light yellow)
  • N: #FF99AB (pink)

Also, we’re going to change the "INSTRUCT" text to a brown color (#3B2601).

Adding color

Step 4: Guiding the "D"

Lets start off by working on the "D". Let’s make a new Photoshop group (Layer > New > Group). We’ll name this group, "D".

Next, create a new layer (Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + N) within the "D" group.

We’re going to lay out some Photoshop guides to help us with the shaping our "D" letter. We want a guide on the top, bottom, left-right and the inside-left side of the "D".

Guiding the "D"

Step 5: Creating the template

Since all the strips of paper are the same width, we need to make sure the lines of the "D" (and the rest of our letters) are the same width. We’re going to do this by first clicking on the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) in the Tools Panel to activate the tool.

While holding down Shift to make a perfect square, click and drag a square selection starting from the top left of the "D" towards the inside guide.

Create a new layer (Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + N) and fill it (Edit > Fill) with black (#000000) so that we can easily see it (the color doesn’t matter because this square is just for helping us shape our text).

This will be our template to make sure everything is the same size. We’ll be moving this square template throughout the creation process with the Move Tool (V).

Creating the template

Step 6: Adding more guides to the "D"

Now that we have the template, we can drag down a guide so that it’s on the bottom of the box we just made.

Click and drag the box down to the bottom guide and place a guide on the top of the box.

Also, using the Move Tool (V), move the box to the right and put a guide on the left side of that box. What we’re making with the guides is a hole in the middle, while making sure all the lines are the same width.

Adding more guides to the "D"

Step 7: Subtracting from the "D"

Now that we have our first letter all mapped out, we can start editing it. In the Layers Panel, click on the "D" layer we made in Step 4 to make it our active layer. Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M), make a box around the outer guides so it covers the letter. Afterwards, fill it with the same blue as our "D" (#00AEB7).

Before we subtract the middle part, we want to right-click on the "DESIGN" text and choose Layer > Rasterize > Type. This will make it so we can delete areas from the original text—we can’t do this if it’s still a text layer.

Create a selection using the inner guides, click on the "D" layer in the Layers Panel, and then press the Delete key to remove the area beneath the selection.

We can also completely delete the "D" from the original base text layer because we don’t need it anymore.

Now you should have a box with a white hole in the middle.

Subtracting from the "D"

Step 8: Shaping the "D"

Now we’re going to chop off the corners on the right side to start to give us a "D" shape, similar to how our real-life reference looks.

Shaping the "D"

Using the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L), click on the intersection of the top and inner right guide. Then click on the intersection of the inner top and outer right guide. Finally, close the path by the clicking around so you get that top right corner selected and then hit Delete to take away the section under our selection.

Shaping the "D"

Now we’re going to do the same thing with the bottom right corner.

Shaping the "D"

Shaping the "D"

Step 9: Adding imperfections

Since these letters have a folded look, we’re going to give them some slight imperfections by making the ends of the folded strip of paper overlap past the letter.

Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M), make a square within the top two guides and out past the left side of the "D". Fill the selection (Edit > Fill) with the blue color (#00AEB7).

Adding imperfections

Move the marquee selection down to the bottom two guides and fill that area with the blue color (#00AEB7) as well.

Adding imperfections

Step 10: Adding guides to the "E"

We’re going to work on the shadows and finishing elements later on, so lets move on to the other letters next. Create a new group (Layer > New > Group), call it "E" and create a new layer (Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + N) within that group.

Now we’re going to use the square template that we created for the "D" to make sure our letter has a consistent width.

Since we created the guides for the "D", we notice already that the top and bottom arms of the "E" aren’t quite tall enough. We can also assume that the middle part of it also has the same problem. We should fix those issues.

Bring in our square template and put it in the center of the middle arm. Put a guide on the top and bottom of the template.

Also make guides on the left and right sides of the "E", as well as where the middle arm ends.

Adding guides to the "E"

Step 11: Filling out the "E"

Click on that layer we created in the "E" group. Use the same orange color (#FF9900) as the "E" to fill in the areas so the arms are the same as the stem of the "E".

Adding guides to the "E"

Step 12: Shaping the "E"

Bring our template to the top left of the "E" letter and make a guide on the right side of it so that it follows the inside of the stem. Just like in Step 8, we’re going to chop off the corners of the "E" from the original text layer.

We’re also going to make the middle stem extend out the same way we did in Step 9.

Shaping the "E"

Step 13: Creating the "S"

Create a new layer group called "S" and a new layer inside that group.

We’re going to base off the letter "S" with our existing letter "E". First, select the area from the top guide to the edge of the left side of the "S" to the very bottom guide, at the right edge of the "S", and then fill it with the red color (#BA0000).

We want all the letters to be the same height so that’s why we’re cutting off the top and bottom edges of the "S".

Creating the "S"

Step 14: Roughing out the "S"

Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M), select the two areas between the guides that goes in between the arms of the "E", and then press the Delete key to remove the area beneath your selection. This should give us three horizontal bars with the same width as the "E".

Roughing out the "S"

Step 15: Shaping the "S"

Put the template on the top left corner of the "S" shape and then place a guide on its right side. Move the black square template to the bottom right and put a guide on its left.

Now using the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to select the area, fill the empty area on the top left and the bottom right with red (#BA0000).

Shaping the "S"

Step 16: Rounding out the "S"

Toggle off the visibility of the original text layer from our view to make this next process easier.

We want to get rid of some of these corners, just like with our "D" and "E". The two ends don’t get their corners chopped off because they don’t fold.

Rounding out the "S"

The "S" looks kind of funny right now, but it’ll look fine later on once we start applying shadows on it.

Delete the "S" from the original base text layer if you want, because we no longer need it.

Step 17: No change to the "I"

The "I" will stay as-is since there aren’t any folds to it.

No change to the "I"

Step 18: Creating the basic shape of the "G"

Make a new group for "G", and—you know the drill by now—a new layer (Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + N) inside it. Just like with the "S", we’re going to select the area from the top to bottom guides and the left to right edges of the "G".

Once selected, fill it with our yellow color (#FEDE58).

Now, let’s put a guide on the left and right sides of the box.

Creating the basic shape of the "G"

Step 19: Shaping the "G"

This will start out similar to the "D". First, put the square template on the top left and put a guide on the right side of it.

Next, put the template on the bottom right and put a guide on its left side. Select the area that the guides make inside the box, and then delete it from the box and the original text.

Shaping the "G"

Step 20: Finishing off the "G" shape

To make our letter into a "G", we’re going to move our square template so the top of it is resting on the top of the inner circle. Create a guide on the bottom of the template to help us.

Now, using the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M), select the area that starts at the top of the inner circle to the guide we just made so we can get rid of the top right side of the box.

Finishing off the "G" shape

Step 21: Rounding off the "G"

Now we want to get rid of all the right-angle corners of our letter (as shown below). Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to make the selection, and just press the Delete key to clear the area below the selected area.

Rounding off the "G"

Step 22: Reduce the width of "G"

Our "G" is a little too wide for our design. To fix that, get the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) and select the right half of our letter.

Reduce the width of "G"

With the appropriate area selected, click on the Move Tool (V) on the Tools Panel, hold down Shift, and move the selected area to the left.

Reduce the width of "G"

Step 23: Creating the basic shape for the "N"

For our letter "N", let’s create a new group and also a new layer inside the group. Create a box around the original "N" and fill it with our pink color (#FF99AB).

Move our square template with the Move Tool (V), placing it at the top left corner of the letter. Also place a guide on the left and right to make our selections easier and more accurate.

Move the square template to the right corner, and also place guides on the left and right sides.

Now select the middle part with the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) and delete it.

Creating the basic shape for the "N"

Step 24: Adding the crossbar

Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) again, we’re going to create a box around the right stem of the "N" and duplicate the selection into a new layer by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + J.

Take the stem we duplicated and then use the Free Transform command (Ctrl/Cmd + T) to angle it so that it turns into the crossbar of our "N".

With a little experimentation, the top left corner should line up with the left corner of the left stem and the bottom left corner should line up with the bottom left corner of the right stem.

Adding the crossbar

Select the part of the crossbar that goes above the top guide with the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) and delete it.

Adding the crossbar

Step 25: Finishing off the "N"

If you look at the actual fold of the letter "N" in our reference photo, you’ll notice that the folds at the top and bottom aren’t completely horizontal. We’re going to create these angles by moving the square template to the top left.

Use the Free Transform command (Ctrl/Cmd + T) and move a guide on the horizontal middle transform control. What we’re doing is making a guide at the halfway mark of the template. Do this for the bottom right corner.

With the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L), delete the corners using the guides we just made as the side points.

Finishing off the "N"

Step 26: Cleaning up the text

Right now, you should probably have something that looks pretty messy. Let’s clean up the type by deleting the extra elements we don’t need in the original text.

We also want to get the letter "E" on one layer. Click on the original text layer in the Layers Panel while holding down Ctrl/Cmd. Then with the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M),  hold down Alt/Option to create a square selection around the "I" to subtract it from the current selection.

Now hold down Shift + Ctrl/Cmd and click on the rest of the "E" in the "E" group. Click on the "E" layer in the "E" group and fill the selected area with our orange color (#FF9900).

Cleaning up the text

Step 27: Creating the folds on the "D"

Now we can start creating the folds for the letter "D". To create the folds, we’re going to use our guides as well our real-life model for reference.

Creating the folds on the "D"

The horizontal pieces are the ones on top for the "D", so the two vertical pieces are going to have shadows on them.

To create the shadows, select the area in the middle with the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) and make a gradient with the Black to Transparent gradient preset using the Gradient Tool (G).

Play around with this until you get something that looks good. If you don’t like the gradient you made, just press Ctrl/Cmd + Z to undo it, and then try again. Try not to start the gradient right at the edge, but try not to make it too subtle and understated either.

To get rid of the excess gradient, Ctrl/Cmd + click on the "D" layer, go to Select > Inverse (Shift + Ctrl/Cmd + I) to invert your selection, and hit the Delete key to get rid of the selected area.

Creating the folds on the "D"

Step 28: Creating the folds on the "E"

With our "E" letter, the vertical stem is going to be the top piece with the three arms getting the shadows (exactly like our real-life reference).

Creating the folds on the "E"

Step 29: Creating the folds on the "S"

For the "S", the curved parts are going to be the ones on the top, with the rest shaded.

Creating the folds on the "S"

Step 30: No folds on the "I"

Our letter "I" is pretty boring — there aren’t any shading that needs to be done for the "I".

No folds on the "I"

Step 31: Creating the folds on the "G"

For the "G", the two vertical lines are going to be on top, so the horizontal ones are going to have the shadows.

Creating the folds on the "G"

Step 32: Creating the folds on the "N"

For the "N", the left stem is going to be under the crossbar and the crossbar is going to be under the right stem.

Creating the folds on the "N"

Step 33: Overlaying the shadows

Now we’re going to change the blending mode of all the shadow layers to Overlay except for the right fold on the "N", which will be changed to Soft Light.

Overlaying the shadows

Step 34: Desaturating the backside of the "D"

The folds look pretty good now, but we want to define the front and back a little bit more by dulling down the color that would be the back of the paper to give the letters some depth.

Select the pieces that would have been folded under with the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) and open up the Hue/Saturation image adjustment command (Ctrl/Cmd + U).

Note: To make multiple disjointed selections like the image below, hold down the Shift key (this should put a small "+" on your mouse cursor, indicating that it’s the correct mode).

Desaturating the backside of the "D"

Change the Saturation to -40 and the Lightness to +20. We’re using the Lightness option in the Hue/Saturation because it washes out the colors, which is what we want.

Desaturating the backside of the "D"

Step 35: Desaturate the rest of the letters

Apply the Hue/Saturation from Step 34 to the rest of the letters.

Desaturate the rest of the letters

Step 36: Add a Satin layer style

Click on the "D" layer and go to Layer > Layer Style > Satin. This will give the text a little bit of a shine and highlight the middle areas of the text.

Apply this to the rest of the letters as well. A shortcut would be to right-click on the "D" layer, choose Copy Layer Style, select the other layers, right-click on them, and then pick Paste Layer Style from the contextual menu that appears.

Add a Satin layer style

Step 37: Adding a Gradient Map

We’re going to add some effects to our text and image. First off, we’re going to go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map.

Adding a Gradient Map

Click on the yellow to red gradient preset and also choose the Reverse option.

Drop the opacity of the Gradient Map adjustment layer down to about 15%. This should be your topmost layer. This will give our entire piece a yellowish, aged look.

Adding a Gradient Map

Step 38: Adding a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer

We’re also going to drop the brightness of our work. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation.

Adding a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer

Adding a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer

Step 39: Give the text an uneven look

Now we’re going to give our text a little bit of an uneven, natural look. First, make sure the foreground and background colors are black and white (press D to reset your colors).

Create a new layer by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + N, and then go to Filter > Render > Clouds. Make sure the layer is just below the Gradient Map and the Hue Saturation layers.

Give the text an uneven look

Change the blend mode of this new layer to Overlay and the drop the Opacity down to 50%.

Give the text an uneven look

Step 40: Adding a background texture

Let’s open up the paper texture included in the Resources listing in Photoshop.

Alternatively, use a paper texture of your own, or look around the Freebies section of Design Instruct for textures that you might want to use instead.

Go to Image > Image Rotation > 90o CCW so that the binding of the texture is at the bottom of the canvas.

Go to Image > Image Size and change the width to 1200px to make the texture the same width as our main canvas.

With the texture prepped, copy and paste it into our retro folded paper Photoshop canvas.

Change the blend mode of the texture’s layer to Overlay and then open up the Levels image adjustment dialog window (Ctrl/Cmd + L). Change the option values so that they are similar to what I have below—these settings will make the texture stand out more.

Adding a background texture

Step 41: Adjusting the texture

Open up the Hue/Saturation dialog window and drop the Saturation to -40. Also, drop the opacity of this layer to about 50%. This will make the color of the texture more subtle.

Adjusting the texture

Step 42: Adding a second texture

Duplicate the paper texture with Ctrl/Cmd + J and move it down the layer stack below all the letters.

Change the blend mode to Multiply and drop the opacity to 20%.

Adding a second texture

Step 43: Adding a vignette

For artistic effect and to draw the eyes of the viewer towards the center of our piece, we’re going to darken the edges of the canvas, creating a faux vignette. Click on the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) on the Tools Panel, and in the options bar, change the Feather to 50px. Click and drag a box around the entire canvas (or press Ctrl/Cmd + A).

Go to Select > Inverse and fill the inverted selection with black (#000000). This should fill just the edges.

Change the blending mode of the vignette layer to Overlay.

Adding a vignette

Step 44: Alternate texture

You can also play around with additional textures. I’m going to keep the background with the same paper texture. I’m going to hide the paper texture that was above the text.

Next, I’m going to bring in this other texture (also included in the Resources listing above) to give the image a dirtier, grungier look. Play around with different textures to create something that’s all your own.

Alternate texture

Step 45: Final adjustment

I moved the letters around a little bit to get the kerning to be a little more even. You can do this more accurately with Photoshop’s Ruler Tool (I), but eyeballing it is fine—perfect spacing isn’t important because we want the text to have an imperfect, hand-made feel to it.

Final adjustment

Tutorial Summary

In this Photoshop tutorial, I showed you how to create an interesting folded paper typography. First, we created a real-life model of our text, which I hope shows you the value of having a reference before firing up your favorite graphics editor and creating artwork digitally.

We used simple Photoshop techniques such as selecting areas manually using the Photoshop’s Lasso and Marquee tools. To make our selections more accurate and our letters more uniform, we created a square template and used a copious amount of Photoshop guides. To finish up the piece, we applied some basic adjustment layers to give our product a retro, faded look.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I look forward to seeing your own versions in the Design Instruct Flickr group pool.

Preview

Download Source Files

How to Create a Matte Painting Inspired Scene

Preview

Preview

Tutorial Resources

Here are various resources suggestions for you to use. Do not feel obligated to use them and feel free to experiment.

Reference/Inspiration Images

Waterfalls

Mosques for the Temple Cities

Hills and Mountains

Path Way

Monk

Tree

Seagull

Flock of Birds

Introduction

Traditionally, matte paintings were made by artists using paints or pastels on large sheets of glass for integrating with the live-action footage in film.

As the ages passed, the technology has developed and helped in creating some groundbreaking matte paintings for the films like Avatar, Indiana Jones, created by artists such as Linwood G. Dunn and Norman Dawn.

To see more matte paintings, visit the gallery section of MattePainting.Org.

Step 1: Sketching the idea

Before starting the matte painting scene, make a rough sketch of the world that we are going to create. It does not have to be pretty, it just gives us a rudimentary picture of how to lay out our scene.

Sketching the idea

Step 2: Look for images to use as inspiration and reference

It’s good to use some reference images that could help us in our matte painting for colour correction and for the depth of field. These images might not be used in the scene, but rather, are just to serve as our guide for how things look in the real world.

You can have them open in Photoshop and/or another simple image viewer that you can look to whenever you need a reference point.

Here are a few reference images used in composing the scene:

Rocky Mountains National Park landscape

Rocky Mountains National Park landscape

Paisaje de montañas /Mountains landscape

Rocky Mountains National Park landscape

Niagara Falls Ice Mass

Rocky Mountains National Park landscape

Step 3: Creating the perspective

The first step is to make sure that our perspective, angles and vanishing points are accurate. We will be bringing in various stock imagery at different sizes and angles, so we need a sort of guide to make sure that they fit together well.

First thing’s first, create our main Photoshop canvas with the canvas size set to 1680x1050px.

Mark a vanishing point on the canvas and draw a series of lines from that point with the Line Tool (U), as shown. This will just be a reference layer that we can switch on and off.

Creating the perspective

Step 4: Make the waterfalls

Import the American Falls stock image on to the canvas and transform it (Ctrl/Cmd + T) to fit the perspective with the Move Tool (V), using the lines we created as our guide.

Keep the work organized by naming the layer something intuitive like "niagara 1".

Then erase the edges of the waterfalls using the Eraser Tool (E).

Creating the perspective

In the similar way, import another view of Niagara Falls (you can use the Niagara Falls, New York 4 from the Resources listing) and place it under the "niagara 1" layer. Name this layer "niagara 2".

Creating the perspective

Step 5: The making of the first Temple City

Now import a mosque image (you can view a collection in the Resources listing—I used the Grand Mosque stock image for this part), move it to a location according to our sketch and name the layer as "mosque 1".

Use the Perspective Transform command (Transform > Perspective) to tweak and align the mosque to our vanishing point grid.

Note: for each object that we place into our composition, you will need to extract them from their background using your favorite method (such as using the Polygonal Lasso Tool to trace around their edges). I leave it up to you to do this for each image that we import.

The making of the first Temple City

Similarly, import another mosque and place it above the "mosque 1" layer, then name the layer as "mosque 2". Here, I chose blue mosque istanbul but this process of building our mythical Temple City into our scene is very subjective, and you should feel free to experiment with your own stock images.

The making of the first Temple City

Now import another mosque and place it below the "mosque 1" and "mosque 2" layers. This time, I used the ortakoy mosque image. Keep our work consistent by naming the layer "mosque 3".

The making of the first Temple City

Step 6: Adding some fog

Make a new layer above all the layers named "fog 1" and add some fog into it using the Brush Tool (B) with a soft brush tip. Make sure that the colour selected is white (#ffffff). Experiment with various brush tips as well as the Flow and Opacity brush options if the fog is too prominent. Additionally, you can lower the Opacity of the layer.

Step 7: Colour correction through exposure adjustment

Once the fog is added, merge all the mosque layers into one by selecting them in the Layers Panel and then pressing Ctrl/Cmd + E.

On the newly-merged mosque layer, change the exposure values by going to Image > Adjustments > Exposure. Here are suggested settings:

  • Exposure: 0.00
  • Offset: +0.1204
  • Gamma correction: 1.13

Colour correction through exposure adjustment

Step 8: The making of the second Temple City

In this step, we will make yet another Temple City, at the opposite side of the scene. This will be the exact same process as the step for the making of the first Temple City.

Use your favorite mosques from the resource listing or experiment with your own structures.

The making of the second Temple City

In order to blend the structures into the scene, we have to set the Curves and the Exposure values.

The making of the second Temple City

The making of the second Temple City

The making of the second Temple City

Step 9: Create the mountain backdrop

Import a hill image that you think will be a good match for our matte style scene (I used the New Mexico Landscapes stock image from the Resources listing).

Erase the sky in the image before importing it on to our main canvas. After copy and pasting it into our scene, name this layer as "hill 1".

Create the mountain backdrop

Now place the "hill 1" layer behind the second Temple City as shown.

Create the mountain backdrop

Import another hill image (see the Resources listing for suggestions—here we can use the New Mexico Landscapes (2) stock image) and name it "hill 2". Move the second hill beside "hill 1" with the Move Tool (V).

As shown in the reference/inspiration images, the mountains that are furthest from our standpoint look dimmer and paler.

To be able to do this to our matte scene, adjust its Curves (Image > Adjustments > Curves) to the values shown below.

Create the mountain backdrop

Now, to make the mountain look dimmer, use the Exposure image adjustment (Image > Adjustments > Exposure). Here are suggested settings for adjusting the exposure of the image:

  • Exposure: 0.00
  • Offset: +0.0469
  • Gamma Correction: 1.0

Create the mountain backdrop

Since the "hill 2" mountain is cut off on its left, we have to digitally extend it using another image.

Import the extension image of the hill—New Mexico Landscapes (3) from the Resources listing —and flip it horizontally using the Flip Horizontal Transform command (Transform > Flip Horizontally or right-click on the image and choose Flip Horizontal).

Scale as needed to match "hill 2" using the Free Transform command (Ctrl/Cmd + T) and try to match it seamlessly.

Create the mountain backdrop

Create the mountain backdrop

Colour correct the hill extension layer by changing the curve levels (Image > Adjustments > Curves).

For further colour correction and matching, use the Exposure image adjustment (Image > Adjustments > Exposure) to change the Offset value to +0.1204.

Create the mountain backdrop

Let’s make it colder by importing a vastly different mountain from the Nevada desert mountains: Up in the mountains 2 and Tasman Glacier.

Create the mountain backdrop

Again, adjust the Exposure of the image, this time setting Offset at +0.1857.

Create the mountain backdrop

Step 10: Adding the sky

To make the scene look realistic, we will need a sky. For artistic purposes, we can use a grey, overcast sky to give the scene a darker mood. Also, you would not expect to find a rainbow (which we will paint in later) when it is bright and sunny outside.

Make a new layer for the sky beneath all the layers and fill the layer with grey colour (#d9d8d8) using the Paint Bucket Tool (G).

Adding the sky

Adding the sky

Now add clouds using a brush tip of clouds (you can check out this one and install it) with a white foreground colour (#ffffff).

Adding the sky

Step 11: Adding more fog

Since the scene contains huge waterfalls, there must be some fog covering the view.

Make a new layer above all the layers and add some fog using a soft brush tip with a white foreground colour (#ffffff).

Adding more fog

Step 12: Making the pathway to the Temple Cities

Now we need to make a pathway to the cities so that people can get to them—a pathway which is carved out of rock (Arches 2 from the Resources listing).

Cut the portion of the stock that we need using the Lasso Tool (L) and place it onto our main canvas. Position it as per the sketch we made at the first step.

Making the pathway to the Temple Cities

Making the pathway to the Temple Cities

Step 13: Correct the colour of the pathway

Correct the colour the pathway using Curves (Ctrl/Cmd + M).

Correct the colour of the pathway

Now change the pathway’s Exposure values. Here are suggested settings:

  • Exposure: 0.00
  • Offset: +0.0102
  • Gamma Correction: 1.09

Correct the colour of the pathway

Step 14: Add our monk

Cut out the monk from its original image using the Pen Tool (P), right-clicking on the path and choosing Make Selection.

Add our monk

Then import it into the canvas. Resize our monk to fit the scale of our scene using Free Transform (Ctrl/Cmd + T). Colour correct the monk using the curves and the Exposure values.

Add our monk

Make a new layer under the monk layer for the shadow of the monk. Using the Brush Tool with a soft-tipped paint brush, add some black colour to resemble the shadow of the monk and set the opacity to 40%.

Add our monk

Step 15: Cutting out the tree from its background

Now we are going to incorporate an apple tree into our scene, but because the stock’s background and the tree’s branches are a bit more complex, I’ll share with you a method of how you can effectively cut it out from its background.

First step is to open the Apple tree 2 stock in Photoshop (included in the Resources listing).  Go to the Channels Panel (if you do not have it open, go to Window > Channel first) and then hide all of the channels except the Blue channel.

Afterwards, go to Image > Calculations.

Cutting out the tree from its background

Select Blue in the Channel option drop down list for Source 1 and Source 2, as well as set Blend to Multiply.

Cutting out the tree from its background

Now go to Select > Load Selection and select "Alpha 1" in the drop down list of Channel which will create an selection around our tree.

Turn on all of the Channels again. Copy (Ctrl/Cmd + C) and paste (Ctrl/Cmd + V) the tree into our main canvas, placing it over the "monk" layer.

Cutting out the tree from its background

If done correctly, you will have saved some time manually cutting out the tree from its background.

Cutting out the tree from its background

Step 16: Use Curves to correct the colour of the tree

Use the Curves image adjustment (Ctrl/Cmd + M) to colour correct the tree, making it match our scene.

Cutting out the tree from its background

Step 17: Add fog on the tree and monk

In the same method as previously mentioning in this tutorial, add some fog that covers the tree and some part of monk.

Add fog on the tree and monk

Step 18: Import the seagulls into the composition

Import a seagull or an interesting bird (such as Seagull from the Resources listing) into our matte scene and resize it to fit our perspective. Place the seagull in the desired position using the Move Tool (V).

Once the image is placed in the position, go to Image > Adjustments and change the Curve levels and the Exposure values.

Import the seagulls into the composition

Import the seagulls into the composition

Now using the Lasso Tool (L), select the wings and the edges of the tail of the seagull and feather the edges to 40px.

Add a radial blur (Filter > Blur > Radial Blur) with Amount set to 12.

Import the seagulls into the composition

Step 19: Add distant birds

Now import the flock of birds into our matte scene (Homing pigeons from the Resources listing) and name its layer "birds flock".

Add distant birds

Let us soften up the edges of our flock of birds. Having the "birds flock" layer selected, run the Gaussian Blur filter on it (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur) with the Radius set at 1.5 pixels.

Add distant birds

After, change the Exposure values (Image > Adjustments > Exposure) of the "birds flock" layer to the following values:

  • Exposure: 0.00
  • Offset: +0.0755
  • Gamma Correction: 1.0

Add distant birds

Place the "seagull" and "birds flock" layers under all the fog layers.

Step 20: Paint the rainbow

As the last step, we are going to paint the rainbow. As seen in the reference/inspiration images that we used in the beginning, there was a rainbow near the waterfalls. So let’s add one in our matte painting style scene.

Make a new layer for the rainbow (name the layer "rainbow").

Press B to activate the Brush Tool, set the brush tip to a soft, round brush, the Master Diameter (the size of the brush) to 18px, and then select an orange foreground colour (#ff940a).

Now select the Pen Tool (P) and make an arc; we’re using the Pen Tool first because it is easier to create a good arc with its Bezier curves than doing it freehand with the Brush Tool.

Paint the rainbow

After creating the arc path, right-click on the path and pick Stroke Path.

Paint the rainbow

Select Brush for the Stroke Path option.

Paint the rainbow

Similarly, add a few more colours like red, yellow and green.

Paint the rainbow

Still on the "rainbow" layer, add a Gaussian Blur filter (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur) with the Radius set to 26.1 pixels to soften up its edges and also to blend the colors together.

Place the rainbow layer under the fog, "monk" and "tree" layers.

To give it a bit more transparency, reduce opacity to about 75%.

Preview

Tutorial Summary

Thank you for following along. In this Adobe Photoshop tutorial, I shared with you many tips and techniques for composing a surreal and matte-painting-like scene. I discussed a technique for using images as reference and inspiration, having them open in Photoshop or an image viewer just as a grounding point for our work.

You saw the need for making a vanishing point grid to help us align the stock imagery that we bring into our matte painting style scene. We used a variety of processes to ensure that the elements we use in the scene are consistent in colour; particularly, we relied heavily on Curves and Exposure image adjustments.

We covered a technique of cutting out a complex object (an apple tree) from its complex background using the Channels Panel and the Image Calculations command. I also showed you an easy way of painting a rainbow into a scene.

If you have questions, thoughts and opinions, please do not hesitate to share them in the comments!

Preview

Download Tutorial Source Files

Inspiration: 40 Captivating Bright and Sleek Web Designs

Mint.com

Mint.com

Talker

Talker

Toffeenut

Toffeenut

Panelfly

Panelfly

Trent Cruising

Trent Cruising

Traffik

Traffik

Knight

Knight

Silver Pistol

Silver Pistol

Gist

Gist

Sabe

Sabe

Eighty8Four

Eighty8Four

Camp Creative Group

Camp Creative Group

philipp doms

philipp doms

Delibar

Delibar

Unify

Unify

Scorch London

Scorch London

Vanilla

Vanilla

177DESIGNS

177DESIGNS

Zee

Zee

Serj Kozlov

Serj Kozlov

Droplr

Droplr

Divvyshot

Divvyshot

kontoblick

kontoblick

AWP Express

AWP Express

Lyrically Noted

Lyrically Noted

Established 1986

Established 1986

Bravura

Bravura

NOSOTROS

NOSOTROS

Flourish

Flourish

Logic By Design

Logic By Design

Blue Sky Resumes

Blue Sky Resumes

Darren Hoyt

Darren Hoyt

Jar Design

Jar Design

Elemodo Software

Elemodo Software

Lake Hills Church

Lake Hills Church

Critical Zero

Critical Zero

Pet in Canvas

Envato

Crush + Lovely

Crush + Lovely

GIB Living

GIB Living

Mina Chang

Mina Chang

Create a Bright and Sleek Web Design in Photoshop

This is the web layout that we will create. Click on the following image to see the larger version.

Resources

Step 1: The 960 Grid System

Download the 960 Grid System and unzip the archive.

Then go to the "photoshop" folder (inside "templates"). There you will find three .psd files. Each of these files contains a grid with 12, 16 or 24 columns. We will use the one with 24 columns. Open the "960_grid_24_col.psd" file in Photoshop.

Now we will increase the size of the canvas so that we can see how the layout will look on big screens. Go to Image > Canvas Size and use the settings from the following image.

The .psd file also contains guides. We will need them to arrange the elements of our layout properly. To hide/show the guides, go to View > Show > Guides (or use the shortcut Ctrl/Cmd + ;).

During this tutorial, you will have to create different shapes with certain dimensions. Open the Info panel (Window > Info) and you will be able to see the exact width and height of your shapes while you create them.

Step 2: Creating the layout’s background

Fill the background with the a very light blue/gray color (#ecf0f2) using the Paint Bucket Tool (G).

Select the Gradient Tool (G) and open the Gradient Editor window by clicking on the gradient that you see in the Options bar. Create a new gradient using the settings from the following image. Then you can save it by giving it a name and clicking on the "New" button.

Create a new layer, select the gradient which you created, hold down the Shift key and drag a vertical line at the top of your document. Name this layer "gradient".

Step 3: Creating a texture

Now we will use some Photoshop filters to create a texture at the top of the layout. Create a new layer. Then hit the "D" key on your keyboard to set the foreground color to black and the background color to white. Go to Filter > Render > Clouds.

Then press Ctrl/Cmd + Alt/Option + F a couple of times to increase the contrast of the clouds.

Right-click on this layer and select Convert to Smart Object. Now we can apply any filters to the smart object and edit them anytime we want.

Go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and use the settings from the following image.

Then go to Filter > Other > Maximum and use a radius of 30px.

Add some noise to this layer by going to Filter > Noise > Add Noise and using the settings from the image below.

Then go to Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen.

Name this layer "texture". Then add a mask to it (Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All), select the Gradient Tool (G) and drag a black to transparent gradient as you see in the following image to erase the bottom area of the texture.

Set the blend mode of this layer to Soft Light 50%.

Step 4: Creating the navigation bar

Create a new group (Layer > New > Group) and name it "navigation bar". Activate the guides (Ctrl/Cmd + ;). Then select the Rounded Rectangle Tool (U), set the radius to 6px and create a rounded rectangle with the dimensions 950px by 50px and the color #d8dfe2.

Name this layer "navigation bar", double-click on it to open the Layer Style window and use the settings from the following image.

Step 5: Type out the navigation menu items

Select the Type Tool (T) and write the name for your navigation menu items. I used the font Gotham Book with the size 16px and the color #7c858b. Note that Gotham Book is not a web-safe color so feel free to use a different font if you don’t want to use a CSS background image replacement technique, @font-face, or any font replacement techniques when creating the design as a web page.

Step 6: Adding separators in the navigation bar

Create a new group and name it "separators". Select the Line Tool (U), set the weight to 1px, hold down the Shift key and create a vertical line from the top of the navigation bar to the bottom using the color #e3e7ea. Name this layer "1px light line".

Duplicate this layer (Ctrl/Cmd + J), select the Move Tool (V) and hit the right arrow once to move the new layer one pixel to the right.

Change the color of this new line to #a3afb5 and name this layer "1px dark line". Put these lines between your first two navigation menu items.

Hold down the Ctrl/Cmd key and select the two line layers. Duplicate these layers by drag them over the ‘Create a new layer’ button from the bottom of the Layers panel.

Then use the Move Tool (V) to move them between the next two navigation menu items. Continue to duplicate and move your separators until you have as many as you need.

Step 7: Creating a search bar

Create a new group and name it "search bar". Select the Rounded Rectangle Tool (U), set the radius to 6px and create a rounded rectangle with the dimensions 250px by 30px and the color #f1f5f7. Name this layer "search bar", double-click on it and use the settings from the following image for Stroke. Then select the Type Tool (T) and write the words "To search type here and hit Enter" inside your search bar. I used the font Helvetica Oblique and the color #a3abaf.

Step 8: Adding the site name

Create a new group and name it "header". Select the Type Tool (T) and write the name of your website in the left side of the layout, above the navigation bar. I used the font Gotham Bold with the size 46px and the color #dee6ea. Double-click on your text layer to open the Layer Style window and use the settings from the following image.

Step 9: Adding a subtle texture over the site name

Create a new layer. Hit the "D" key on your keyboard to reset the foreground and background colors to black and white.

Then go to Filter > Render > Clouds.

Right-click on this layer and select Convert to Smart Object. Then go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and use the settings from the following image.

Name this layer "texture", right-click on it and select Create Clipping Mask. Now this layer is visible only on the surface of the text. Name this layer "texture" and set its blend mode to Soft Light.

Step 10: Adding some social icons

Create a new group and name it "icons". Then download these icons, go to the "32×32" folder (inside the "png" folder) and open some icons in Photoshop. I used four icons for RSS, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.

Move the icons into your first document using the Move Tool (V). Put them in the upper right side of your layout and name each layer accordingly. Set the opacity of the "icons" group to 75%.

Step 11: Adding a text beneath the navigation bar

Select the Type Tool (T) and write a welcome message beneath the navigation bar using the color #eff4f7. Then add a shadow to this text layer using the settings from the following image.

Step 12: Creating a content carousel

Now we will create a content carousel where can be shown featured images or projects.

Create a new group and name it "content carousel". Then activate the guides (Ctrl/Cmd + ;), select the Rectangle Tool (U), and create a rectangle with the dimensions 350px by 200px in the left side of your layout.

Name this layer "rectangle", double-click on it and use the settings from the image below to add a double-stroke effect to it.

Step 13: Creating a shadow for the rectangle

Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to create a selection with the height 30px at the bottom of your rectangle. Create a new layer and fill the selection with black using the Paint Bucket Tool (G). Name this layer "shadow", right-click on it and select Convert to Smart Object.

Go to Edit > Free Transform (Ctrl/Cmd + T), hold down Ctrl/Cmd + Alt/Option + Shift, click on the upper right corner of the transformation box and drag it to the right.

Move the "shadow" layer beneath the "rectangle" layer. Then go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and use a radius of 1px.

Add a mask to the "shadow" layer (Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All).

Then select the Gradient Tool (G) and drag a vertical black to transparent gradient from the top of the shadow to the bottom.

Set the opacity of the "shadow" layer to 15%.

Step 14: Duplicate the content carousel boxes

Select the "rectangle" and "shadow" layers and hit Ctrl/Cmd + G to put them inside a group. Name the group "left image". Duplicate this group (right-click on it and select Duplicate Group), then move the new rectangle in the right side of the layout. Name this group "right image".

Duplicate the "right image" group. Then select the Move Tool (V), hold down the Shift key and hit the down arrow three times to move this new rectangle 30px down. Name this group "middle image".

To put this rectangle in the center of the layout, hit Ctrl/Cmd + A to make a selection of your entire document. Then make sure that the "middle image" group is active and go to Layer > Align Layers To Selection > Horizontal Centers.

Hit Ctrl/Cmd + D to deselect.

Step 15: Add images to the content carousel boxes

Add an image over each "rectangle" layer. Make sure that the images cover the entire surface of the rectangles. Then right-click on each layer of the images and select Create Clipping Mask. Now your images are visible only on the area of the rectangles.

Step 16: Creating two navigation buttons for the content carousel

Now we will create two navigation buttons for the content carousel. As you will see in the following images, the two buttons are joined together and they are not placed one in the left side of the content carousel and the other one in the right side (as we can usually see in content carousels). This way, it will be easier for the user to go back and forth through the featured images/projects.

Create a new group and name it "nav". Then select the Rounded Rectangle Tool (U), set the Radius to 4px and create a rounded rectangle with the dimensions 100px by 35px and the color #a0c3d5.

Put this rounded rectangle over the bottom edge of the middle rectangle. Name this layer "button", double-click on it to open the Layer Style window and use the settings from the following image.

Note: you can save the layer style of this button so you can use it later for other layers as well; to do this, make sure that the "button" layer is active, go to the Styles panel (Window > Styles) and click on the ‘Create new style’ button. Now, when you will need this layer style, you will only have to select it from the Styles panel.

Step 17: Adding a shadow to the button

Ctrl-click on the vector mask of the "button" layer to select its pixels (1).

Create a new layer, select the Paint Bucket Tool (G) and fill the selection with black. Hit Ctrl/Cmd + D to deselect (2).

Name this layer "shadow", right-click on it and select Convert to Smart Object. Go to Edit > Free Transform (Ctrl/Cmd + T) and drag the top line of the transformation box down (3).

Hold down Ctrl/Cmd + Alt/Option + Shift and drag the upper right corner of the transformation box to the right (4, 5).

Add a 1px gaussian blur to this layer (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur) and move it beneath the "button" layer (6).

Add a mask to the "shadow" layer (Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All). Select the Gradient Tool (G), hold down the Shift key and drag a vertical black to transparent gradient from the top of the shadow to the bottom (7).

Set the opacity of this layer to 20% (8).

Step 18: Add arrows and a separator on the navigation button

Select the Line Tool (U), set the weight to 1px and create a vertical line at the middle of your button using the color #7c9cac. Name this layer "1px dark line". Hit Ctrl/Cmd + J to duplicate this layer. Select the Move Tool (V) and hit the right arrow once to move the new layer 1px to the right. Change the color of this line to #ccf2ff and name this layer "1px light line".

Select the Custom Shape Tool (U), right-click on your image and select an arrow shape. Then create an arrow in the right side of your button using the color #ccf2ff. Name this layer "right arrow 1" and set its opacity to 80%. Duplicate this layer and move the new arrow next to the first one. Name the new layer "right arrow 2".

Duplicate your right arrow layers, select the duplicated layers and go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal. Use the Move Tool (V) to move the new arrows in the left side of the button and change the name of these new layers.

Step 19: Creating two call-to-action buttons

Select the Rounded Rectangle Tool (U) and set the radius to 4px. Create a rounded rectangle with the dimensions 160px by 45px and the color #a8bac4. Name this layer "button 1". Then go to the Styles panel and select the style which you have saved at step 16. Create a shadow for this button just like you did at step 17.

Duplicate this button and its shadow layer. Change the color of the new button to #80c2e5 and name this layer "button 2". Use the Move Tool (V) to move the new button at a distance of about 70px to the right from the first one. Then use the Type Tool (T) to add the text. Take a look at the following image for reference.

Group all these layers (Ctrl/Cmd + G) and name the group "call-to-action buttons". To put these buttons at the middle of your layout, make sure that this group is active, hit Ctrl/Cmd + A to select the entire document and go to Layer > Align Layers To Selection > Horizontal Centers.

Step 20: Creating the "Services" area

Create a new group and name it "services". Then select the Type Tool (T) and write the word "Services" in the left side of the layout beneath the call-to-action buttons using the color #648393. I used the font Helvetica Bold with the size 26px.

We will create four rounded rectangles for the ‘services’ area. Because our grid has 24 columns, we can split it easily into four bigger columns.

Select the Rounded Rectangle Tool (U), set the radius to 4px and create a rounded rectangle with the dimensions 230px by 170px and the color #dee9f0. Add a 1px stroke to this rounded rectangle using the settings from the image below. Name this layer "rounded rectangle 1".

Select the Rectangle Tool (U) and create a white rectangle with the dimensions 210px by 150px. Name this layer "rectangle 1". To put the white rectangle exactly in the center of the rounded rectangle, follow this process:

  1. Ctrl/Cmd-click on the vector mask of the "rounded rectangle 1" layer to select its pixels
  2. Click on the "rectangle 1" layer to make it active
  3. Go to Layer > Align Layers To Selection > Horizontal Centers
  4. Go to Layer > Align Layers To Selection > Vertical Centers
  5. Hit Ctrl/Cmd + D to deselect

Step 21: Add an image to the "Services" thumbnail

Add a representative image over the "rectangle 1" layer. Make sure that this image covers the entire surface of the rectangle. Then name this layer "image 1", right-click on it and select Create Clipping Mask. Now your image is visible only on the area of the rectangle.

Step 22: Create a button on the Services thumbnail

Select the Rounded Rectangle Tool (U) and create a button with the dimensions 120px by 35px and the color #a0c3d5. Name this layer "button 1", go to the Styles panel and select the layer style which you have saved at step 16. Put this button over the bottom edge of the rounded rectangle. Then select the Type Tool (T) and write the name of a design service inside this button. I used the font Helvetica Bold with the size 14px and the color #e9f3f6.

Select all the layers of your rounded rectangle and hit Ctrl/Cmd + G to group them. Name the group "1".

Step 23: Create more thumbnails

Duplicate the "1" group three times (right-click on it and select Duplicate Group). Then activate the guides and use the Move Tool (V) to arrange your rounded rectangles. Change the image of each duplicated group and use the Type Tool (T) to change the text of each button.

Step 24: Creating the "About" area

Create a new group and name it "about". Select the Rounded Rectangle Tool (U) and create a rounded rectangle with the dimensions 470px by 140px. Name this layer "bg", double-click on it to open the Layer Style window and use the settings from the following image.

Note: while the Gradient Overlay window is opened, click on your image and move the gradient at the bottom of the rounded rectangle.

Step 25: Make a 3D ribbon

Create a new group and name it "3d ribbon". Use the Rounded Rectangle Tool (U) to create a rounded rectangle with the dimensions 140px by 30px and the color #b1c8d2. Put this shape in the upper left corner of the big rounded rectangle. Double-click on this layer to open the Layer Style window and use the settings from the following image. Move the gradient in the left side of this shape while the Gradient Overlay window is opened.

Step 26: Creating the stem of the 3D ribbon

Now we need to modify the bottom left corner of the rounded rectangle. Select the Direct Selection Tool (A), click on the vector mask of this layer to make it active and follow the instructions from the image below.

Note: activate the Photoshop’s grid (Ctrl/Cmd + ‘) and guides (Ctrl/Cmd + 😉 to help you modify this shape.

Step 27: Add the back shadow of the 3D ribbon

Create a new rounded rectangle beneath the first one by following the steps from the image below.

Step 28: Type out "About us"

Select the Type Tool (T) and write the words "About us" on your 3D ribbon. I used the font Helvetica Bold with the size 22px and the color #648393.

Step 29: Creating some photo frames

Now we will create some photo frames for the ‘About’ area of the layout.

Select the Rectangle Tool (U) and create a rectangle like the one you see in the following image. Name this layer "photo 1", double-click on it and use the settings from the image below. Duplicate this layer two times (Ctrl/Cmd + J) and rotate the new rectangles using Free Transform (Ctrl/Cmd + T).

Step 30: Add images to the photo frame

Add an image above each photo frame. Then right-click on the layers of the images and select Create Clipping Mask to make them visible only on the surface of the photo frames.

Step 31: Type some dummy text

Select the Type Tool (T) and add a block of text next to the photos. I used the font Helvetica with the size 12px and the color #6b757a.

Step 32: Creating a Twitter area

Duplicate the "about" group and move the new group in the right side of the layout. Then delete the photos and the text. Keep only the rounded rectangle and the 3D ribbon. Select the Type Tool (T) and write the words "Follow us" on your 3D ribbon. Name this group "twitter".

Step 33: Add a Twitter icon

Add a Twitter icon in the left side of this area (use the Twitter icon from the icons pack which you downloaded). Then select the Rounded Rectangle Tool (U) and create a rounded rectangle using the color #bdced6. Name this layer "rounded rectangle". Use the Pen Tool (P) to create a small triangle in the upper left corner of the rounded rectangle. Name this layer "triangle". Take a look at the following image for reference. Select the Type Tool (T) and add a text inside the rounded rectangle using the color #6b757a.

Step 34: Creating a "Recent works" area

Create a new group and name it "recent works". Activate the guides (Ctrl/Cmd + ;), select the Rectangle Tool (U), hold down the Shift key and create a square with the dimensions 70px by 70px. Name this layer "square 1", double-click on it to open the Layer Style window and use the settings from the following image.

Duplicate this square 11 times and use the Move Tool (V) to arrange all the squares. Then add an image over each square, right-click on each image layer and select Create Clipping Mask.

Step 35: Creating the "Blog" area

Create a blue rounded rectangle with the dimensions 950px by 220px and a 3D ribbon just like you did for the ‘about’ and ‘twitter’ areas. Then write the word "Blog" on the 3D ribbon.

Use the Rectangle Tool (U) to create two squares with the dimensions 150px by 150px. Add two images over these square.

Select the Type Tool (T) and add some text next to each image.

Step 36: Tyle the copyright text

Select the Type Tool (T) to write a copyright statement at the bottom of your layout using the color #b3bdc1.

Tutorial Summary

Well, that’s it! The web layout is finished. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and you learned something new. Click on the following image to see a larger version.

Download Tutorial Source Files