Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Create a Beautiful Paint Brush Icon in Photoshop

This tutorial is meant to explain how to design semi-realistic objects achieved through simple procedures. The tutorial mostly uses shape layers, which will help you edit them later on and make your work more flexible and scalable.

Step 1: Set Up the Canvas

One thing that is always needed, of course, is making a new Photoshop document by choosing File > New or pressing the Ctrl/Cmd + N shortcut.
We will use a 256×256px canvas, which is a popular dimension for icons.
 You should also make sure that the Background Contents option is set to White so that we will have a default white Background layer; it will make it easier to see our work and you can always change the color later or delete it so that you have a transparent background.

 Step 2: Draw the Handle of the Brush

Use the Pen Tool (P) to make a shape in the center of the canvas that resembles the image below. Make sure to use the Shape Layers option (found in the Options Bar) for the Pen Tool so that the shape you create becomes a shape layer.

Right-click on the shape layer in the Layers Panel and then choose Layer Properties
In the Layer Properties dialog window, name our shape layer as "base" to keep our PSD organized.

Step 3: Style the Handle of the Brush

Let us give the "base" shape layer (the handle of our brush icon) a Gradient Overlay effect by right-clicking on the layer in the Layers Panel and then choosing Blending Options from the contextual menu that appears. Have the color gradient go from black (#000000) to a dark gray (#2d2d2d).

The gradient overlay will result in a nice, subtle gradient surface for our handle.

Step 4: Draw the Inside of the Brush Handle

We will now stylize our brush’s handle. Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a white shape inside our handle.

Decrease the new shape layer’s Opacity to 24%.
By decreasing the opacity, we let a bit of the black-dark gray gradient overlay from the "base" shape layer shine through.

Step 5: Draw Light Reflections on the Brush Handle

We will give our handle a light reflection to make its surface more interesting. Create a new white shape using the Pen Tool again; you can name this shape layer as "light1".
 Lower the Opacity of the "light1" shape layer to around 28%.

 Let’s continue on with the light reflections by drawing a very thin white shape (name the shape’s layer as "light2") as shown below (highlighted in red).

 Once you’ve drawn the shape, lower its layer’s Opacity to 45%.

imilarly, you will create a new thin shape ("light 3") with the Pen Tool, just over the previous two shape layers as shown in red below.

 Give this new shape an off-white (#f2f2f2) Color Overlay.





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