A Glass Ball Tutorial Made Simple

By: David Peters

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 and on a new layer drag the linear gradient (white to transparent) downwards from top (close to the bottom but not completely 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. Duplicate this layer too and bring the duplicate upwards, as shown. Now place the white small portion up above the actual gradiated layer. Place it as shown in fig.8. Link both layers and reduce their size by a bit, so that the outer gradiated ellipse is just a bit within the red circle.

Step 9. Take the duplicated gradient layer and again select it , now giving it a slightly different gradient of greys and whites. Now bring the duplicated gradient layer down. arrange it beneath both the other layers, and position as shown in fig.9. It should be a visible from both sides as 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) Let's create the glass portion. Make a circle of the same size of the orb in any color and place it behind the other layers.

Step 12) Just like the first outer orb, give it the same type of inner-glow effect, and bring it forward 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 -Create a white gradient reflection like in the red circle, in a new layer above the glass layer, to have a more realistic lighting effect. You will have to adjust the settings as needed to make it as realistic looking as possible.

Step 15. Now select the base layers, ie the grey metal gradient layers and the white elipse, and merge them together. After this press Cntrl+U to adjust the hue of the layer. Since it's grey, click on colorize, and adjust to a redish colour in keeping with the colour of the orb itself.

Step 16. Finally give a very slight drop shadow to the upper portion of the red orb, just to attain more realism. Secondly the lower portion seems off. SO create a new layer above the red lower orb portion. Then select the radial gradient tool, and select the white to nothing option. Now drag from somewhere above the red to a little bit in. Erase portions that arent contained within the red portion. Check Fig.16. to see the effect.

Now your glass ball is done. Any items can be showcased inside there now, just make sure they have a good reflection added on. This effect will give the base a shiny and realistic look.

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