Sunday, November 30, 2008

Slow shutter text effect with photoshop

Shotgun Mag teaches you how to create this beautiful slow shutter text effect. Back due to it’s popularity on SGM2, this new tutorial offers an enhanced method of creating this great lighting effect. By listening to your comments from SGM2 we have ensured that the new version is loads easier to follow! Get stuck in!

Ok, firstly you need to create a new document at whatever size you wish to work at. I have used 1920 x 1200 because thats the size of my screen. You do this by pressing Cmd + N, unless your going to print the final piece then use RGB as it gives you a broader range of colours to work with. If your printing, then use CMYK. I also like to work using 16bit colour or above, it makes your gradients look much smoother.

Once your workspace is setup you will need to apply a base gradient (1. + 2.) Select the gradient tool by holding the mouse button down on the fill tool, then double click the gradient just below the menu bar. You now have the opportunity to create a custom gradient. Experiment by adding in different colours (click just below gradient bar & click color to change it) and moving them around (drag colour pointer left and right)
Once your happy click OK. Drag your gradient line whilst holding Shift to make sure you get an even gradient. If your not happy then try again, just hit Cmd + Shift + Z.
Now you have a good base it’s time to create the path. This will eventually be the text itself so you need to try and be as artistic as possible. Having some knowledge of paths will help quite a lot so to complement this tutorial nicely we have created a really easy to follow Paths tutorial, click here to read it now.

Create your new layer and select the Pen Tool (1.) and select the options below the menu bar as shown in the diagram. Now all you have to do is draw and drag (2.) your points until you have a flowing piece of text or some other dynamic shape, a smooth curvy line works best.

Now you need to stroke your line with a fine white brush. Select the brush tool and set the size to 2px (1.) Now click the paths tab in the layers menu and then click the Brush button (2.) This will stroke your line with white which represents the lights source and it’s brightest part.

To create a realistic outer glow don’t use the default settings! Right click on your new layer and select blending options, then select the outer glow option which will give you the menu shown in the diagram (1.) Now adjust the settings so they match the ones in the diagram. If your using a different overall colour then select once close to it, I have used a slightly lighter green than the background.
You now have a decent glowing path. The next part of the tutorial explains how to customize the whole image and make it unique so don’t feel limited by what you do next, it’s all about experimenting! There are lots of uses for this effect such as simulating moving lights in photo’s, creating cool masked animated light in flash, or just creating illustrations. We are creating a static wallpaper so if your ready, lets continue…

Firstly, we are going to enhance the background layer with some more simulated light. Do this by selecting a nice complementary colour in it’s brightest shade (1.) and a big 300px brush. The rest is up to you, but I recommend working on a fresh layer as this gives you the flexibility to build up a few colours. It also helps if you don’t like how its going, a bigger brush sometimes helps.
Once your happy with the background you will probably want to add some depth by copying your original linework. Do this by dragging the glowing line layer onto the new layer button in the layers menu twice (1.) This will look like to much at first but the next stage will really improve the image.
Go to the menu and click Filter > Blur > Guassian Blur and apply about a strength 5 blur. With this layer selected slightly rotate it using Cmd + T and you may want to distort it by holding Cmd and dragging a corner when the transform handles appear.
To add a really dynamic moving effect get your second duplicated layer and apply a radial blur to it. Do this by going to the menu and clicking Filter > Blur > Radial blur. Playing with different strengths will help you get the look thats right for your image. Its fairly strong on my piece hence the very opaque look. Less strength will create a more ‘ vibrational ‘ effect.
Finally I have added a few ways of making your artwork even more distinctive. The possibilities are endless but here’s what I’ve done.

Another new glowing text layer with a red glow has been added to bring in some contrast. In order to stop it overriding the main text I have used the eraser on the line crossovers.
To bring out the line connections I have used the dodge tool on a 50% strength. This can be found by holding down the mouse button on the 14th tool on the toolbar. Set it up like you would a brush and get creative. It sometimes works best if you flatten the entire image before you get started.
Finally, to add some adjustable contrast to the image I flattened the whole thing and copied it to another layer (like I did earlier with the path itself). Selecting the Overlay blending mode and adjusting it’s opacity will give you a ‘ deeper ‘ image.

A nice variation of the Slow Shutter 2 tutorial finished as a wallpaper for you to download and use for free on your computer. click the image above for download.


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Create a 3D Glossy Box Logo in Photoshop

Create a 3D Glossy Box Logo in Photoshop

Step 1 - Creating the Background

Choosing colors for a background is important because it will influence how your image stands out. Since we are going to be creating a vibrant glossy box, let’s use a dark background. Create a new document, mine is 256×256px for the purpose of this tutorial. Set a dark gray, #363636, as your foreground color and black, #000000, as your background color.

Once you have your colors selected, grab your Gradient Tool and create a radial gradient near the center of your document as shown in the image below.

Since we want the box to appear as though it is on a surface and not floating in the air, we are going to add another gradient. On a new layer, make a selection about 90px tall from the bottom of your document (depends on the size of your document). Create a radial gradient closer to the left side and towards the top of the selection so that it looks like the one in the image below.

Step 2 - Creating the Box

Now that we have our background, we need to create our actual box. To begin, simply create a selection about 100×100px and fill it with a nice blue color, such as #0062b3.

Since we want our box to have some perspective, we are going to need to transform it by going to Edit > Transform > Perspective. Bring the top right and bottom right corners of the box towards the center of the side a small amount and complete your transformation.

Then go to Edit > Free Transform and drag the right side to the left a small amount, to compensate for the perspective that you applied. You want your box to look like a square, keeping in mind how perspective affects the way your eyes see an object.

Now that we have the right shape, let’s change the color. Grab your linear gradient tool and create a light blue (#0080c3) to dark blue (#004893) gradient from the bottom left to the top right of the box.

With the right side of the box complete, lets move on to the left side. Create a duplicate (Right click layer > Duplicate) of the right side of your box and flip it horizontally (Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal).

Then simply apply another perspective transformation (Edit > Transform > Perspective) of greater value, and drag the left side in even more. This will give the illusion that the left side of the box is viewable, but it is not the main side of the box. Depending on your tastes, you may want to create a new linear gradient for the left side to make it look a little more unique.

Notice that my box is near the center of the gradient for the surface we created. It also is low enough so that it appears that the entire bottom of the box is touching the surface. It is coming along great!

Step 3 - Creating the Gloss Effect

We have a great looking box already, but the style we are going for is glossy. We are going to accomplish this using a few different steps which can be difficult sometimes, so take your time here.

Lets start by applying a layer style effect called Satin to both of our box layers. this is going to give the box a neat effect that looks great underneath the gloss. It will also make the edges a little brighter than the center of the box, which matches the effect that I wanted.

On a new layer, make a selection of your right box layer by Ctrl+Clicking on the thumbnail for the layer. Grab your linear gradient tool and change it to Foreground to Transparent, with white (#FFFFFF) as your foreground. Create a gradient from the bottom left to the top right of the selection. Once the gradient is created, lower the Opacity of the layer to around 20%.

Now grab your Polygonal Lasso Tool and select part of the bottom of the gradient and delete it.

Repeat the process for the left box, making sure that the area of the gradient that you delete fits with the perspective of the box. I also lowered the opacity of the left gloss to around 10% or 15%.

Step 4 - Placing the Type

Choose a font type that you would like to use for your text, I chose Myriad Pro set to Bold and 60pt size.

Now, I want the text to fit along the same perspective of the box, but Photoshop doesn’t allow perspectives to be placed on text. To get around this, right click the text layer and go to Rasterize Type. This will change the text layer into a normal object layer. Now I can apply a perspective to it, and I will do the same things I did for the right box, bring the top right and bottom right sides in and move the right side to the left a little.

Then apply the following layer styles:

Gradient Overlay



I’m going to place some extra text around my image and use Gradient Overlay effects to give them a unique look.

Step 5 - Creating the Reflection

Our image looks pretty good at this point and we could stop if we wanted to. However, this isn’t the effect I was going for. I really want my image to stand out with vibrant glows and colors, so let’s keep adding some effects.

Drag both of your box layers and both of the gloss layers into a new group (Layer > New > Group). Then duplicate that group (Right click layer > Duplicate). Go to Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical to flip the new layer group upside down.

Now we need to make the sides of the reflection touch the sides of the box, so shift+click the right box layer and the right gloss layer inside of your reflection group. Go to Edit > Transform > Skew and drag the right side of the layers up until they meet with the bottom of the box. Do the same for the left side of the box. Then lower the opacity of the group to around 50%.

Step 6 - Making the Box Glow

As of now, our box just looks like a blue colored box sitting on a reflective surface. I want to give the appearance that the box is glowing, so that it increases the dramatic look of the image.

Go back down to your table layer and make a new layer above it. Ctrl+click the thumbnail for your table layer to make a selection of it. Now grab a large soft brush, mine is around 300px, with a color to match your box, #196dad. Make a single brush mark that centers around your box.

Now create a layer underneath the table and make another brush mark to go over the background. Lower the opacity of the layer to around 50%.

Step 7 - Creating the Sky Lights

I’ve almost got the results I set out for. The box immediately grabs attention and has a nice glow to it, but it isn’t as vibrant as I want it to be. Adding some sky lights should help.

Create a new layer underneath your box group. Make a selection of the right box, and move the selection up about 30-50px. Make a white to transparent gradient in your selection and lower the opacity of the layer to 50%. Then apply a new gradient overlay:

Repeat the same process for the left box.

Finally, on a new layer, use a 5px brush with a nice light color, such as #54e0ff, and brush at the three viewable corners. Then use a larger soft brush, such as a 30px brush, and erase the tips to make them look more like sky lights.

Experiment and Expand

As always, try new things and different styles. You’d be amazed at what things you can come up with on accident. By adding a curves layer (Layer > New Adjustments Layer > Curves) I can make the box appear more vibrant.


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Photoshop Space Tutorial

final photoshop space result

Photoshop Stars

Follow the tutorial steps below to create the faint background stars.

star noise

Create monochromatic noise

constrast the stars

Image >> Adjust >> Brightness/Contrast. Play with settings until you get a result similar to above.

second star noise

Repeat the first step

constrast on the stars again

Repeat the brightness/contrast adjustment again, repeat these two steps repeatedly, 6-8 times tends to provide a nice dense yet realistic star field.


difference clouds effect

Create a new layer with a black background and add the difference cloud filter. Filters >> Render >> Difference clouds. Make sure to have your foreground and background colors to black/white which will give you the constrasty 'vain-like' effect. Press CTRL-F to repeat the filter multiple times until it looks detailed.

blending mode and fill blending mode result

Set the new cloud layer to the blending mode of Screen and set the Fill or Opacity to around 33.

dodge and burn

Merge the two layers together so you are left with only one. Then using the dodge and burn tools I simply used a round soft brush to paint values higher and lower to make things more dynamic.


Add a colorized hue layer and select a color you would like to work with this will adjust the gray tones to new monochromatic tones. You may also choose to create multiple hue layers and mask them in order to vary the colors. Once finished merge all these layers to the bottom one.

color dodge

Using the color dodge tool with a small soft brush start very small ( around 2 or 3 pixels ) and click repeatedly until the are is white, make the brush slightly bigger, and press a few less times, make the brush bigger and repeat until it appears glowing.

Photoshop Planets


On two new layers, create two black circles which will become planets.

planet shading

With a planet selected take a round soft brush and press and drag along the outside of the selection which will fill in the lit side. Continue to play around with this, it takes careful lighting to get the desired effect.

save planet selections

Select each planet and save it as a new selection for use later when merged with our bottom layer. Now merge the planets with the bottom layer.

color dodge planets

Now with the layers merged its easier to use the color dodge tool to brush the edge of the planets making them 'glow'.

lens flare

Use the lens flare filter and set the flare point to the lit point of the planet which adds nice depth to the image. The result is not as pretty as the sample above, but I could not possibly document the level of detail work that really goes into an image like that but these techniques will get you heading in the right direction.


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Basic about The Pen Tool

From our experience at Shotgun Front we have found that one of the most basic tools in Photoshop is still not being used correctly.We thought it was about time that a decent, fully comprehensive tutorial on the pen tool and its uses with your own artwork was available online, so here it is.

Ok, for those of you who don’t know, the Pen Tool is used to create line shapes called paths. Paths are used as a route for a brush to follow, an outline to cut out an image, an easily variable shape to animate with and also a good way to translate compressed imagery to print equipment. The great thing about paths is that they are adjustable, create a very clean line and enable really smooth curves & shapes.

(1.) When you hold down the mouse on the pen tool you get five options, however, I use shortcuts which i’ll explain later as they save a serious amount of time. The option you want to select is the standard pen tool.
(2.) Up on the menu bar there is the option to save a preset version of the tool so once you have setup to use it the quick way (our way) then you can save the settings here if you like.
(3.) We are specifically talking about paths rather than shape layers (which I never use by the way) so select the second button on the first row of three options. The buttons to the right of this allow you to use the freeform version of the pen tool and preset shapes which are not being discussed here as they are fairly basic to get to grips with once this tutorial is done. If its not selected already then chose the first button.
(4.) I have Auto Add/Delete turned on as it saves time. The next row of buttons allows you to connect, intersect blah blah blah. I us the last option (Exclude) but it wont really effect your work here.
The first most important thing you should learn is how to quickly position your points and pull out a curve. Because you have Auto Add/Delete selected you all you have to do is click once for your first point (1.) and click again for your second point (2.) You will notice that the pen tool automatically creates a line between the points - this is your path.

In order to curve your line around objects or shape the line to your requirements you now have to add points in between your corners/ends (1.+2.) By clicking about half way down your line you will notice a new point (adjustment handle) To pull this out into a curve hold Cmd and drag away from the straight line (3.)
Try dragging the point around and see how it effects the overall shape of the curve. You will now learn how to manipulate the path to even out your curve, form corners and create other shapes.
Knowing how to manipulate the path correctly is very important. We are using the same path from the first section of this tutorial for examples sake.

(1.) Switching back to a sharp angle is very easy and often required when tracing around the edge of an awkward shape. All you have to do with your central point is simply hold Alt and Click on it. You will notice the path snap back to a sharp angle. A good way to make a perfect right angle & straight line is to frag your corner point whilst holding Shift.
(2.) To switch back to a curve again click on your corner point, hold Alt and drag the mouse upward to the right. Its a good idea to experiment here so have a play with the new adjustment handles and see what different types of curve you can create. Once again, if you hold Cmd + and drag your curve point around you will see how it can be maneuvered about. This combined with the adjustment gives you lots of flexibilty for shape creation.
(3.) To create a multi directional curve all you have to do is click the centre point, hold Alt and drag to the opposite corners. Particularly useful when you want to create a smooth curve around an object but want to keep the points to a minimum. Generally, the less points you use, the better/smoother your shape will be.
(4.) If you create a shape like this then chances are you have crossed over the path by dragging your center point the wrong way. If your going to use the path to cut out a shape then you don’t want this to happen. If your creating a path for a line to follow this is fine and works really well with our Slow Shutter tutorial.
As I mentioned before, creating your desired shape with the smallest number of points possible will result in smoother curves. Its actually possible to create a smooth ellipse or circle with just two points when the adjustment handles are used as you position the points rather than editing them after they have been placed. This will help you speed up your creation of shapes and create better shapes all together…

(1.) Click and hold the mouse button down to create your first point but rather than letting go drag the mouse up until you see a long vertical adjustment line. This now means you have created a point that will cause a curve straight away when you click your next point.
(2.) Click your second point to the right but again, don’t let go. Drag downwards and you will notice the top line is curved without a central point. All you have to do when you wish to connect a paths ends together is click on the open point you wish to connect to. You can now adjust your ellipse as normal by holding Alt and dragging your adjustment handles.

By now you probably have the main jist of how to position and adjust points. But what are the uses of creating good paths? and how do you apply these to your artwork? - Find out now…
(1.) A standard path can be deselected by holding Cmd and clicking anywhere on the screen. To re-select it hold Cmd and click on it again. This will be useful if you are creating multiple unconnected shapes but want to apply the same effect to all of them.
(2.) Although I rarely use the fill tool directly on a path it’s usually quicker than creating a selection first although I don’t think it’s as flexible. To use this just select a foreground colour and click the button shown in the diagram above (2.) This can be found in the Paths toolbox (see the tab on the layers toolbox…)
(3.) Tracing a line shape with a brush is a great for smooth artwork, illustrations and changing animations. All you have to do is select a suitable brush, it works with any size, shape or colour. Then click the button as shown in the diagram (3.) also located in the Paths toolbox. This will create the line on the layer your working on (see the layers toolbox) but you can save the path for use/adjustment later.
(4.) Now, I use the Convert to Selection button all the time. It gives you great flexibility when you want to simulate lighting on an object because you can just use a brush within it or gradient fill it etc etc. The obvious purpose however is for cutting out an object. Because paths are adjustable you can work your way around an image and just click convert (4.) which is also found in the Paths toolbox. Your then free to copy and paste, delete, stroke or overlay your object perfectly!

flash pack
To save you time we have put together our last 3 vector packs into one post, download them all here free and use them in your artwork how you wish. There’s no limitation on that by the way, commercial use is allowed!

Our vector packs come in .eps format meaning you can enlarge the artwork to any scale without loosing any quality. As we know some photoshop users have a few problems when using vectors we have put together a short tutorial on importing various file types into Photoshop. Click here to view it…
Please give credit when sharing online, thanks.


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