Jan 9, 2013

Photoshop Buttons UI Tutorial

Charles Patterson
Jan 9th, 2013 - 5 mins read

I’m kicking off my first ever blog post with a freebie tutorial, how nice! Over the coming months we’re going to be releasing free PSD’s along with step-by-step tutorials on how to make them yourself.



This is a User Interface tutorial on how to make some awesome looking buttons which you can use for pretty much anything be it social icons, badges, anything! I’ve designed this tutorial for a photoshop novice so anyone can follow it, I’ve tried to make it as ‘step-by-step’ as possible. Enjoy and tell us about it when you’ve finished!


You can download the PSD of these buttons at the bottom of this blog post.


Step 1 – Background Gradient


To start click File>New to bring up your new PSD file. I’ve set my dimensions to 800px by 600px at 72px Resolution.

In the colour palette, set your foreground colour to #eceff6 and your background colour to #bec1cc.

At the bottom of the layers panel click on the icon that’s a half black, half white circle, then select Gradient from the list.



Click on the gradient drop down arrow then select the first gradient in the gradient palette. This gradient is made up from the colours we’ve selected in our colour palette.

Tip – Natural gradients look best when choosing a single colour and using a light and darker version of it.



Step 2 – Creating and aligning the circles


Using the Eclipse tool found in the left hand column, create a perfect circle by clicking on the artboard whilst holding down shift and dragging the cursor. The keyboard shortcut to this is ‘U’.

Duplicate the circle three times by right clicking on the circle layer in the layers panel and selecting duplicate. Using the move tool, roughly align the circles to where you want them to be distance wise. It doesn’t have to be perfect as we’re going to neaten everything up next.



Now select all three of the circles in the layers palette by holding down cmd(mac)/ctrl(windows) and clicking on each layer. With these now selected, click on the align options which are highlighted in red below.



Tip – To align the three circles central to the artboard, put them all in a group folder which is located at the bottom of the layers panel. Select the folder and the background together and align appropriately.


Step 3 – Styling


Select one of the circles in the layer palette then click on the fx button located at the bottom of the layers panel. Select the appropriate style in the left hand column then you can adjust the styles. The settings I have for my layer styles can be seen below…



Once you’ve adjusted all of the styles to how you want we can save this as a new layer style. Click ‘New Style…’ in the right hand side of the window and it will save your settings to the styles panel.




Select the remaining two circles in the layers panel and apply the layer style by clicking on the one we just created.




Step 4 – Creating a realistic shadow



Duplicate one of the already existing circles and remove all the layer styles until you’re left with a plain circle. Make it black by double clicking on the layer thumbnail in the layers panel, then choose black with the colour picker. Make the black circle a tiny bit smaller than the circle button, you can do this by pressing cmd+T(mac)/ctrl+T(windows). When the transform controls appear around the circle, click on a corner and hold down shift and alt at the same time and adjust the size.


By clicking shift and alt at the same time we are maintaining the aspect ratio and changing the size from the center.



From the menu bar select Filter>blur>motionblur. Set the angle to 90 degrees so it blurs from top to bottom.



Using the marquee tool, select the bottom half of the blurred circle and add a layer mask which is located at the bottom of the layers panel, it is the icon with a circle in the middle of a rectangle. This will hide the rest of the layer as we only want the bottom half visible. Move the blurred circle layer underneath the styled circle layer.


Tip – Adjust the opacity to achieve a more realistic looking shadow, try between 25%-75%



Now we’re left with a pretty sweet looking button! You can add any kind of icon you want in the middle of this and it will look good 😉


Step 5 – Bevel and Emboss



This is a really simple step which should only take a minute. I’ve created a larger circle which is a layer underneath the button we’ve created in the previous step. To this layer i’ve added a darker gradient than the background and these styles below…


I’ve also applied a drop shadow, inner shadow and a gradient to this layer but I don’t need to show you, you know how to do that now =D

Remember, this is just a guide, you can mess about with the gradients and colours to be however you want. Go ahead and download the freebie PSD and mess around with the styles. Hope you’ve enjoyed the tutorial and stay tuned, we’ve got some more coming!



[download id=”10″ format=”Standard”]

Charles Patterson
Jan 9th, 2013 - 5 mins read