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Create a Shining and Glowing Orb in Photoshop – Easy Photoshop Techniques

You know the cool graphics ABC uses to advertise their network and shows? It’s a floating orb-like ball that positively shines with crystal clear clarity. They also throw some pixie-dust-like-confetti on it, behind it and all around it that gives it motion. It’s absolutely beautiful and brilliant.

If you’re designing for print or online (without having the option of animation) you can closely replicate the orb for your clients using Photoshop. And you can do it without any fancy third-party filters.

Here’s how…

Step 1
In your document, create a new layer and draw an oval using the marquee tool (hold the shift key down to keep the oval a perfect circle). Fill the oval using the GRADATION TOOL (use the radial setting); try light blue to dark blue on the outside edge. When filling the oval with the gradation, try offsetting the starting point to the top left and draw to the bottom right. This will give you a highlight in the top left quarter of the oval.

Step 2
From the Photoshop LAYERS PALLET filters (click on the little ‘fx’ at bottom left of the pallet) and select ‘INNER GLOW’; Blend Mode: Multiply (or try other blend options for different results); select a darker blue color and in the ELEMENTS section vary the SIZE slider to your desire. Click OK.

Your oval now has a darker edge but the lighter area at the top left is intact.

Title this layer, ‘orb’.

Step 3
Create another layer above the ‘orb’ layer. Draw another oval using the oval marquee tool – but make this one about 30% smaller.

On the TOOLS MENU, change the top color square to white and using the GRADATION TOOL set at square blend, fill the smaller oval with white to transparent (transparent at the bottom). Don’t blend all the way to the bottom of the oval – stop about 3/4 down.

Click off the marquee oval to set the gradation.

Title this layer, ‘highlight’.

(You now have two layers)

Step 4
Select both layers and using the ALIGN options on the top menu bar, center vertically the two ovals.

Allow some space between the top of both ovals – you’ll want to be able to see the back oval with the front oval slightly down from the top.

Step 5
Using the TRANSFORM CONTROLS, grab the center bottom handle of the oval on the ‘highlight’ layer and drag up to about 1/3 of it’s size. Do not hold the shift key down – we want the ‘highlight’ oval to be flatter in appearance.

Now rotate the ‘highlight’ oval so it is roughly over the lightest area of the main (or ‘orb’) layer. EDIT à TRANSFORM à ROTATE.

Step 6
Create a new layer and draw another flattened oval a little smaller than the ‘orb’. Give this oval a feather of 3 pixels (if you’re working at 72dpi – 10-14pixels if you’re working at 300dpi). Fill it with a darker blue color – almost black. Deselect the oval and position it below the ‘orb’ and slightly to the right. Change the opacity to 25% or to taste.

Title this layer ‘drop shadow’. You can apply blur from the FILTERS top menu if you desire. Also, if seems to large or small or the color isn’t right just try it making the shadow again.

(This is your third layer)

And that’s it!

You have just created a floating orb like ABC uses for their programming. You can add confetti or pixie dust or swirls if you want. Of course, with trial and error you’ll learn to paste images into the orb and using the WARP TRANSFORM controls you can sculpt the graphic to appear distorted on the edges. Or you can copy a background image with the oval selection and paste that copy into a new layer -just repeat from step 2 to achieve that ‘LOST’ ABC logo look… Do whatever you want because…

Hey! You’re the designer!

Free and easy Photoshop techniques and tutorials from a veteran graphics design industry professional specializing in freelance design that is On Time, On Budget and Good. Go to for more information.

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