How to add a metallic look to your design in Photoshop


Today, I am going to teach you how to add a metallic look to your designs. This is a beginners Photoshop tutorial and it will cover some basic Photoshop techniques. After completing this tutorial, you will be comfortable using the custom symbols tool as well as adding layer styles to a symbol or even text.  You can use this technique to add metallic elements to your logo design, business cards or even your stationery design.

Level: Beginner

Required: Photoshop CS

Here is a picture of the metallic symbol that we are going to create:

Here is a FREE SAMPLE to download, click here to download.


Step 1: Creating your background

Create a new document with a width of 500px and a height of 500px. In order to add a background gradient to your file, you will need to choose two colours that you would like to use in your gradient. You need to set these two colours as your foreground and background colours. The colours I used were #6ed1fb for the foreground and #107fae for the background.

Next, choose the gradient tool from the toolbar on the left of your screen. In the gradient menu which is visible along the top of the document, select the radial gradient. Drag out this gradient from the middle of your document. You can drag out your gradient as much as you like until you are happy with how your background looks.

Step 2: Adding depth to the background

I find that the background that we have created thus far is a little plain so I wanted to show you a simple step that will add a little bit more depth to your design.

First, add a new layer to your document. Choose the brush tool from your toolbar. Looking at the brush menu that is now visible at the top of your document, select a large soft brush. Make sure that your foreground colour is set to back and trace the edges of your background. Once this is done, switch the layer's opacity to 30%. Your background should now look something like this:

Background with black added

I feel that the black outline looks a little harsh so I want to smooth it out by adding a Gaussian blur. Choose Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur and set the radius to 20 pixels. Your background design should now look much smoother:

Background after Gaussian Blur

Step 3: Adding your custom symbol

Create a new layer and select the custom symbol tool from your toolbar. If you can't find it, it is probably because it is hidden behind the rectangle tool. Once you've selected the custom symbol tool, look at the menu at the top of your document and choose the symbol that you would like to use for your design. I chose one of the leaf designs but you can choose any symbol that you want. Add this symbol to your stage.

Step 4: Adding metallic to your design

Right click on the layer that has your symbol on it and choose Blending Options. This will open your layer styles dialogue box.

First, we need to add a drop shadow to your symbol. Below are the settings that I used. Feel free to play with these settings so that fully understand how they work.

Drop Shadow Settings

Next, we need to add a stroke to our design. Still inside the layer styles dialogue box, I set the stoke to 4px and the position to inside. I also switched the Fill Type to Gradient and then used e a nice grey and white gradient.

stroke settings

Next, we need to add a Gradient Overlay to your symbol. Select the Gradient Overlay and use the same gradient that you used for the stroke. Your symbol should now have a metallic shine to it.

gradient overlay settings

Finally, you need to set your Bevel and Emboss options in your layer styles dialogue box. Set the Contour to 50% and use the following settings for the Bevel and Emboss:

Bevel and Emboss Settings

Congratulations! Your metallic design is now complete. Remember that you can use this same technique to create your logo design or even to add a metallic element to your business cards or stationery design. You can even add this metallic effect to fonts.

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