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Smooth Objects

Alan Hettinger Web Layout Jan 28, 2005

Making smooth shapes for a futuristic interface can be difficult, but not if you know how to cheat! This tutorial will teach you how to make a smooth shape from an angular outline.

Open photoshop, make a new blank layer, and switch to the channels palette. (WINDOW > CHANNELS if you can’t find it). Now create a new channel (It will be named Alpha 1 by default).

image 1

Make sure your foreground color is white, and select the polygonal lasso tool. (It’s behind the regular lasso tool).

Make an angular selection like this one, then fill it with white. (ALT + DEL to fill).

image 2  image 3

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Now you have a pretty chunky object, so lets make it smooth. Deselect (CTRL + D) and Gaussian Blur (FILTER > BLUR > GAUSSIAN BLUR) your object. Blur it about 10 px.

Now it’s smooth, but the edges are all blurry, and we don’t really want that, so let’s fix it in the next step, this sentence has too many commas.

image 5

Let’s adjust the levels (IMAGE > ADJUSTMENTS > LEVELS) so that your graph looks something like this. Move the two outside arrows in towards the middle. Click “OK” and like magic, your object is now smooth and the edges are defined.

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Now with your “Alpha 1” channel highlighted, click the dotted circle at the bottom of the palette. This will turn your alpha channel into a selection on your layer. Click back over to the layers palette, and click on the “Layer 1” you created at the beginning of this tutorial. see your selection?

image 7

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Now we can fill it with a nice gradient. Use these colors and the linear gradient tool. Drag down from the top of the selection to the bottom.

Deselect (CTRL + D).

image 9  image 10

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Double click the layer and add a drop shadow distance=0 size=3 opacity=50, then add an inner shadow with a distance=0 size=15 opacity=15.

This just adds a little variation in the shading so that the object doesn’t look so flat.

image 12

Experiment with this technique and see what you can come up with.

Smooth Objects

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