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by Wendi Elizabeth Martha Scarth


Glossy Navigation 
Buttons; Elements


This is a Photoshop Elements Tutorial - Click Here!

 Create Graduated Navigation Buttons From Scratch
  Suitable for Adobe Photoshop Elements Editor
Skill Level - Intermediate Plus

Gradient Navigation Buttons Photoshop Elements
Transparent Navigation Button Photoshop Elements
Gradient Navigation Buttons Photoshop Elements
Gradient Navigation Buttons Photoshop Elements
Transparent Navigation Button Photoshop Elements

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This tutorial demonstrates how to create a glossy graduated navigation button from scratch.

Undo Note
You can step backwards at any time by clicking the top menu’s Undo Tool.

Eyecandy Perspective Shadow Note
I applied an Eyecandy 5 Impact Perspective Shadow to my circular navigation button.

Open a New Transparent Blank File and set following attributes. (Ctrl/Cmd then N).

I am purposely making my navigation button large; you may want to make your button smaller. A good size canvas size to work with is around 200 Pixels by 100 Pixels. If you are applying a Perspective Shadow to your button, remember to leave plenty of room for it.

Centralise your Transparent Canvas by snapping it to the top menu’s orange horizontal line.

Now, set the Foreground and Background Colour Swatches to a lighter and a darker shade of blue - or select colours you prefer, perhaps green or purple.


My Alternative Colour Swatch Examples


Colour Swatches Note
If you are following my tutorial exactly, setting the Foreground Colour Swatch to a darker colour than the Background Colour Swatch will produce a navigation button that’s darker at the top, and gradually becomes lighter further down, (from top to bottom). Swapping the Foreground and Background Colour Swatches reverses this effect, and will produce a lighter gradient at the top, that becomes darker near the bottom. (Tapping your Keyboard’s X Key swaps the Foreground and Background Colours).

Now, from the Toolbar, activate the Rounded Rectangle Tool.

And set the following attributes into its Options Bar. 

Then left-click and then drag a navigation button shape onto your canvas. I am making my button purposely large.


Simplify (Rasterise) Shape Note
Now, (to Rasterise the Shape Layer): from the Options Bar, click the following Simplify

Circular Navigation Button
To create a circular Navigation Button, activate the Elliptical Marquee Tool.

And set the following attributes into the Options Bar.

Then Shift-drag a Circular Selection Marquee onto your canvas.

Circular Navigation Button: Proceed To Chapter 5.

4/ Rectangular Navigation Button
Now, press and keep pressed the Ctrl/Cmd Key. Then simultaneously left-click over the Layer Thumbnail. This isolates the shape with a Selection Marquee. (Alternatively, you can utilise the Magic Wand Tool to isolate the shape with a Selection Marquee).


Elements 11, 12, 13, 14 & 15 - Tool Options Palette positioned at the bottom of the workspace. Although the palettes have been redesigned the tools work in more or less the same way.

5/ Circular And Rectangular Navigation Buttons
Now, from the Toolbar, activate the Gradient Tool.

And from the Options Bar, double-left-click to set the following Foreground to Background Gradient.

Now, press the Shift Key - and keeping it pressed: stretch a Gradient Line from the top of the blue shape to around three quarters of the way down - as illustrated below.

Then release the mouse button. Congratulations, you have filled your shape with graduated colour.


Circular Selection Marquee: Gradient Direction


Gradient Note
It’s important to experiment with the Gradient Line’s Direction and find a look you are happy with. By this I mean the gradient line does not have to be stretched over the full depth of the button; perhaps stop half up, or a quarter way up or down, and create a gradient you prefer.

Remove The Selection Marquee
Press Ctrl then D to remove the Selection Marquee, (Select then select None).


Circular Button Example

From the top menu, choose Layer then choose New then choose Layer. Name the New Layer Highlight and then click OK.


Now, from the Toolbar, activate the Polygonal Lasso Tool.

And set the following New selection and Feather 2 attributes into its Options Bar.

You will find this easier if you Zoom into your image .

Now, (Still working with the Highlight Layer), press and hold down your Keyboard’s Shift Key, then click-and-stretch a Lasso Line over the top of button, as demonstrated
below. (Pressing the Shift Key keeps the line straight).

For personal highlights, draw a larger, wider, thinner - or a different shaped highlight for your navigation button.

Tip - Retracing Your Steps
Whilst stretching the Lasso Line - and before the Selection Marquee has been applied: to go back one step, press either the Delete Key or the Backspace Key. Press your chosen key for however many steps you want to go back.

Cancel The Selection Marquee Tip
To cancel the Selection Marquee whilst applying it: press your Keyboard’s ESC Key.

Now, apply the Lasso Line in a complete circuit, and then pass your cursor over the exact area where you began, and then double-left-click. The Lasso Line will immediately change to a Selection Marquee - as illustrated below.

Reposition The Selection Marquee
If necessary, left-click inside the Selection Marquee and drag it to another position.

Additional Highlights
To apply additional highlights to your button; change the Polygonal Lasso Tool’s Mode from New selection to Add to selection, and then draw additional highlights as necessary.

Return your navigation button to its original size by right-clicking over it with the Zoom Tool and selecting Zoom out from the subsequent drop-down list.

Circular Button Example (Set Polygonal Lasso
Feather To Around 6 Pixels)

Now, press your Keyboard’s D Key. This sets the default Black and White Foreground and Background Colour Swatches.

Then press Ctrl/Cmd and then tap the Backspace Key. This fills the Selection Marquee with the Background Swatch, which has been set the White.  (Repeatedly tapping Ctrl/Cmd and the Backspace Key deepens the white fill).

Whiter/Fainter Highlight Tips
For a whiter highlight, right-click the Highlight Layer, and then choose Duplicate Layer from the subsequent drop-down list. To fade the Highlight, reduce the Highlight Layer’s Opacity.


Circular Navigation Button Example

Gaussian Blur Note
If you need to fade the highlight: - from the top menu, choose Filter then choose Blur then choose Gaussian Blur. From the subsequent Gaussian Blur dialogue box, experiment with the Radius setting, and then click OK.

Now, from the Toolbar, activate the Burn Tool.

And enter the following Highlights and Exposure settings into the Options Bar.

For personal result, experiment with different Exposure settings.

Now, working on the Highlight Layer: give your button depth by left-clicking and darkening its edges and sides - as illustrated below. 

Take your time and build up the darkening effect very slowly.

Undo Note
If you over darken an area then return your image to a pervious state by clicking the top menu’s Undo Arrow, and reapply the Burn Tool.


Dodge Tool Tip
You can take this further by creating lighter areas using the Dodge Tool.

Transparent Navigation Buttons
To create a transparent button, first create a Fill Layer and fill it with your choice of Solid Colour, Pattern or Gradient. Then drag the Fill Layer below the Navigation Button’s Layer: then lower the Button Layer’s Opacity - as demonstrated below.


Prior to Merging the Layers, you may want to save your button as a PSD File.

From the top menu, choose Layer and then choose Merge Visible.

Drop Shadow Tip
To apply a Drop Shadow, from the top menu, choose Layer then choose Layer Style and then choose Style Settings. From the subsequent Style Settings dialogue box, enter Drop Shadow settings of your choice and then click OK

Perspective Shadow Note
You may prefer to apply an Eyecandy Perspective Shadow.

Elements 11, 12, 13, 14 & 15 - Tool Options Palette positioned at the bottom of the workspace. Although the palettes have been redesigned the tools work in more or less the same way.

Crop Tool Tip
Activate the Crop Tool.

And then crop away extraneous transparent pixels.


Tip: Create A Fill Layer
Link Here to learn how to fill your button’s transparent background with either a Solid Colour, Pattern or Gradient of your choice. Creating a Fill Layer lets you blend your button with a specific background colour, so the button appears seamlessly. For example, I have created a Pattern Fill Fill Layer and because I have utilised the same Canvas Pattern as this tutorial’s background, my blue navigation button seamlessly blends with this page - as illustrated below. 


Congratulations, your Graduated Navigation Button is now ready for its Text. 

Now you are familiar with this technique you can have lots of fun creating personalised graduated navigation buttons.

Wendi E M Scarth. 
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