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Learn how to make a glass ball effect. This is an advanced tutorial for which you'll need to be comfortable with layer manipulation.








First of all you'll need a background image. For the tutorial I'll use a background I've made for one of my gallery pieces.

Duplicate the background on to a new layer (we'll call it "sphere bg" for later referal).


Make a new layer ("circle") and using the elliptical markee tool, make a perfect circle selection. Fill it with white and set the layer to screen mode. set opacity to 10%.
(on the pic it's still at 100%)


Make a new layer ("dark") and get the selection from "circle" (Ctrl+click the layer).
Reset the default colors (hit D) the using the circular gradient tool, make a gradient that goes from transparent to black (you may have to mess around with the gradient option palette) as illustrated.


Go back to the "sphere bg" layer and get the selection from "circle" (Ctrl+click on the layer). Now apply Filters>Deform>Spherize with effect at 100%.


Now we have to take care of the highlights to finish up the image.
Make a new layer on top of all others ("light"). Get the selection from "circle" (Ctrl+click the layer) and apply Selection>Modify>Contract with a setting of about 10 pixels (depends on image size and resolution - the bigger the image, the bigger the contraction).
Make an alpha channel of the resulting selection. Go to the resulting channel and move the selection a few pixels down and to the right. Make sure you move it the same amount in both directions (hold shift to restrain angle movement).
Now fill the selection with black. You should get a result approaching the one on the left.


Go back to the "light" layer and get the selection from the alpha channel.
Fill with white and apply Filters>Blur>Gaussian blur
with settings of about 7 pixels (this is another image size/res dependent setting).
Now set the layer to screen mode and opacity to about 35%.
Your image should resemble the one on the left.


Duplicate the "light" layer and rotate the new layer by 180°. Move the layer down/right until it seems right. Set opacity to about 20%.

Duplicate the "light" layer again and set the new layer to color dodge mode with opacity around 85% (depends on how much shine you want).

Wow - You're finally done !

This tutorial was made for someone who asked me. please email me to give me your thoughts, ways of improving and to tell me how hard you found it so I can make a difficulty rating on future tutorials. thanx a bunch :o)
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