In this tutorial, we’ll combine simple vector shapes, layer styles, and lots of glitter to create the perfect magnifier for your Search icon, if necessary. Let’s start!

Translator’s note: The author gives his names to the layers so that he can easily navigate by them. If you wish, you can call them in your own way or leave them as they are. Just keep in mind, we will go back to some layers.

Version: Photoshop CS4, presumably elapsed time: 30 minutes.

You can also watch the video version of the lesson.

Step 1. Open a new blank document, with a resolution of 512 pixels for width and height. We will create a front view magnifying glass illuminated from the top left corner.
Select Ellipse tool (U) (Tool “Ellipse”). Pinch together Shift and Alt, draw the correct circle at the top right corner of the document. Shrinking the Shift key will create the correct circle, and Alt will stretch it in the center (1a). Rename the layer to “outer rim”, double-click on the layer to open the layer styles and add Gradient overlay (Gradient overlay), select colors as shown below (from light gray to white) (1b).

Step 2. Duplicate the layer and reduce the size of the circle, rename it to “inner rim” (2a) for convenience. Change parameters Gradient overlay (Gradient overlay) – change the vertical position of the colors and darken the top (2b). Add a Inner shadow (Inner shadow) (2c).

Step 3. Make a copy of the “inner rim” layer, slightly reduce the size and name the new circle “lens” (3a). Change again Gradient overlay (Overlay gradient) on a nice blue shade (3b). Remove style Inner shadow (Inner shadow). Add a Bevel and Emboss (Embossed) for convexity (3c). Then add Inner glow (Internal glow) to create a shadow around the edges (3d). You can now Rasterize all layers (3e).

Step 4. Select the “outer rim” layer. Select Burn Tool (O) (Dimmer tool), the brush is large, round, soft (4a) and darken the places shown in image 4b. Now select Dodge tool (O) (Brightener tool), change the brush as shown in image 4c and lighten those portions shown in image 4d. So we added a subtle external reflection to the frame of the lens.

Step 5. We make a glowing icon, for this we will add a clear reflection. Using tool Elliptical Marquee Tool and (M) (Oval Region tool) select the upper half of the outer rim (5a). Click Ctrl+J to create a new layer from the selection. Call it “outer rim refl”, change the blending mode to Screen (Lightening), Opacity at 40% (5b).

Step 6. Select the “inner rim” layer. Using the same techniques as in Step 4 (Dimmer and Brightener tools) increase the illumination, darken the upper half and lighten the lower half.

Step 7. Add a clear reflection of the light in the “lens” layer using the method described in Step 5: select the top half (7a), create a new layer by copying with a keyboard shortcut Ctrl+J and change the blending mode to Screen (Lightening), Opacity at 40% (7b).

Step 8. Select all layers and merge them into one group, calling it “lens”. Now we will make a pen. Choose a tool Rounded rectangle tool (U) (Rounded Rectangle tool) with a radius of 10px (8a). Create a black rectangle “handle” (8b). Via Rectangular marquee tool (M) (Rectangular Area tool) create a selection of three thin strips (8c). How to do it? First make one selection, then hold down the key Shift and do the remaining two. The Shift key adds a selection (the Alt key is used for deletion). Pinch together Shift+Ctrl+J to cut and paste strips in a new layer. Rename the layer to “rings” and temporarily disable the layer by clicking on the left eye on the Layers Palette. On the “handle” layer, select the top (8d) by clicking Shift+Ctrl+J create a new layer through selection. Call it “handle top”.

Step 9. Select the “rings” layer and add horizontal Gradient overlay (Gradient overlay) (9a) and Inner glow (Inner Glow) (9b), they now look rounded and have taken the shadow of other parts of the pen. Resize horizontally so that the stripes are narrower than the handle (9c).

Step 10. Add a Gradient overlay (Gradient overlay) for the “layer”: leave the right side black and light the left side (10a). Similar style Gradient overlay (Gradient overlay) add a “handle top” layer, this time use a gray tint (10b).

Step 11. Make two copies of the “handle top” layer, move, resize as shown in image 11a. Hide the reduced rectangle behind all and rename it to “neck”. Add a Inner glow (Inner Glow), as in image 11b. Merge all layers of our handle, calling the common layer “handle”. Select Burn tool (O) (Dimmer tool), set up the tool as shown in image 11c and drag the shadow along the vertical bar along the handle (11d). Now, using Dodge tool (O) (Brightener tool) add light to other areas (11e).

Step 12. Make a selection at the top and bottom of the neck with Rectangular marquee tool (M) (Rectangle tool) and click Shift+F6 to bring up the Feather menu for selected area, set the parameter to 3pix (12a). Via Burn tool (O) (Dimmer tool) Make a few strokes with a brush to darken the selected area. How it should turn out can be seen in Figure 12b.

Step 13. Also clarify the pen. On the new layer, create a white glow that matches the shape of the pen. Change the blending mode of the layer to Soft light (Soft light) (13a, 13b). Cut the upper part to a new layer (13c), change the Opacity to 70%, then apply the filter Filter – Blur – Gaussian blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur), radius 2pix (13d). We do all this for the reason that the handle is made of black plastic, which has sharp and accurate glare of light, and aluminum, with its soft glare. Let’s call these layers “handle refl 1” and “handle refl 2”. Via Blur tool (R) (Blur tool) (with a small radius of the brush) scour the lower part of the “handle refl 1” so that the light shines in accordance with the rounded corner of the handle (13e).

Step 14. The pen is ready. Group the layers, move the group by the lens and turn 45 degrees to the right (14a). Create a black shadow from the circle, change the blending mode to Multiply (Multiplication), Opacity by 50%. You can blur the shadow at your discretion. Now add a shadow from the icon and a couple of highlights at the handle and at the edge of the lens. These are white circles on separate layers, blending mode Screen (Lightening), Opacity 80%. Apply a Gaussian Blur filter to your taste. The icon is ready!

In creating icons, Photoshop’s best friends are Pen Tool and Layer Styles. This time we also used brushes to give a refined light to a magnifier. All this was created using Photoshop without using Illustrator, which has the best set of tools for creating icons.

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