How to Create an Illuminated Plastic Switch

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In this tutorial we will create a realistic looking illuminated switch. This will be quite a complex task with many details of different types that will help strengthen the realism of the final result. The many details will require quite a lot of steps for us to go through, some of which will obviously be repetitive. It might seem somewhat tedious at times, but that is a necessity if we would like to have a complex looking result that will give the realistic impression to the observer.

Generally, the switch will be constructed in the following order: a hole or depression in which the switch will be “installed”, a main background with an outer glow, complex inner lights, a shiny thin frame, the plastic face with all its shading elements, the grip elements on that face and last – the complex shadows of the switch.

Hope you will enjoy this and earn a few new and useful techniques!


Step 1: New Document Settings

Create a new file sized 250 x 250 px with a resolution of 72 ppi.

Color the background layer with #585858.


Step 2: Switch’s “Base Hole”

Create a new layer and name it ‘Hole’.

Make a rectangular selection of 120 x 156 px, fill it with black (#000000) and center it.

Add Bevel and emboss (Layer Style) with the following parameters.

Result should look like this.


Step 3: Main Paths

Open the Paths window, create a new path.

Use the Rounded rectangle tool set to a radius of 5 px to create the following rectangles.

Tip: it is recommended to create the paths when zoom is 100% so the paths will correspond to the file’s pixel grid.

The following image assigns names for each one of the 4 created rectangles that will be used later in this tutorial.


Step 4: The Base

Use the Path selection tool to choose Rectangle A.

Turn it to a selection by right-clicking and choosing Make selection.

Create a new layer and name it 01.

While the selection is still activated, create a layer mask.

Set foreground color to #4f2f00 and the background color to #734500.

Set the Reflected gradient tool to Foreground to background and apply as shown in the image below.

*Make sure that layer 01 is active and not its mask.

Add the following Layer Styles to Layer 01.

Your image should look like this.

Create a new layer and name it Inner Shadow.

Set layer’s Opacity to 50%.

Use the Rectangular marquee tool to create a selection as shown in the following image.

Invert the selection (Ctrl+Shift+I).

Fill it with black (#000000), then deselect.

Go to Filter->Blur->Gaussian Blur,set radius to 5.0 px and click OK.

Ctrl+Click the mask of layer 01 to make a selection.

Create a mask for layer Inner Shadow.

Result should resemble this.


Step 5: Inner Lights

Click on the Create a new group button at the bottom of the Layers window.

Name the new group Main Lights.

Ctrl+Click the mask of layer 01 (or layer Inner Shadow) to make a selection.

Make sure the Main Lights group is activated and add a mask to it.

Add a new layer (within group Main Lights) and name it Light01.

Set its Opacity to 70% and Blending mode to Overlay.

Set the foreground color to white (#ffffff).

Next, set the Radial gradient tool to Foreground to transparent.

Follow the image to imply the gradient.

Result should resemble the following image.

Create a new layer with 50% Opacity and name it Light02.

Set the foreground color to #a67900.

Apply the gradient according to the image.

Result should resemble the image.

Create a new layer and name it Light03.

Set foreground color to #ffae00.

Fill the layer with the selected yellow color.

Use the Elliptical marquee tool to create the selection shown in image (approximately 100 x 100 px).

Add a mask.

While the mask is activated, use the Rectangular marquee tool to trim the circle you created as shown below.

Deselect previous selection.

Apply a Gaussian blur filter to the mask with a radius of 12.0 px.

Your file should look like this.

Duplicate layer Light 03 and name it Light 04.

Activate its mask.

Set the Radial gradient tool to Foreground to background (white to black).

Apply gradient.

Create a new layer and name it Light05.

Set its Opacity to 60% and Blending mode to Overlay.

Set the Radial gradient tool to Foreground to transparent (white to transparent) and apply.

Result should look like this.


Step 6: Frame Reflections

Create a new layer and name it Frame Shine01.

Ctrl+Click on Main Light group’s mask to make a selection.

Go to Select->Modify->Contract, set value to 2 px and click OK.

Invert the selection (Ctrl+Shift+I).

Set foreground color to #ffd100 and fill the selection.

Deselect.

Apply a Gaussian blur filter with a radius of 1.0.

Add a mask to the layer.

Set the Reflected gradient tool to Foreground to background (white to black) and apply.

Create a new layer with 50% Opacity and name it Glow Strip01.

Ctrl+Click the mask of group Main Lights to make a selection.

Fill the selection with white color (#ffffff).

Contract the selection with 1 px (Select->Modify->Contract).

Erase the content by clicking Del.

Deselect.

Create a mask to the layer.

Set the Linear gradient tool to Foreground to background and Apply as shown in image 6.5.

Duplicate layer Glow Strip01 and name new layer Glow Strip02.

Set the layer to 30% Opacity and its Blending mode to Overlay.

Activate the layer’s mask and apply a Radial gradient (as before, from white to black).

Collapse Main Lights group.


Comments

  • Janalopoa

    That’s soo cool!!!

  • Juan

    that’s amazing.. think i need to ask my boss for few hours a week of tut time!