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By Colleen Wheeler | Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Deke's Techniques: Creating a glowing cabochon jewel in Photoshop

This week’s free Deke’s Techniques video is one of those delightful projects where Deke manages to create something precious entirely within Adobe Photoshop. In this case it’s a rounded shimmering jewel.

Deke starts with nothing more than the plain black ellipse you see on the left, and builds the glowing amber cabochon on the right using little more than Photoshop layer effects (and a suitable background of marble and gold chain, of course).

The before and after images of the jewel effect

First, he applies a red fill with a subtle gradient to the ellipse.

An elipse with a red gradient fill in Adobe Photoshop

Then the layer styles begin. The first layer style creates a 20-pixel-thick brown stroke that will eventually serve as the gold ridge around the jewel:

The stroked ellipse with the Layer Style dialog box

Next, Deke applies a substantial Inner Shadow effect that uses the Cone Inverted contour setting to really establish a rich, round glow:

The ellipse with an inner shadow effect

Applying a dark red Inner Glow effect adds volume:

The ellipse with an added inner glow effect

Deke then employs the Bevel & Emboss layer style and chooses a Pillow Emboss style effect with a Depth value of 400% to shape the edges of his gemstone. For the Pillow Emboss shading, he chooses a very pale orange as the Highlight mode and dark reddish brown for the Shadow mode. (Note at this point how much the preview swatch in the dialog box looks like a faceted gem itself!)

The ellipse with the Bevel and Emboss effect

Before he closes the Layer Style dialog box, there’s one more effect to apply; a Drop Shadow where the jewel as a three-dimensional object would reflect against the marble.

The ellipse with a drop shadow effect

The final polishing comes from a few shape layers made into crescent shapes with the ellipse tool. With the right blend modes applied and an unorthodox use of the Drop Shadow effect, the elliptical shapes become glossy highlights, and, voila, Deke has created a precious jewel from nothing but pixels!

The final cabochon effect and the Layers panel

For members of lynda.com, Deke also has another video this week called Cutting and brushing light on a gem that further refines this jewel effect. Here’s what cutting and brushing light on a gem looks like in beautiful picture form:

The finished jewel effect in Adobe Photoshop

Deke the Photoshop Alchemist, turning black pixels into glowing amber. He’ll be back with another free technique next week.

Interested in more?• The entire Deke’s Techniques weekly series on lynda.com • Courses by Deke McClelland on lynda.com • All Photoshop courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:• Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals• Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: IntermediatePhotoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

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