Drawing a Glossy Reflective Star in Photoshop

by Dr Diablo | Adobe Photoshop | Beginner

This tutorial will show you how to create a glossy reflective star by applying a number of styles and effects to a star object. The techniques illustrated below could be used to create a similar look to any other shape. Here is an example of the end result we will create by the end of this tutorial:

Drawing a Glossy Star in Photoshop

Drawing The Star

From your Tools Panel, grab the Custom Shape Tool and select the 5 Point Star. This is going to be the main object of this tutorial. You can apply the steps that follow to any object of your choice to make that object glossy and reflective.

Tools Panel - Shapes

Hold down the Shift key while drawing your star on the canvas to make sure the dimensions of the star are proportional.

Access the Layers Panel and open up the blending options of the layer that you created the star on. We will apply three styles to the layer, Outer Glow, Color Overlay and Gradient Overlay. Assign the values according to the screenshots.

Outer Glow

Cover Overlay

Gradient Overlay

When your done, your star should look like the one below on a white background.

Once again access the Layers Panel and duplicate your existing star by dragging its layer on to the Create a New Layer icon.

Open up your new layer's blending options and uncheck the Outer Glow and the Color Overlay styles.

While selecting the new layer, press Ctrl+T to Free Transform the inner star, hold the Shift key and move one of the corners to the inside to scale down the star as shown in the screenshot below.

Note: You might think that it would have been easier to apply a stroke to the start object instead of going the hassle of duplication. Using a stroke will not provide sharp edges. The smooth edges of the stroke will override the Outer Glow style and this would not create the desired effect.

Creating a Reflection

Hold down the Ctrl button and click on the inner star's layer to select the star. What we want to do here is to give the lower part of the selection an elliptical shape that makes it look like a reflecting object if light was casted upon it. Using the Elliptical Marquee Tool , hold the Alt button to make a subtracting selection and draw your circle. Your resulting shape should look quite similar to mine.


Access the Tools Panel, click on the Gradient Tool and from the top panel, expand the drop down menu and select Foreground to Transparent. Make sure that your foreground color is White #FFFFFF!
Create a New Layer and apply the gradient vertically across the selection, as indicated by the red arrow below. This step will give the star a fairly nice reflection effect.

Adding the Gloss

Once more create a new layer. Hold down Ctrl and click on the inner star's layer to select it. Now go through Select>Modify>Contract and contract this layer by 7px.

Apply a gradient with the exact same properties as you did for the reflection, but this time you should apply it vertically half way across the selection, from bottom to top as indicated below.

Finally, access the Layers Panel, change the layer's mode to Overlay and set the opacity to 80%, and with that completing the gloss.

Your Star will end up looking like the image below

You can apply the technique shown here to any object. Show us what you do by posting at our Showcase Forums!

This concludes our tutorial, I hope that you learnt something new from it, feel free to email me on diablo@republicofcode.com for any comments or questions or alternatively post in the Oman3D Forum to get instant feedback.

- End of Tutorial