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Photoshop is great to use for creating quality icon designs. In this tutorial, I will teach you how to make a professional, shiny, clean graduation hat icon. The techniques in this tutorial will help you graduate to the next level in icon design.
First of all, create a new document and fill it with a light grey (#d6d6d6).
Let's make the base of the icon using the Rectangle Tool. The color doesn't matter for now. This is going to be used just for orientation.
Rotate the shape using the Transform Tool (Command/Ctrl+T). Next decrease its height using the Transform Tool again.
Now we need to set the middle of the shape. Use the shortcut (Command/Ctrl + R) to bring up the Rulers. Set up your guides as in the image below.
Now go up with a guideline and set the top of the pyramid. Then duplicate the blue shape and move it up. Then set a guide at the top of the duplicated shape. Then you can delete that shape you just duplicated.
Create the left side of the pyramid using the Pen Tool. Fill it with (#feb624).
Create the right side of the pyramid, just as you did with the left side, but this time fill it with (#e49e11).
Move the blue layer on top of the other layers. Next move it up as I did. Then make it bigger using the Transform Tool.
This will be the upper part of the hat. Name it ""Top part"" and fill it with this color (#ffd931). Then duplicate it.
Name the duplicate of the ""Top part"" layer "border." Fill it with the color (#b14f00). Now move the "Top part" layer over the "border" layer.
Make sure you have selected the border layer. Now press once on the Down Arrow key on the keyboard. This will move the layer one pixel down. Next while holding Option/Alt, press the Down Arrow key four times. This will duplicate the border layer four times.
Now merge all those border layers. You can turn the guide lines off now, as we don't need them anymore. Go to View > Show > Guides and set them to not show.
The shape of the hat is done. Now we need to make it look better. We will start with the top part. Select the "Top part" layer and create a new layer.
This will place the new layer over all the rest of the layers. Select an orange color for the foreground. Command/Ctrl + Click on the "Top part" layer in the Layers Palette to make a selection. Then on the new layer you just created, using the Gradient Tool, Click and drag from up to down.
Now we highlight the edges of the reflections more. We use the Pen Tool to do this, as you can see in the detailed shots below. Also, decrease the Opacity of this shape to 30%.
Next we need to work on the right side of the pyramid. Make a selection of the right side of the pyramid. Make a new layer. Using the Gradient Tool, with this color (#e37a05), click and drag from left to right.
For the left side we will use a different approach. Highlight the edges of reflections. Then decrease the Opacity of the shape to 30 percent. Look at the images below for details.
Now we need to add a little more light to the left side. We do this by creating a new layer over the left side of the pyramid. Then make a selection of the left side of the pyramid. Use the settings below for the Gradient Tool. Then click and drag in the section I have pointed out in the next image. Finally set the Blending Options for this layer to Overlay.
We will need to make a shadow for the top side. This shadow will cast onto the pyramid. Make a new layer and move it beneath the border layer. Name it "Shadow 1". Use the Pen Tool to make a selection like mine. Set the Opacity to 30%.
Go to the top part and in the middle of it make an orange circle (#c54400). Then make it smaller and decrease the height with the Transform Tool, as you did in Step 3.
Now make a shape that looks something like this using the Pen Tool.
Make a small blue circle at the end of the shape we just made.
This is going to be the last thing we do to the hat. Here we will use the Pen Tool and the Brush Tool. Start by opening a new layer behind the blue circle you just created. With the Pen Tool, make sure that Path is selected and draw a path like the image below.
Use the settings below for the brush and this color (#ee4c05).
And now with the Pen Tool selected, right-click on the path and select Stroke Path.
Repeat the previous step, but each time you make a new stroke make it on a new layer. Also, use different colors. Here you can use the same effect I used in my Valentines tutorial here on Psdtuts+.
You can Merge all these layers you used to make this shape that I call Mot. All we need to do now is make the Mot shadow.
The last things we need to do now are add more highlights, make it shinier, make a reflection for the hat, make a shadow for the hat, and make a nice background. Review the images below for the directions for each step. I only use the: Brush Tool, Pen Tool, and Gradient Tool.
You can simply change the color of the icon in a few seconds. Go inside the hat folder that you want to change the colors to. Double-click on the layers of the shapes you want to change and select your colors. It is the same technique that I used in the Apple Remote tutorial here on Psdtuts+. View the final image result below.