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Create an Iconic Retro-Modern Ball Chair in Photoshop

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The ball chair, popularized by Finnish interior designer Eero Aarnio was the cornerstone of any mid-century or 1960’s living area. Today, we will learn how to create this iconic piece of furniture from scratch in Photoshop. Let’s get started!


Step 1

In new document, create a new layer; name it “golden sphere”. Use the Elliptical Marquee Tool to draw a circle and it fill with any color (1a). Then apply the layer styles as shown in figure (1b).


Step 2

Place the center of the gradient as shown.


Step 3

Press Cmd/Ctrl + J to duplicate “golden sphere”. Rename the new layer “Inner shadow sphere”, reduce Fill to 0% and apply style below.


Step 4

Press Cmd/Ctrl + J to duplicate “golden sphere”, create a new layer above the duplicated layer. Select both new layers and press Cmd/Ctrl + E to merge them. Rename new layer “sphere overlay” and change its Blending Mode to Overlay.


Step 5

Press D to reset the foreground and background colors to black and white. Create a new layer on top, call it “sphere noise” and draw a circle with black. While holding Cmd/Ctrl click on “sphere noise” to obtain its selection. Go to menu Filter > Noise > Add Noise and set as shown in figure (5a). Then change its Blending Mode to Soft Light and reduce Opacity to about 7% (5b).


Step 6

Press Cmd/Ctrl + J to duplicate “noise sphere,” rename new layer “sphere blur.” While holding Cmd/Ctrl click on “sphere blur” to obtain its selection. Go to menu Filter > Blur > Radial Blur and set as in figure (6a). Then reduce its Opacity to about 15% (6b).


Step 7

Create new layer on top, call it “golden border” and draw as show in figure (7a). Then, apply the layer styles as shown in figure (7b).


Step 8

Place the center of the gradient as show.


Step 9

Press Cmd/Ctrl + J to duplicate “golden border,” create a new layer on top of “golden border 2”. Select both new layers and press Cmd/Ctrl + E to merge them. Rename the new layer “border overlay” and change its Blending Mode to Overlay.


Step 10

Create a new layer between “sphere blur” and “golden border,” call it “light”. Use the Brush Tool as shown in (10a) to draw like a highlight as shown in figure (10a). Then change its Blending Mode to Overlay (10b).


Step 11

Press Cmd/Ctrl + J to duplicate “golden border,” rename it “inside chair” and send it toward the top (above “border overlay”). Remove its later styles, fill color as show in figure (11a). Press Cmd/Ctrl + T to transfom it as shown in (11b).


Step 12

Create a new layer on top, call it “mattress”. Draw a shape as shown below and fill it with the same color as “inside chair.”


Step 13

Use the Burn and Dodge tool on the “inside chair” layer to paint in some shading as shown below.


Step 14

Now select the “chair” layer and use the Burn and Dodge Tool to paint some shading as shown below.


Step 15

Press Cmd/Ctrl + J to duplicate “inside chair,” rename the new layer “inside chair noise.” Go to menu Filter > Noise > Add Noise and use the settings as shown in figure (15a). Go to menu Filter > Blur > More Blur, press Cmd/Ctrl + F about 2 – 3 times (15b). Then change its Blending Mode to Soft Light and reduce Opacity to 15% (15c).


Step 16

Press Cmd/Ctrl + J to duplicate “chair,” rename the new layer “chair noise.” Go to menu Filter > Noise > Add Noise and use the settings as shown in figure (16a). Go to menu Filter > Blur > Blur, press Cmd/Ctrl + F about 1 – 2 times (16b). Then change its Blending Mode to Soft Light and reduce Opacity to 10% (16c).


Step 17

Create a new layer on top, call it “buttons”. Draw as shown in figure (17a). Then apply the layer styles as shown in figure (17b).


Step 18

Draw some seams as shown below.


Step 19

Create a new layer under “golden sphere,” call it “pillar.”


Step 20

Press Cmd/Ctrl + J to duplicate “pillar.” Create a new layer above “pillar copy”. Select the two new layers and press Cmd/Ctrl + E to merge these layers into one new layer, rename it “pillar overlay” and its change Blending Mode to Overlay.


Step 21

Create a new layer under “pillar,” call it “sole.”


Step 22

Press Cmd/Ctrl + J to duplicate “sole.” Create a new layer above “sole copy.” Select the two new layers and press Cmd/Ctrl + E to merge these layers into one new layer, rename it “sole burn” then use Burn Tool as shown in figure (22) to add some shadowing.


Step 23

Press Cmd/Ctrl + J to duplicate “sole burn,” rename the new layer “sole overlay” and change its Blending Mode to Overlay.


Step 24

Press Cmd/Ctrl + J to duplicate “sole,” rename new layer “sole 2.” In Layers panel, send “sole 2” behind “sole”. Then press the down arrow key 2 times to move it as show in figure (24).


Step 25

Press Cmd/Ctrl + J to duplicate “sole 2.” Create new layer above “sole 2 copy.” Select the two new layers and press Cmd/Ctrl + E to merge these layers into one new layer, rename it “sole 2 over” and use Burn Tool as shown in figure (25a) to add some shadows (25a). Then change its Blending Mode to Overlay (25b).


Step 26

Fill the background with a linear gradient as shown.


Step 27

Select “pillar” and “pillar overlay,” right click on these layers and choose Duplicate Layers. Press Cmd/Ctrl + E to merge them into one new layer, rename it “pillar shadow.” Then send it behind “pillar” and perform the steps below.


Final Image

That’s it! We’re finished!

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