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Create a Realistic iMac Icon in Photoshop

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There is a lot that you can do in Photoshop with just a few select tools. Today, we will demonstrate how to create a realistic iMac icon in Photoshop that includes a 27-inch screen, a keyboard, and a mouse. Let's get started!


Tutorial Assets


Step 1

Create new document 2048px x 1400px. This resolution is set according to the approximate dimensions of the reference image. If you want to create a smaller illustration, just adjust dimensions of workspace and reference image to your needs.


Step 2

Before you begin, remember to keep your layers organized into folders. This is very important as this tutorial will require you to create many of them.


Step 3: Screen

Place the reference image onto the workspace and center it if necessary. Then select the Pen Tool (P) and then Freeform Pen Tool in Options panel. Then enable the Magnetic check box in the same panel. This enables Magnetic Freeform Pen tool, which will follow the part of image and create Custom Shapes in seconds.

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Step 4

Create a new folder inside the iMac folder and name it Leg. Select the Magnetic Freeform Pen Tool and start drawing the shape. We are using the freeform tool to create smooth curves. When you are dragging the mouse over the border between the image and white space the anchor points are just copying the shape of it. But as you can see the tool is not so precise on straight lines so it creates too many anchor points there. The solution is to press Alt + Click to start the straight line and then Click to place the ending anchor point and get back to Freeform mode. After closing your path, feel free to remove some of the useless anchor points and simplify your path a bit.

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Double click the layer with new shape to open the layer styles dialog and create a new gradient with following values and positions: #8b8b8b at 0%, #CCCCCC at 7% and 49%, #666666 at 54% #CCCCCC at 58% and #CCCCCC at 100%. This will create shadows and highlights at their place.

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Create new layer just above the base shape. We need this layer for adding a shadow at the top of leg because this additional one has different direction and shape than the gradient effect.

As the shadow will be inside the base shape the best way to keep it inside the shape is to create a layer mask. As the shape itself has one by default we don't need to create a new one. Select the base shape's layer and press Alt + Drag the layer mask to the new layer above. This shortcut will create a copy of the layer mask on new layer.

Select the layer and then select the Brush Tool (B) with 0% - 10% hardness and big diameter and paint the shadow in top right corner of the leg.

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Copy the base shape layer by selecting Cmd/Ctrl + Alt + J and in the upcoming dialog change the name. Move the layer above the shadow layer (#3). Select the Direct Selection Tool (A) and select particular anchor points and edit the shape to create top side of the leg. Create gradient layer effect with values #ced2db at 0% and 38%, and #717073 at 100%. Create two new layers above new shape. Name them Highlight (#1) and Shadow (#2). Copy the layer mask to them (Alt + Drag). With Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) create marquee for the shadow - it can be wider than base shape because the layer mask will hide everything outside. Fill it with #333333. Disable marquee, select Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply blur according to the shadow. Just play with the value to get most realistic effect of shadow.

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The highlight layer is pretty similar. Copy layer mask. Create marquee with the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L). Fill it with #CCCCCC. Disable marquee, select Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Now apply little blur about 3. Create a selection with the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) - Top border should be directly on the end of blur and the bottom border should be one height out of the blur. With the marquee select Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply the same value as for the shadow.

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Step 5

Start by drawing the basic shape of the display. Select the Magnetic Freeform Pen Tool and start drawing the shape. Try to create as few anchor points as possible by Alt + Clicking for straight lines. When finishing the shape adjust anchor points to fit

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Add a Gradient Layer style with following values to the shape: #333333 at 0% and 13%, #b5b5b5 at 15%, #666666 at 17%, #999999 at 20% and #CCCCCC at 100%. Set the angle of gradient effect to 77 degrees.

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Now create a new layer above the shape and copy the layer mask to it. Select Brush Tool (B) with hardness about 5% and color #CCCCCC and paint shadow in the top right corner. Select the display shape and duplicate it by Cmd/Ctrl + Alt + J. Move the layer above the one with shadow. Move and adjust anchor points with Direct Selection Tool (A) to create front side of the display. Create a Gradient Layer Effect with following values: #999999 at 0%, #e3e2e6 at 100% and set angle to 10 degrees.

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Step 6

Duplicate layer (Cmd/Ctrl + Alt + J) and set up Color Overlay layer style effect to #000000. Select the shape with Path selection Tool (A) and select subtract mode. Select Rectangle tool (U) and cover about 20% of lower part of screen. Press Combine. Rename this layer to Display Glass.

Place your Wallpaper onto the workspace and transform (Edit > Transform > Perspective) it according to the perspective.

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Create new folder and name it Menu. Create new layer in this folder and name it Menu too. Apply layer mask in shape of transformed wallpaper on it - select the layer and then select Polygonal Lasso Tool (L). Create selection in shape of the transformed wallpaper and select Add layer mask option at the bottom of layers panel.

Select Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) and create selection for menu in top part of the display. Select Gradient Tool (G) and fill that selection with gradient from #d1d0d1 to #ffffff. The darker part of the gradient is the farther one.

Select Ellipse Tool (U) and create small ellipse which will substitute the logo in tray bar. Move it to the position at top left corner and adjust its size (Cmd/Ctrl + T).

Select Horizontal Type Tool (T) and create the menu titles such as Preview File Edit Display Window Help or whatever. Move it next to the logo at top left corner and also adjust its size (Cmd/Ctrl + T). With Horizontal Type Tool (T) selected create new text layer with time as12:15 or whatever and place it in the top right corner of display. As you can see the text doesn't respect the perspective much. Select Edit > Transform > Skew transform and adjust the shape of this two text layers to fit the perspective.

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Select Rectangle Tool (U) and create dock shape using #FFFFFF. Set the transparency of the shape layer to 50%. Select Direct Selection Tool (A) and adjust the positions of anchor points to fit the shape of the Dock.

Now we need the Black & Blue Icons (this tutorial works with Add On 1). Place the icons in the row. Merge them (select layers to merge and Cmd/Ctrl + E) for easier and consistent transformation. Name this icon pack layer Icons. Copy the layer mask from menu layer to this layer. Change the size of the icon pack (Edit > Free Transform or Cmd/Ctrl + T) and adjust the perspective (Edit > Transform > Perspective) and use Cmd/Ctrl + T to polish the finish. Duplicate Layer Cmd/Ctrl + Alt + J and name it Icons Ref. Select Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical to mirror the icons vertically and move them below the original ones. Adjust the perspective by Edit > Transform > Skew and set the Opacity of the layer around 45%.

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Select the Rounded Rectangle Tool (U) and set the radius to 5. Create two thin shapes for devices and place them on the side of the display.

Create a new layer and name it Reflection. Cmd/Ctrl + Click on the black screen layer (Display Glass layer) mask to create selection of display then select Polygonal Lasso Tool (L). Hold Alt and create selection around the reflection to subtract the part that is not needed for the reflection. With reflection selection still active select Gradient Tool (G) and fill the selection with gradient of following values: #FFFFFF at 0% and opacity 100%, #FFFFFF at 100% and opacity 0%. Then to get better result select Eraser Tool (E) with hardness set to 0% and size about 150 and erase the bottom border of the reflection.

Select Ellipse Tool (U) and create base shape for apple. With Ellipse Tool (U) still selected enable Subtract mode and create three new shapes over the base one to subtract holes from it. Switch to Create New Shape Layer mode back from Subtract mode. Create new ellipse for tip of the apple. Select Convert Point Tool and click on top and bottom anchor points of the ellipse to remove curves. Move the tip to the top of the apple. If the color of the apple is other than grey change it to #333333. Now place the finished apple to the bottom center of the display.

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Step 7: Mouse

The mouse will be made from fewer layers than the display. It will contain three shape layers for base parts of the mouse and two layers for top reflection and logo.

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Select the Ellipse Tool (U) and create an ellipse that mostly fits the shape of the mouse. Select the Direct Selection Tool (A) and adjust its position and shape to completely fit the mouse shape. In this case it is easier to use ellipse tool (U) instead of magnetic freeform pen (P) because the shape is small and contains four almost symmetrical anchor points.

Create a Gradient overlay layer style with following values: #e4e4e4 at 0%, #aaabaf at 46% and 52%, #333333 at 100% and set the angle of gradient to -87.

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Duplicate the base layer and add anchor points (Add Anchor Point Tool) to the bottom border line. Edit the anchor points to adjust shape by using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and Convert Point Tool.

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Create a Gradient overlay layer style with following values: #cccae0 at 0%, #d8d8e2 at 100% and set the angle of gradient to 90.

Create a Drop Shadow layer style with the following values: Blend Mode: Multiply and #000000, Opacity 75%, Angle 95 degrees, Distance 2px, Spread 0%, Size 1px.

Duplicate the layer and remove effects. Set the color of this shape layer to #dbdbe7. Adjust the anchor points’ position and curve with Direct Selection Tool (A) and Convert Point Tool to create top reflection of the mouse.

Ctrl+ Click on the layer mask of this reflection shape to create selection of it. Create a new layer for the light reflection. With selection still active select Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) and with Alt pressed reduce the size of the selection to almost fit the light reflection. Select Brush Tool (B) and #FFFFFF color. Set the brush hardness to 0% and paint the light reflection.

To create the logo on top just select Ellipse Tool (U) and create ellipse shape. Add some Anchor points with Add Anchor Point Tool. Select Convert Point Tool and recreate the shape of apple to fit the perspective.

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Step 8: Keyboard

The last step of creating the realistic iMac icon is to make the keyboard. This part will work with shapes, gradients, Magnetic Freeform Pen Tool and some layer effects. So if you don’t have it yet create folder and name it Keyboard.

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Select Magnetic Freeform Pen Tool. Create Curves by Clicking + dragging and straight lines by Alt + Clicking. Create as few anchor points as possible but stay focused on the shape.

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Select the Ellipse Tool (U) and create the side button shape. Apply a Gradient Overlay Effect to it with following values: #c6c6c6 at 0%, #666666 at 5%, #999999 at 15%, #dfdfdf at 30%, #999999 at 45%, #cccccc at 50%, #999999 at 55%, #dfdfdf at 70%, #999999 at 85%, #666666 at 85%, #c6c6c6 at 100%. The gradient is symmetrical so every color on the left side has the equal one on the right. Set the gradient Style to Angle and Angle to 120.

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Duplicate the shape layer. Transform (Cmd/Ctrl + T) the size to create a small center of the button. Add the Stroke layer effect to it. Set the Size to 2, Position to Inside and Color to #5f5f5f. Set opacity of the shape layer to 28%.

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Select Pen Tool (P) and create the shape for the keyboard bottom shadow. Adjust the anchor points with Direct Selection Tool (A) and curves with Convert Point Tool. Add Gradient Layer Effect to it with following values: #000000 at 0%, #545559 at 72% and #545559 at 100%. Set the Gradient Angle to 88.

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Select the Pen Tool (P) or Magnetic Freeform Pen. Create top of the keyboard. I created six anchor points - two anchor points for each curve. Select the Direct Selection Tool (A) and Convert Point Tool and adjust curves to fit the ideal shape. Add the Gradient layer Effect with following values: #9b9b9b at 0%, #747474 at 100%. Set the Gradient Angle to 85.

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Duplicate the shape layer. Reduce size of the shape a bit (Cmd/Ctrl + T). Select Direct Selection Tool (A) and Convert Point Tool and adjust the position of the anchor points and curves at the corners. Set the shape color to #f2f2f2. Now we have Keyboard ready for curving the keys and add some finishing layers to it.

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Select Pen Tool and enable Subtract From The Shape Area tool option. Look on the reference image  and try to reduce as much of the shape as possible but with keeping the look still in the shape of keyboard and its keys. The most common shape you can subtract is a rectangle so create rectangles to subtract the holes between particular keys. Don't forget of huge place around the arrows. During the steps or at the end of subtracting, click on Combine.

Create New Layer (Cmd/Ctrl + Alt + J). Copy the layer mask of the keys shape layer to it (Alt + Drag). Select Brush Tool (B) set Hardness to 0% and Size to 20px. Set color to #a7a7a7 and draw the side shadow of the keys.

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Step 9: Polish

The last part of this tutorial is focused on the reflections and shadows casted by the iMac and its accessories. Duplicate the display folder. Keep it selected and merge it (Cmd/Ctrl + E). Move it to the reflections folder. Flip the layer Vertically (Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical). Move the image to the bottom corner of the original. Select Warp Transform (Edit > Transform > Warp) and transform the reflection image to face the bottom shape of the original image.

Select Eraser Tool (E) and set Hardness to 0% and Size about 250px. Erase about half of the reflection image. Set Opacity of the brush to 50% and erase the remaining reflection. As the opacity is set to 50% the eraser tool will remove only half of it so the image will be transparent and less visible. Adjust the visibility of reflection or even its position.

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Duplicate the folder of the Mouse. Merge it (Cmd/Ctrl + E). Move it to the reflections folder. Select Warp Transform (Edit > Transform > Warp) and transform the reflection image to face the bottom of the mouse.

Select Eraser Tool (E) and with Hardness set to 0% and size about 250px. Set brush Opacity to 50% and erase the remaining reflection. The effect is the same as for the Display. Also adjust the position and layer opacity.

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The reflection of the keyboard can be little bit tricky because of its shape so instead of duplicating layers we are going to draw the reflection ourselves.

Select the Pen Tool (P). Create a shape for the keyboard reflection. Just copy the border of the keyboard and make some space at the bottom according to the image to the left.

Select the Shape Layer and apply following Gradient Layer Effect values: #cdcdcd at 0%, #cdcdcd at 56%, #343434 at 60%, #cdcdcd at 63%, #cdcdcd at 74%, #141415 at 79%, #141415 at 100%.

Rasterize shape layer (right click on the layer and select Rasterize). Select Eraser Tool (E) with hardness set to 0% and size to 150. Erase the bottom part of the reflection according to the shape of the keyboard. Set Eraser opacity to 50% and partly erase the remaining parts of reflection.

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If you don't have one create folder and name it Shadows. It should be beneath the iMac, Mouse and Keyboard folders and over the reflections folder.

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Create subfolder in the Shadows folder and name it Magic Mouse. Create two layers inside this folder and name them Lighter and Darker. The darker one should be above the lighter layer.

Select Lighter layer. Select Brush Tool (B). Set size to 20px and hardness to 30%. Set color to #828385. Paint shadow under the mouse and set the layer opacity to 20%.

Select Darker layer. Select Brush Tool (B). Keep the size of 20px and hardness of 30%. Set color to #343435 and paint the darker shadow. Adjust position of both layers.

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Create new layer in shadows folder beneath the Mouse folder and name it keyboard. Select Brush Tool (B) with Hardness set to 0%. The size should be set according to the part of the shadow. Set Color to #00000. Select Eraser Tool (E) and erase overdrawed parts. The last thing is to adjust position if it doesn't fit.

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Create a new layer in shadows folder beneath the keyboard layer. Select Brush Tool (B) with hardness set to 0%. The size depends on the part of the shadow as before but keep it small about 15px, paint the shadow at the bottom of the leg. Make it copy the shape of the leg and smoothly disappear at the sides.

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Final Image