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Draw a Retro Gameboy From Scratch in Photoshop

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Attempting to replicate real life objects in Photoshop is great practice. In this tutorial we will explain how to create a realistic, retro Gameboy device using Photoshop's powerful feature set. Let's get started!


Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial.


Step 1

Start by making a new file with size 800 px × 800 px.


Step 2

Activate Rounded Rectangle tool. In the Option Bar set Fill color to #b2bbb6 and Stroke to None. Set the Radius to 10 px. Drag to draw a tall rounded rectangle.


Step 3

Activate Direct Selection tool. Select point on right bottom of the shape.


Step 4

Shift-drag the point up to move it upward horizontally. Draw its handle point down. Repeat same step to its adjacent point.

Here's what we have.


Step 5

Double click layer shape in Layers panel. Apply Inner Shadow, Inner Glow, and Gradient Overlay with following settings.

Here's what we have.


Step 6

Draw some rectangles on upper part of the Gameboy. You can use any color here.


Step 7

Add layer mask onto the layer shape. Command/Ctrl-click Gameboy basic shape to make a new selection based on its shape.

Double click layer shape and add following Layer Styles.

Reduce Fill layer to 0%. Here's our result so far.


Step 8

Activate Pen tool and add some curves onto the edges of the shape. See picture below for more details.


Step 9

Command/Ctrl-click Gameboy basic shape and make new layer on top. Click Edit Stroke.


Step 10

Activate Move tool and hit Down Arrow and Left Arrow 5 times to move the line 5 px down and left..


Step 11

Soften the line by applying Gaussian Blur (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur).


Step 12

Erase some of the line. Make sure to erase line segmen outside the Gameboy.


Step 13

Repeat previous step to add more highlights.


Step 14

Use Brush tool to draw stronger white highlight on top right corner of the Gameboy.


Step 15

Add small rounded rectangles on the Gameboy body. Set its mode to Subtract.


Step 16

Repeat previous step to the other side.

And here's our current result.


Step 17: Screen

Draw a rounded rectangle with radius 10 px for its screen.


Step 18

Double click layer shape. Apply following Layer Styles.

Here's the result.


Step 19

Hit Command/Ctrl + J to duplicate the screen. Move it behind the original screen. Change its color to #515a59. Resize (Command/Ctrl + T) the shape to 101%.


Step 20

Use same Layer Styles, but remove Bevel & Emboss and replace it with a Drop Shadow.

Here's our current result.


Step 21

Make new layer above the screen. Convert it to Clipping Mask by pressing Command/Ctrl + Alt + G. Fill it with linear gradient from white to black.


Step 22

Reduce its Opacity to 20%.


Step 23

Grab fingerprint image from sxc.hu.


Step 24

Remove its color using shortcut Shift + Command/Ctrl + U to apply Desaturate.


Step 25

Drag the image onto our Gameboy file. Change its mode to Multiply. Hit Command/Ctrl + T and click-drag outside the transformation boundary to rotate it. Place it on the screen.


Step 26

Add another fingerprint on the screen.


Step 27

Draw some subtle highlights on top right corner of the screen. Use small soft brush.


Step 28

Draw a green rectangle for Gameboy main screen.

Double click layer shape and add Layer Style Inner Shadow.


Step 29

Add text inside the screen. In the Option Bar use None for its antialiased method. This will give text jaggy edges as seen in every device with limited resolution and bit color information.


Step 30

Draw a rectangular selection and fill with linear gradient from white to black.


Step 31

We don't want too much color inside the gradient. Click Filter > Pixelate > Mosaic.


Step 32

Change blend mode to Multiply and reduce its Opacity.


Step 33

Add another element onto the screen.


Step 34

Activate Gradient tool and click gradient preview on Option Bar. Select Type: Noise. Click Randomize to generate colors.


Step 35

Place all screen content layer onto a group layer. Add Layer Mask onto the group layer. Draw gradient inside the mask.


Step 36

Alt-click the mask thumbnail to see it.


Step 37

Click Image > Adjustments > Threshold to convert the color inside the mask to black and white.


Step 38

Some of the screen content will be hidden. This creates effect as if the screen is partially broken.


Step 39

Try to experiment with the gradient until you get interesting result.

Here's the mask I used.


Step 40

Draw a small yellow circle shape on left side of the screen.

Add following Layer Styles.

The light is now glowing.


Step 41

Draw two horizontal lines on top of the screen. Add Gameboy title. Remember to set its Antialiased to None.


Step 42

We also want to add a slight color shift on center of the screen. This is common issue in Gameboy screen. Select center of the screen. Add Adjustment Layer Hue/Saturation. Move Hue slider a bit to change its color.


Step 43

Draw a rounded rectangle with radius 50 px. Use black for its color.

Add following Layer Styles.


Step 44

Reduce its Fill to 1%.


Step 45

Hit Command/Ctrl + T and rotate the shape.


Step 46

Command/Ctrl-click the shape to make new selection based on its shape. Make new layer. Click Edit > Stroke. Select white for its color.


Step 47

Soften the line by applying Gaussian Blur.


Step 48

Activate Eraser tool. Erase some of the line segment.


Step 49

Let's start working on the button. Draw a circle shape with color #771d55.


Step 50

Add following Layer Styles.


Step 51

Command/Ctrl-click the button. Make new layer. Click Edit > Stroke.


Step 52

Erase some of the stroke line using Eraser tool..


Step 53

Draw black circle behind the button. Move it 1 px up and right.


Step 54

Alt-drag buton to duplicate it. Add character A and B under the button.

So far, here's our result.


Step 55: Direction Button

Draw a big circle shape.

Apply these Layer Styles.


Step 56

Reduce its Opacity to 85% and Fill to 0%.


Step 57

Draw two overlapping rounded rectangle shape. Make sure both path mode is set to Add to Shape.


Step 58

Duplicate shape by pressing Command/Ctrl + J. Resize the shape to 99% and change its color to darker gray.

Apply following Layer Styles.


Step 59

Command/Ctrl-click layer shape. make new layer. Click Edit > Stroke.


Step 60

Place the stroke line behind the shape, move it up and right 1 px. Reduce its Opacity to 20%.


Step 61

Click Select > Reselect to bring the selection we have made earlier.


Step 62

Make new layer behind the shape. Fill selection with black. Use Move tool to move it down and left 5 px.


Step 63

Soften the shadow by applying Gaussian Blur.


Step 64

Reduce its Opacity to 70%.


Step 65

Command/Ctrl-click shape. Make new layer. Click Edit > Stroke.


Step 66

Apply Gaussian Blur to the stroke line.


Step 67

Erase some of the line segment.


Step 68

Repeat previous step, but this time add black stroke.


Step 69

Command/Ctrl-click direction button. Paint white on top right to add lighting. Use very soft brush.


Step 70

Draw some rounded rectangles and a circle inside the button.


Step 71

Add these Layer Styles.


Step 72

Change its Fill to 0%.


Step 73

Draw a smaller circle shape in center of the button. Fill it with black.

Apply following Layer Styles.

This is the result in 100% magnification.


Step 74: Start and Select Buttons

Draw a small rounded rectangle with radius 3 px and color gray.

Add these Layer Styles.


Step 75

Draw bigger rounded rectangle shape behind the button.

Apply these Layer Styles.


Step 76

Reduce its Fill to 1%.

Below you can see the difference before and after adding the shape behind the button.


Step 77

Make new layer and paint subtle highlight inside the shape. Also, paint black for the button shadow.


Step 78

Add label Start under the button.


Step 79

Put button, background, and its label into a separate group layer by selecting them and click Command/Ctrl + G. Hit Command/Ctrl + T and then rotate it. Make sure it has same angle as the A and B button.


Step 80

Alt-drag the button to duplicate it. Rename the new one as Select.


Step 81: Reflection

Make new layer and put it on top of the Gameboy. Fill it with linear gradient from white to black.


Step 82

Change its blend mode to Screen and set its Opacity to 10%


Step 83: Speaker

Draw 6 small rounded rectangle with lighter gray color.

Add following Layer Styles to add embossed effect.


Step 84

Draw 5 shorter rounded rectangles, this time fill it with darker color. Make sure they slightly touch the previous shapes.


Step 85

Hit Command/Ctrl + Alt + G to convert them into a Clipping Mask. The shapes now goes inside the previous shapes..


Step 86

Select and rotate them. Place on lower right corner of the Gameboy


Step 87: Shadow

Make new layer and put it behind all layers. Command/Ctrl-click Gameboy basic shape. Click Edit > Fill and fill the selection with black.


Step 88

Use Move tool to move the shadow 10 px down and left.


Step 89

Soften the shadow by applying Gaussian Blur.


Step 90

Reduce its Opacity to make it softer.


Step 91: Background

We have done drawing the Gameboy. But, I want to make it really old. Start by adding an old newspaper behind it.


Step 92

Apply Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and use available sliders to change its color..


Step 93

Add dirt texture, or use dirty brush to make the newspaper dirty.


Step 94: Add Defect

Command/Ctrl-click Gameboy basic shape. Make new group layer and add mask. From now on, we are going to add dirt, textures, and cracks inside this group layer. Everythingwe place here will always goes inside the Gameboy.


Step 95

Activate Brush tool. Use soft brush with size 1 px. Make new layer and then draw a simple black scribble. Duplicate the scribble (Command/Ctrl + J), convert its color (Command/Ctrl + I), and move it 1 px up and right. Reduce Opacity of black scribble. This will be a subtle scratch on the Gameboy body.


Step 96

Place rust texture inside the Gameboy. We don't want to add too much texture onto the button, so delete texture in that area.


Step 97

Change its blend mode to Overlay and reduce its Opacity.


Step 98

Add another texture. Add layer mask, paint gradient form white to black until the texture fades away. Change its mode to Color Dodge and reduce its Opacity.


Step 99

Draw subtle highlight on screen using soft brush.


Step 100

I hope you're still with me in this 100th step. Make new layer and paint a black crack on the Gameboy using 1 px soft brush.


Step 101

Duplicate the crack (Command/Ctrl + J). Invert its color to white by pressing Command/Ctrl + I and move it 1 px to the left. Reduce Opacity of the black crack.


Final Image

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