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Creating a Cool Brushed Metal Surface in Photoshop

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Read Time: 4 mins

Today's tutorial comes in response to a reader request from Tom and it won't be about lighting effects, glows, or sparks. Instead, I will show you how to create the brushed aluminum texture similar to the Apple products!

Step 1

To start, create a new document. As I wanted to create a wallpaper for my laptop I used 1440x900. Unlock the background layer, then apply a Gradient Overlay using a Layer Style. Use Multiply for the Blend Mode, for the style use Radial, and for the colors use #f2f2f2 and #c3c3c3.

Step 2

Create a new layer and rename it to "noise." Select the Paint Bucket Tool (G), fill the layer with white, and change the Blend Mode to Multiply . Make sure that the background color is black and go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise. Use Monochromatic, Uniform, and 8-10%.

Step 3 Creating the Pattern.

With the Ellipse Tool (U), create six very small circles. Select them and align them horizontally. Then click on the Distribute Vertical Centers Button. It will make the distances among the circles the same.

Step 4

Make sure the rulers are visible. If they are not, just go to View > Rulers. Now add some guides like I did and move three of the circles like the image below.

Step 5

Duplicate the three circles from the first column and move them as I did in the image below.

Step 6

Select all circles and Convert them to Smart Objects. If you are not using a CS2 or CS3 version of Photoshop, just go to Layer > Merge Layers. Then double-click on the layer to open the Layer Style dialog box. First add a Color Overlay, use a very dark grey, or even black. After that, add an Inner Shadow.

Step 7

Hide the background and the noise layers. With the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) select four circles but use the others as reference for distances. Then go to Edit > Define Pattern. Name it "holes."

Step 8

With the Rectangular Tool (U), create a rectangle. Then, again, lets use a Layer Style. First change the Fill Opacity to 0. Add a Pattern Overlay and select the pattern we have just created. Then just copy the rectangle and place it on the other side of the image.

Step 9

Add your logo or any symbol you would like to use and place it in the center of the image. Go to the Layer Style and select Gradient Overlay. For the Style, use Reflected and black-and-white for the colors. After that, select Bevel and Emboss and just follow the image below.

Step 10

Then create a new layer on top of the logo's layer and name it "noise logo." Fill it with white and change the Blend Mode to Multiply. With the Rectangular Marquee Tool, create a selection like the image below. After that go to Filter > Pixelate > Mezzotint, then Filter > Blur > Radial Blur, like we did on the Creating a Vinyl Record In Photoshop tutorial, and the last thing will be to change the Opacity to 50%.

Step 11

Create a selection from the logo, just click on the thumbnail of the layer while holding the Command/Control key. Then make sure that the "noise logo" layer is selected, and go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection.

Step 12

With the Pen Tool (P), create a shape like the image below. Convert it to Smart Objects and go to Filter > Blur > Radial Blur. Select Zoom for the method and click OK. Go again to Filter > Blur > Radial Blur and this time use the Spin method.

Step 13

Repeat Step 11, but this time apply the layer mask to the “rays” layer.

Step 14

Create a new layer rename it to “white brush.” Make a selection from the logo again, like in the Steps 11 and 14. Select Brush Tool (B) with basic brush with 35px width, and select the white color. Start painting some areas that will be the highlights of the logo.


This technique can be easily applied on Web design and interface design projects. Besides that, we can create a huge set of holes patterns with different sizes and distances that will be very useful for future projects. I hope you enjoyed the tutorial!

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