This project really gives you a good idea of how powerful Photoshop can be as a design tool for creating logos. With so few tutorials out there on creating complex logo effects, I felt it a necessary venture and found that re-creating the Fiat logo was a great way to demonstrate what can be done using only Photoshop.
From the File menu, choose New and create a new document approximately 7 inches by 7 inches at 100 ppi, and set the Background Contents to White. Choose the Ellipse tool in the Toolbox (it’s nested with the other Shape tools), and, in the Options Bar, click on the Shape Layers icon (the first icon on the left to the right of the tool thumbnail). Also, click on the color swatch (at the far-right end of the Options Bar) and set the color to a neutral gray. Then, press-and-hold the Shift key, and click-and-drag out a large circle shape that almost reaches the edges of the document.
This project really gives you a good idea of how powerful Photoshop can be as a design tool for creating logos. With so few tutorials out there on creating complex logo effects, I felt it a necessary venture and found that re-creating the new Fiat logo was a great way to demonstrate what can be done using only Photoshop.
Next, choose the Rounded Rectangle tool (also nested with the other Shape tools) and, in the Options Bar, set the corner Radius to 1 inch and then click on the Subtract from Shape Area icon (the third icon to the right of the Radius field). Draw a rounded rectangle shape inside the circle shape.
Now, choose the Direct Selection tool (which is nested with the Path Selection tool) from the Toolbox and use it to select just the top control handles of the rounded rectangle. Just click-and-drag over the points to select them, or Shift-click on each one directly. The selected points are solid and the unselected points are hollow. With these top control points selected, press Command-T (PC: Ctrl-T) to put them in Free Transform mode. Then, press-and-hold the Option (PC: Alt) key while clicking on either one of the side handles and drag outward to make the shape a bit wider at the top than at the bottom. Press Return (PC: Enter) to lock in the transformation.
Let’s give the outer shape of the logo a little dimension with some creative layer style effects. Click on the Add a Layer Style icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose Bevel and Emboss from the pop-up menu. Keep the Style set to Inner Bevel and the Technique to Smooth. Increase the Depth to 600% and the Size to 100 px. Down in the Shading section, set the Angle to 126° and the Altitude to 42°.
Then, click on the Gloss Contour thumbnail to open the Contour Editor. Here, we can modify the curve of the contour by manipulating the control handles on the curve. You can add control points by clicking directly on the curve. Add the control points and position them as you see here, and make sure that the Corner checkbox is turned on for each control point, so that each one is a sharp corner rather than a curve. Click OK when you’re done in the Contour Editor.
Now, back in the Bevel and Emboss options, set the Highlight Mode to Hard Light, keep the color white, and raise the Opacity to 100%. Then, for the Shadow Mode, just increase the Opacity to 100%. Don’t click OK yet.
Next, click on Satin on the left side of the dialog to turn it on, and set the Blend Mode to Screen. Click on the color swatch and set the numeric value (below the RGB fields) to #bbe1ff. Click OK in the Color Picker to set the color. Then, set the Opacity to 75% and set the Angle to 129°. Increase the Distance to 209 px and the Size to 50 px. Don’t click OK yet.
Lastly, click on Inner Glow on the left to turn it on, and set the Blend Mode here to Screen. Set the color to the same color blue we used for the Satin layer style. Then, set the Opacity to 75%, and set the Size to 49 px. Now click OK. You can see the result gives us a realistic chrome look, all with layer styles. Be sure to experiment with the layer styles because, like with brushes, they can be combined and mixed in ways you may have never even considered.
Now, we want to define the edge more with another bevel effect, but the Bevel and Emboss layer style is already in use. No problem, we’ll just make a duplicate of this layer by pressing Command-J (PC: Ctrl-J), and delete the layer style on the duplicate layer by grabbing the ƒx icon on the layer and dragging it to the Trash icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.
Click on the Add a Layer Style icon once again, and choose Bevel and Emboss to add a new effect. Increase the Depth setting to 300% and set the size to 5 px. Then, go into the Shading section and set the Angle to 62° and Altitude to 32°. Next, click on the down-facing arrow next to the Gloss Contour thumbnail and choose Ring Contour (it’s the second one in the second row). Now, to blend this bevel with the original shape, click on Blending Options at the top left and, under Advanced Blending, lower the Fill Opacity to 0%. This will make the duplicate gray shape invisible, leaving only the bevel effect, which now blends into the original shape.
This would be a good time to save if you have not already! After that, create a duplicate of this file by choosing Image>Duplicate, because we’ll need to create a displacement file out of the graphic up to this point. In the duplicate file, click on the Background layer to make it active, then press Shift-Delete (PC: Shift-Backspace), and choose 50% Gray from the Fill dialog’s Use pop-up menu. Go to Layer>Flatten Image and flatten the image. Save this file to your desktop as a PSD file, so we can load it as a displacement map.
Now, here, we have a simple beach image that we’ll use as the reflected image on the chrome surface. Press Command-Shift-U (PC: Ctrl-Shift-U) to remove the color, then use the Move tool (V) to bring it into your working logo file and place it at the top of the layer stack. Once there, use Free Transform (press Command-T [PC: Ctrl-T]) to scale it to cover the entire canvas area, press Return (PC: Enter), then press Command-A (PC: Ctrl-A) to select everything. Once the entire canvas is selected, go under the Image menu and choose Crop to get rid of any parts that extend beyond the edge, as this will affect the positioning of the displacement.
You might think we’re going to apply the displacement map using the Displace filter. Nope! We’re actually going to use the Glass filter. This will give a much smoother distortion. So, go under the Filter menu, under Distort, and choose Glass. In the Glass filter dialog, click on the small icon to the right of the Texture pop-up menu, and from the flyout menu, choose Load Texture. When the Load Texture dialog opens, locate the displacement map file, then click Load (PC: Open). Set the Distortion to 17 and the Smoothness to 3, then click OK.
Now, Option-click-and-drag (PC: Alt-click-and-drag) the vector mask from the Shape layer just below the beach image layer up to the beach image layer, as seen here. This will copy the vector mask to the beach image, masking it just like the Shape layers. Finally, change the top layer’s blend mode to Overlay to blend the image to the chrome effect.
Okay, let’s build the inside of the logo. Get the Direct Selection tool and click on the inside shape of any of the Shape layers. Open the Paths panel (Window>Paths) and click on the Load Path as a Selection icon (the third icon from the left) at the bottom of the panel to load this path as an active selection. Because this inner path was set to Subtract from Shape Area when it was created, the selection is inversed. Just press Command-Shift-I (PC: Ctrl-Shit-I) to Inverse the selection, so that the inside of the logo is selected.
Next, click on the Create a New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to create a new blank layer and make sure it appears at the top of your layer stack. Then, click on your Foreground color swatch and set it to a red (I used R: 103, G: 0, B: 0). Press Option-Delete (PC: Alt-Backspace) to fill the selection with your Foreground color, then Command-D (PC: Ctrl-D) to Deselect. Now, add an Inner Glow layer style, and set the Blend Mode to Multiply and the Opacity to 75%. Then, click on the color swatch and change the color to black. After that, go into the Elements section and set the Choke to 29% and the Size to 59 px, but don’t click OK yet.
Next, click on Satin on the left side of the Layer Style dialog to turn it on. Set the Blend Mode to Color Dodge, and click on the color swatch and choose a light pink color. Here, I used R: 247, G: 202, B: 202. Set the Opacity to 50%, the Angle to 105°, the Distance to 73 px, and the Size to 43 px. Click OK to set these layer styles.
Lastly, add an Outer Glow layer style (we had to click OK in the last step to get our color set). Click on the color swatch here, and then click on the red area of the logo to sample it. Then, just increase the Size to 10 px and click OK. As you can see, the inner shape has some dimension now and has the appearance of reflecting the red on the edge of the chrome. All with layer styles!
Now let’s add a halftone line element to complete this center area. Press D to set your Foreground color to black, then create a new blank layer and fill it with 50% gray. Go under the Filter menu, and choose Filter Gallery. Then select Halftone Pattern (from the filter selections under Sketch), and choose Line from the Pattern Type menu. Set the Size to 1 and the Contrast to 0, and click OK.
By default, the Halftone Pattern filter applied the lines horizontally, so go under the Edit menu, under Transform, and choose Rotate 90° CW.
Go into Free Transform, and scale the pattern down to where it’s just a little bigger than the inner logo shape. Then Right-click on it while you’re still in Free Transform mode, and choose Warp. In the Options Bar, go to the Warp pop-up menu and choose Inflate, and then drop the Bend down to 25%. Press Return (PC: Enter) to commit the change.
Press-and-hold the Option (PC: Alt) key and click in between this layer and the layer below to clip the halftone pattern inside the red shape below (your cursor will change into overlapping black and white circles). Then, change the layer’s blend mode to Hard Light and drop the Opacity to down to 25%.
Now let’s add one final light effect to the logo. Choose the Elliptical Marquee tool from the Toolbox (or press Shift-M until you have it), and draw an oversized selection, positioned slightly off-center, just below the top edge of the chrome, like you see here. Then set your Foreground color to white, and get the Gradient tool (G) from the Toolbox. Click on the down-facing arrow next to the gradient thumbnail in the Options Bar to open the Gradient Picker, choose the Foreground to Transparent gradient (the second gradient from the left in the top row), and then click on the Linear Gradient icon (the first icon to the right of the gradient thumbnail). Create a new blank layer, then click to start the gradient just a little bit above the top edge of the active selection and drag the gradient down.
Deselect, then click on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a white layer mask to this gradient layer. Make sure your Foreground color is now black, and draw a gradient on the left and right edges, so the white gradient doesn’t creep into the chrome area. This adds much more dimension to the overall look.
Finally, let’s add the text to the center area. Here, I have set text in a font called Industria, however, almost any condensed font will do.
Now, remember the Bevel and Emboss layer style we added to the second Shape layer earlier to give the chrome a more defined edge? Go and copy that layer style to this text layer (Option-click-and-drag it from the Shape layer). Once it is applied, double-click on the layer style’s name to open the Layer Style dialog to tweak the settings. In the Bevel and Emboss options, change the Size to 3 px. Next, click on Drop Shadow on the left to turn it on, and set the Distance to 11 px and the Size to 3 px. Then, click on Gradient Overlay on the left to turn it on. Set the Blend Mode to Hard Light and set the Opacity to 100%. Change the gradient Style to Radial, set the Angle to 132°, turn on the Reverse checkbox, and increase the Scale all the way to 150%. Click OK.
We’re gonna want to bring this logo onto another layout, ideally without having to flatten the image in case we need to make changes. So, go ahead and click on the Eye icon to the left of the Background layer to turn it off, then Command-click (PC: Ctrl-click) on all of the layers that make up the logo to select them. Right-click on one of the layers and choose Convert to Smart Object to embed them all into a smart object. This will put everything into one layer, but still maintain the layers (you can double-click on the Smart Object thumbnail to open the layered file).
Let’s add the logo to a realistic background to finish the effect. We have a leather background image here that will work perfectly.
Go ahead and bring the finished logo smart object into this leather background image, and use Free Transform to scale it down, if you need to. Then, add a Bevel and Emboss layer style. Use the settings here to make it look like the logo is embedded in the leather texture. Next, add an Outer Glow layer style with the settings shown here. Lastly, click on Drop Shadow on the left and make the shadow less strong by dropping the Opacity to 50%, and increasing the size to around 25 px. Turn off the Use Global Light checkbox and click in the image to manually reposition the shadow to the lower left area. Click OK.
Now, at this point it is just nitpicky stuff, as the job is basically done, but if you become an obsessive designer like me, you can fine-tune all day. At some point, you have to find a place to stop. I considered adding a tiny flare using the brush from Chapter 1, but decided it didn’t add anything to the image and I should just stop here.
Excerpted from Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks for Designers, Volume 1 by Corey Barker