Dec 06, 2009
In this tutorial, I will show you how to create an aluminum texture and a 3D pattern effect, using very simple techniques. This method is useful for designing modern and stylish interfaces or simply fashioning a mockup for the next MacBook Pro or an aluminum iPhone.
This tutorial is part of a series of Pixelmator tutorials I've been writing for the Pixelmator Learn site.
Open Pixelmator and create a new document. I used 1440×900 pixels, but you can choose whatever size you want.
Go to View > Show Gradients, then create a new gradient preset. Use Radial for the type. Use #1c1c1f for the dark color and #363538 for the light color.
Add 1 horizontal and 1 vertical guide to find the center of the document. Next, with the Gradient Tool (G), fill the background layer with the gradient that you just created.
Now, go to Filter > Stylize > Noise. Use 1 for the Amount, and leave the color intact.
Select the Brush Tool (B) and go to View > Show Brushes. Select a round brush and change the presets as shown in the image below.
Using the guide for reference, select the Brush Tool (B). While holding SHIFT, click to add a circle at the top of the image. Use the image below for reference.
While continuing to hold shift, click at the bottom of the image to create the circles. It's fairly simple. You can reduce the brush size as well.
Select the layer with the dots and duplicate the column of circles until you have created a nice block. You can do that by dragging the layer over the "+" icon in the Layer Palette. I also resized them, which you can do by going to Edit > Free Transform or simply by pressing Command + F.
First, reduce the opacity of the white circles; use 40%. Then duplicate the block of white circles and merge them (Layer > Merge Layers). Next, select black for the color and go to Filter > Color > False Color. The duplicated white circles will become black. Move them 1 pixel up, which will create a bevel effect.
Duplicate the pattern; you can select the black and white blocks and go to Layer > Merge Layers so that the pattern includes only one layer. Simply move the block to the other side of the canvas. Use the image below for reference.
Place the icon that you want to use in the middle of the document. I’m using the power icon. The color is not important in this step because we will use the Clipping Layer to change it.
Create a new layer on top of the icon and fill it with white.
Go to Filter > Stylize > Noise. Use 40 for the Amount and select Monochrome.
Go to Layer > Create Clipping Mask; now, the layer will be visible only in the area of the icon.
On the clipping layer, go to Filter > Blur > Zoom Blur. Use 20 for the Amount and move the controller to the center of the icon.
Now go to Filter > Stylize > Noise. Use 2 for the Amount and select Monochrome again. This will create a brushed metal effect on the icon.
Duplicate the icon layer. The icon that I used was already black, so I put it behind the icon that had the brushed metal texture. Next, move the black icon 2 pixels up, creating an embossed effect.
This tutorial showed you how to create an aluminum texture using gradient and noise. We also played with the Brush engine to create a pattern and then gave the pattern a really cool 3D effect. Pixelmator has very useful filters that allow users to create any type of effect or image; it’s all about experimenting with the tools to discover what you can do.
You can create a lighter version of the wallpaper by simply using light grays for the background. You can also change the opacity of the white circles pattern to 100% so that the 3D effect is more visible.