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.

Step 1

Open Pixelmator and create a new document. I used 1440×900 pixels, but you can choose whatever size you want.

Sleek Wallpaper in Pixelmator

Step 2

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.

Sleek Wallpaper in Pixelmator

Step 3

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.

Sleek Wallpaper in Pixelmator

Step 4

Now, go to Filter > Stylize > Noise. Use 1 for the Amount, and leave the color intact.

Sleek Wallpaper in Pixelmator

Step 5

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.

Sleek Wallpaper in Pixelmator

Step 6

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.

Sleek Wallpaper in Pixelmator

Step 7

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.

Sleek Wallpaper in Pixelmator

Step 8

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.

Sleek Wallpaper in Pixelmator

Step 9

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.

Sleek Wallpaper in Pixelmator

Step 10

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.

Sleek Wallpaper in Pixelmator

Step 11

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.

Sleek Wallpaper in Pixelmator

Step 12

Create a new layer on top of the icon and fill it with white.

Sleek Wallpaper in Pixelmator

Step 13

Go to Filter > Stylize > Noise. Use 40 for the Amount and select Monochrome.

Sleek Wallpaper in Pixelmator

Step 14

Go to Layer > Create Clipping Mask; now, the layer will be visible only in the area of the icon.

Sleek Wallpaper in Pixelmator

Step 15

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.

Sleek Wallpaper in Pixelmator

Step 16

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.

Sleek Wallpaper in Pixelmator

Step 17

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.

Sleek Wallpaper in Pixelmator

Conclusion

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.

Sleek Wallpaper in Pixelmator
Click on the image for full preview

Light Version

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.

Sleek Wallpaper in Pixelmator
Click on the image for full preview

Download the Pixelmatro File

Download the Pixelmator file used for this tutorials

About the author of this post

Abduzeedo is a blog about design. There are all sorts of articles for those who want to look for inspiration. Also you will find very useful tutorials for the most used applications out there, with a special selection of Photoshop Tutorials and Illustrator Tutorials. Of course there are other softwares conteplated like Pixelmator, Fireworks, and web design tutorials.