Using Photoshop to Make a Realistic Glass Sphere

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Introduction: Using Photoshop to Make a Realistic Glass Sphere

Here's how to make a realistic glass sphere using Adobe Photoshop. I am using CS2, but any version after 6 will work. (I have not tried on any previous versions before 6)

Step 1: What You Will Need...

You will need:

Adobe Photoshop
A desktop or laptop computer
...and that's it!

Step 2: Getting Started...

You will need to open a new file in Photoshop. It will need to have a black background, and the document size can be anything as long as it is square. ex.: 500 x 500 pixels.

Once you have done this, you must create a lens flare. Just click "Filter" on the title bar, then click "Render" on the dropdown menu, then "Lens Flare" on the next dropdown menu. Leave the default settings as they are. If you have used this filter before, the flare must be slightly upper right or left of center.

Step 3: Making the Sphere...

Now, we have to make this flat lens flare look 3d.

Select "Filter", then click "Distort", then "Polar Coordinates". Click the "Polar to Rectangular" button, then click "OK".

Next, we need to rotate the image 180 degrees.

Click "Image", then "Rotate Canvas", and 180.

Now, we do the polar coordinates again, but this time we will click the "Rectangular to Polar" button.

Now, it should be looking 3 dimensional.

Step 4: Cleaning It Up...

Use the Elliptical Marquee tool to select your sphere. Then, click "Select", then Inverse. Hit the delete key to remove the excess mush that is around the outside. You can stop at this point, or you can make it better.

You can create a new layer, and move it underneath your first one. (double click the layer if it is locked)

Then, fill the layer with black, then click back onto your sphere layer and reselect your previous selection, and delete the white background.

You can make it even more realistic by overlaying a photo, and blurring the edges.

The end result should look something like my last two pics.

I hope you have enjoyed this instructable, and I also hope it was easy to follow.

Go to the next page to see what you can do with your newly acquired Photoshop skillz!

Step 5: Examples

Here is a wallpaper I made using this method.

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    23 Comments

    Did you use PS to make the outline fluting? I usually have to use my CADcam software to do that.

    Absolutely Fantastic. This is by far the most mind-blowing PS 'ible I have seen. Thank you so much. I'm already imagining the applications for this technique. Wonderful

    You totally copied lotsaaentertainments youtube channel's upload

    1 reply

    No, I actually learned it in school. Perhaps my graphic design teacher "totally copied lotsaaentertainments youtube channel's upload."

    I was thinking maybe you were using a different version of photoshop, but I just did this again in CS4 and it worked just fine.  It sounds like you may be doing the Polar coordinates in reverse. 

    I was with you til the 180 rotation and the Polar to Rectangle filter.....
    When I tried it, all I got was the original Lens flare only cut in half and shifted over, so the edges of the original image were in the centre :/
    Any ideas why? I followed everything you said step by step, and even got a friend to double check that Iw asn't messing it up somehow, but all steps were followed 100%, so I don't know why yours worked and mine didn't :/

    AWESOME! I've recently been messing around with photoshop and I've found that its fairly simple once you know how to work it. This is awesome and very easy, 5/5

    CS4 baby! go to 3d>and you can make 3d images and layer the image over top of it :)

    really clever. 5 stars. never thought that you could do that

    under layer go to hue /saturation select colorize ( bottom right) move the top slider to the color you want then use the second to get saturation use the bottom slider for brightness

    that should be image not layer. my mistake

    Click "Image Adjust", then Hue/Saturation/Lightness.

    Seems to me like step 3 is reinventing the wheel a bit... just use the elliptical marquee tool (with shift to select a sphere instead of an ellipse), then do Filter -> Distort -> Spherize. Your selection should stay, so you can copy just the sphere to another layer, or crop the unselected areas. This is a very creative way to use lens flare though!

    1 reply

    spherize works. but it doesnt look as realistic. its good for things where you need it to properly reflect whats behind it, but with the lens flare method it looks more like a real sphere when there isnt too complex of a background, or if you need to give the effect of complex lighting situations.

    we have photoshop elements v1.0.1, it came with a scanner and this Instructable even works on that

    I've known this for a while, but still, good instructable. P.S. This does work with version 6, i use it.

    Nice but why is it in the BBQ contest?