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Creating a Pearl

By Wendy Williams  ·  January 29th, 2010

Pearls are often used in scrapbooking, but when I wanted to use some of them I had a hard time finding instructions for making them. Eventually, I came up with my own method, and thought that you too may like to try it out. For this tutorial we will just make the pearl; in a later tutorial I will show you how to make a string of pearls to decorate your pages.

  1. First we need to create a new file: File>New>Blank File, 500 pixels by 500 pixels, 300 resolution, RGB with a white background.

  2. I filled my layer with a pale pink just to make it easier for you to see. If you want to do the same then choose ‘fbedf6’ as your foreground color and fill the layer. Select Edit>Fill Layer and choose Foreground color as the fill option.

  3. Create a new layer (Layer>New>Layer) and call it “Base.”

  4. Next select the Elliptical Marquee and use it to make a circle in the centre of the page. Use the size of mine as a guide.

  5. Then change your foreground color to white and fill the selection. Edit>Fill Selection. We are going to keep our selection and use it in the next steps, so do not deselect yet.

  6. Next choose ‘fcdde9’ as your foreground color, and create a new layer—Layer>New>Layer—and call it “Gradient.”

  7. Select the Gradient tool (G), and, in the Options Bar at the top of the screen, choose the Linear gradient and use the Foreground to Transparent gradient from the Default set.

  8. Drag the gradient out from the top left-hand side of the circular selection and about three-quarters of the way down towards the edge of the right-hand lower edge of the selection. Once you have done that, your image should look like the one below. Do not deselect yet.

  9. We are now going to give our pearl shape. Create a new layer (Layer>New>Layer) and call it “Shape.”

  10. Change your foreground color to ‘ccbac8’ and choose Edit>Stroke Selection. In the dialog box, use the following settings: Inside, 50 pixels and make sure that the color selected is the same as your foreground color. Do not deselect yet.

  11. Choose Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur at 25 pixels. Once again do not deselect: Having the selection active when a blur is applied ensures that it remains inside the selection, which is what we need to give our pearl shape.

  12. Next, we are going to give our pearl even more shading. Create a new layer (Layer>New>Layer) and call it “Shading.”

  13. Change your foreground color to black (press X, then D until black is the top tile on the color chips at the bottom of the Toolbox) and choose Edit>Stroke Selection: Inside, 15 pixels and make sure that the color selected is black. Again do not deselect.

  14. Choose Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur, set to 10 pixels. In the Layers palette, lower the opacity of this layer to 16%. It should now look a lot more realistic.

  15. Next, we are going to give our pearl two highlights. So create a new layer (Layer>New>Layer) and call it “Highlight1.”

  16. Change your foreground color to White and choose Edit>Stroke Selection: Inside, 10 pixels and make sure that the color selected is white.

  17. You can now deselect: Select>Deselect.

  18. Select the Move tool (V) and click on the white highlight. When the bounding box comes up move your cursor into one corner of the box, click down and drag in. This will make your circular highlight smaller. Use the image below as a guide for sizing.

  19. We now need to erase part of the circular highlight. So select the Eraser tool (E) and erase away part of it. (Use the image below as a guide.)

  20. We are going to blur the highlight, but we need to contain the blur within the pearl, so go to the Layers palette and Control-Click (Mac: Command-Click) on the “Base” layer to regain the selection.

  21. Then make sure that the “Highlight1” layer is still the active layer and perform a 12-pixel Gaussian Blur (Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur.)

  22. Now deselect: Select>Deselect.

  23. We are now going to create two more highlights. Create another new layer (Layer>New>Layer) and call it “Highlight2.”

  24. Select the Lasso tool (L) and make sure that it is set to Add to Selection (in the Options Bar). Make two selections similar to the ones in the next image. They don’t have to be too accurate, since we will be blurring them.

  25. Choose white as your foreground color (press D, then X until white is the foreground color) and choose Edit>Fill Selection.

  26. We are now going to blur the highlight, but we need to contain the blur within the pearl so go to the Layers palette and Control-Click (Mac: Command-Click) on the “Base” layer.

  27. Make sure that the “Highlight2” layer is still the active layer and choose Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur set to 12 pixels. Then choose Select>Deselect.

  28. Finally I just added a little drop shadow layer style to finish off my pearl.

I do hope that you enjoyed this tutorial; don’t forget that there are many different things that you can create, including an oval or heart shape. Also, experiment with a pale cream color or a pale blue, but most of all remember to experiment and enjoy

2 Replies to Creating a Pearl:

  1. Judy

    July 21, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Hi
    I made my first pearl to day. Thank you for the tutorial. I’m new in Elements, so could you please tell me, how I can change the color at the pearl,
    Hugs from Denmark

  2. Robert

    August 27, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Nice and easy tut with great effect.

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