Deke’s Techniques: Making a glowing panic button in Photoshop

Published by | Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

In this week’s free Deke’s Techniques, Deke McClelland takes the beautiful glowing jewel he created in last week’s technique, and turns it into a beautiful glowing panic button. Because this time of year, if you’re going to freak out, you want it to be pretty and decorative.

Deke begins the project where we left off last week, with the glowing cabochon he created out of pure Photoshop pixels. Since few people wear panic buttons around their necks (although that would be handy), the first step is to turn off the gold necklace layer. The result is that the glimmering jewel becomes a glowing button.

From glowing jewel to panic button

Next, Deke selects the original ellipse that represents the amber part of the button and gives it a white-to-transparent gradient fill.

Use a gradient fill

Using the Transform command, he moves the new gradient-filled elipse up to create a highlight on the top side of the button, which starts to distinguish it from its jewel predecessor.

Transform the gradient

Deke blends in the highlight by increasing the ellipse’s Feather value to 5 pixels and reducing the Opacity of the adjustment layer to 80 percent.

Feather the selection

The text begins life as a simple text layer, to which Deke first applies a Radial Blur so that the edges of the outer letters start to distort.

Add a radial blur

Then, Deke increases the effect by adjusting the black and white points of the Underlying Layer style. The result is a full-fledged Panic button.

Adjusting the black and white points

But really, is that what we want to think about this time of year? Panicking? The beauty of this effect is that everything is editable, including the text. So a simple change of letters, hue adjustment, and layer style fine-tuning gives us a button that immediately makes any day a holiday. Now that’s a cure for the holiday panic!

Because the technique is non-destructive, changes are easy to make.

Deke will be back next week with another free technique.

Interested in more?

• The entire Deke’s Techniques weekly series on
• Courses by Deke McClelland on
• All Photoshop courses on

Suggested courses to watch next:

• Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals
• Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Intermediate
 Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

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2 Responses to “Deke’s Techniques: Making a glowing panic button in Photoshop”

  1. Paige R. says:

    Wow.. that’s really, really ugly.

    Looks like drops of orange and green slime. Neither look like jewels.

    • Thanks for your feedback, Paige. I know different designs affect people differently. The idea originally came from a chalk artist in Boulder who has these odd glowing orbs in his chalk paintings, named Bryce Widom, and those very well may be “slime orbs” embedded in the trees. Curious if you found any of the techniques inside the video applicable to work you’re currently doing?

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