The ability to make a cylinder in Photoshop is an important element in overall design, lending visual depth to a project. Cylinders are used as a basis for drawing scenes such as trees, pipes and architectural elements. When designing product packaging, it is used to visualize the final product as it would appear on a bottle, pen or tube. Creating a cylinder in Photoshop gives a two-dimensional piece of art a three-dimensional feel that enhances the visual experience of the viewer.
Things You'll Need
- Adobe Photoshop
Launch the program by double-clicking the "Photoshop" icon on your desktop. From the menu options at the top, select "File" and choose "Create a New Document." Set the dimensions to 500 pixels wide by 500 pixels high. For screen-only viewing, set the resolution to 72dpi and the color mode to RGB. If the finished project is intended for printing, the resolution is 300dpi, and the industry standard color mode is CMYK. Use the drop-down menu for "Background Contents" and choose "White." Hit "OK."
Create a new layer by clicking "Layer," then "New" and "New Layer" from the menu at the top. Select the "Rectangle Marquee Tool" from the tool panel. Draw a rectangle by clicking near the top center of the project area, and dragging to the right and the bottom of the project. Press the "D" key to reset the foreground and background colors to the default black and white.
Choose the “Gradient Tool” from the tool panel by clicking the down arrow on the "Paint Bucket Tool" and selecting "Gradient". At the top, select the setting for "Reflective Gradient." It is the fourth option from the left. Click and drag the gradient tool from the left side of the selected rectangle to the right side. This sets the selected area with a gradient that is darker on the left side and lightens towards the right. The gradient adds the illusion of a light source. The light on the rectangle now appears to be coming from the right side, while the left side is shadowed because it is away from the light source.
Use the “Elliptical Marquee" tool from the tool pane. Find it by clicking the down arrow on the "Rectangle Marquee" tool, and selecting the "Elliptical Marquee" tool. Create a selection by clicking on the left side of the rectangle and dragging to the right side of the rectangle.
While still holding down the mouse button, drag downwards to create the curved angle of the bottom of the cylinder. Release the mouse button. Choose the “Rectangular Marquee" tool by clicking the down arrow on the "Elliptical Marquee" tool and selecting "Rectangular Marquee Tool." Hold the “Shift” key and create a rectangle from the left center of the elliptical selection to the point where the top of the cylinder should be. Holding the shift key will add the rectangle selection to the elliptical one.
Invert the selection by choosing the "Select" menu at the top, and click "Inverse." Hit the “Backspace” key to eliminate the excess gradient. This leaves your project all white and cuts out all parts of the gradient rectangle no longer needed for the cylinder.
Add a new layer by clicking "Layer," then "New" and "New Layer" from the menu at the top. Use the “Elliptical Marquee Tool” found on the tool panel to create the top of the cylinder in Photoshop. Click and drag from the top-left corner of the rectangle to the top-right corner of the rectangle. While still holding down the mouse button, drag downwards to create an oblong shape.
Release the mouse button. Double-click "Set foreground color" on the tool panel. Select a light gray color by clicking a light gray area of the color panel. Press the "G" key on the keyboard to switch back to the "Paint Bucket" tool. Fill the new selection with a light gray color by clicking anywhere inside the new elliptical selection. This creates the illusion in Photoshop of a circular top on the cylinder.
Create a new layer by clicking "Layer," then "New" and "New Layer," from the menu at the top. Press "D" on the keyboard to reset the default background and foreground colors. Select a basic, soft brush by choosing the "Brush Tool" from the tool panel. From the brush options at the top, click the down arrow next to "Brush." Click once on the left arrow button, and select "Basic Brushes." Pick a brush with soft edges, and use the slider to adjust the "Master Diameter" to 300. Set the mode to normal from the "Mode” pull-down menu. Be sure the "Opacity" slider is set to "100%." Click once at the base of the cylinder to create a soft black area.
Select the "Edit" menu at the top, and choose "Free Transform." Adjust the black area by clicking and dragging the corners of the black area until it appears to be a shadow under the cylinder. Hold down "Ctrl" to click on and adjust a single corner at a time. Click the check mark at the top to finalize the adjustments. Access the layers panel by clicking "Window," then "Layers," from the top menu, or hitting "F7" on the keyboard. Click once on the shadow layer in the "Layers" panel. Move the "Opacity" slider to the left to soften the shadow.
Select "File" from the menu at the top and choose "Save As". Type "Cylinder" as the "File Name". Pull down the "Format" menu to "Photoshop PDF." Click "Save". This will save the project in its original form, in case there are any adjustments to be made later. From the menu at the top, choose "Layer," and select "Flatten Image." This will combine all layers into one layer, to create a single image of the Photoshop cylinder. Again, click "File," and choose "Save As." Name the file "Cylinder."
Choose "JPEG" from the "Format" pull-down menu, and click "Save." Under "Image Options," pull the menu down to "Maximum." Select the "Baseline Optimized" radial button. Click "OK." This will save the project as a single .jpg image with all layers merged, and reduce the file size significantly.
Tips & Warnings
- Use the keyboard shortcut "Ctrl+N" to quickly create a new document.
- Use the Keyboard shortcut "Shift+Ctrl+N" to easily create a new layer.
- Swap between the "Rectangle Marquee Tool" and the "Elliptical Marquee Tool" by hitting the "M" key on the keyboard.
- Quickly change from the "Paint Bucket Tool" and the "Gradient Tool" by pressing the "G" key on the keyboard.
- Easily invert a selection by using the keyboard shortcut "Shift+Ctrl+I."
- Photo Credit Ciaran Griffin/Lifesize/Getty Images