How to Create a Gold Medal Effect in Photoshop


A gold medal created in Photoshop can add an eye-catching element to printed materials, and websites, blogs and other digital files. With the help of the "Custom Shape" option and other tools, you can create a very striking gold medal effect completely within Adobe Photoshop.

Things You'll Need

  • Adobe Photoshop

Set Up Your Document and Draw

  • Open a new document. Choose "US Paper" size from the default options. It's a good starting point for creating your gold medal. Also choose "RGB" color mode and 300 pixels-per-inch as the resolution. This way, you can use the gold medal for printing, or reduce its file size to use it on the Web.

  • Go to the Toolbar (on the left side by default) and activate the "Custom Shape" tool. It is bundled together with the Rectangle, Line and other shape-drawing tools. Type the "U" key and it will activate that set of tools. At the top of the screen under the pull-down menus are the tool settings for the Custom Shape tool. Choose "Shape Layer" as the option for what kind of file your shape will be. It's the first of three such options in a row on the left.

  • Locate the option for "Shape" followed by a small thumbnail preview. Click the small, downward pointing arrow next to the thumbnail, and options for different custom shapes will open. Near the top is a shape called "Seal," which nicely resembles a gold medal. Click on it, or choose any other that resembles the gold medal shape you are seeking. You must now choose a color with which to fill your layer for the gold medal shape. With the Custom Shape tool still active, go to the box marked "Color" on the right of the tool options bar at top. Click on it and choose "black."

  • Click and drag across your document to draw the seal. Try and fill the document. Hold the "Shift" key down while you are drawing the seal. This constrains the proportions of the seal. You know should have a black image in the shape of the Custom Shape you chose.

  • Double-click on an empty area inside the Shape Layer in the layer stack. Now the Layer Style options box will open. These effects determine the layer effects to produce a gold medal effect.

  • Click on "Drop Shadow." You can use the default settings or modify them to your taste. Click on "Inner Glow," and change the glow to a dark brown. Click on "Bevel and Emboss," and use the settings of Inner Bevel. For bevel Technique choose "Smooth," a "Depth" of 200 percent, and a "Size" of 250px. The rest can be left as default settings. Go now to "Color Overlay," and pick a nice gold or yellow-orange color. Set the Blend Mode to "Overlay." Finally, go to "Gradient Overlay" and choose a gradient of bright yellow, orange, or tan.

    The rest of the settings can be changed to suit your taste.

Tips & Warnings

  • Experiment with your custom shape and layer effects. Save a copy of your image with the "Save As" option in the File menu, and choose "jpeg." That way, you can preview the thumbnail without opening the Photoshop document.
  • Remember to save your document soon after you create it.

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  • Photo Credit Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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