Archive | May 2012

Web Design – Photoshop Buttons

When it comes to designing a really nice web 2.0 looking site, one of the fundamental elements are the use and presence of nice shiny/glossy link buttons in Photoshop. It adds more detail and visual presentation quality to the site. Such as a “Get Started” Button for a site wanting customers to sign up for something.


The button looks very clean with a nice glossy look. The text contrasts nicely against the button. So what Photoshop effects were used for this button? Check it out:

Here we see the effects applied to both the button, and the text. The text simple has a drop shadow effect with distance and size set to 1 and spread set to 0. This helps give the text a bit more depth. For the button, btn layer, the fill has just been set to a dark gray, which doesn’t matter in this scenario because the light blue to dark blue gradient overlays the fill to create that nice blue blending on the button with some shadows and the darker 1px stroke around the whole thing.

I should mention that typically the buttons with rounded corners use a 2-3 px radius, to give just a slight rounding. Its not uncommon to up some more, but there a point where it starts to look a bit goofy/cartoon-ish with such rounded corners. I guess its really just preference.

That’s one method used to create buttons, but there are other methods. The next one I’ll show you is my personal favorite because it allows you to easily change the colors without messing with the actual gradient. Check it out:

Slightly different from the button above, but these use the same general effects:

With this method, we use the fill color that we want our button to be (teal color in this case) and then apply a White to Transparent Gradient over it. This allows us to go in and simply change the fill anytime we want to change the color of the button. Then all that’s left is to play with the Gradient opacity to achieve the look you want. The text in this method is a bit different in that we apply a few different colors here. I use a darker tone that match my stroke color, then do an even darker inner shadow, blend multiply, and a really really light tone for the drop shadow. It creates a nice embedded effect.

And to make the read button, you just duplicate the layers and change the colors around to the desired like such:

So these are just a couple of ways to create some really nice Web 2.0 looking buttons. Other designers like to play with the bevel and emboss options to create a similar look. It really just depends on personal preference and what your going for. Til next time.

-We make IT work-


Guess what… i…

Guess what… it happened again today! Another businessman approached me with a software idea and wanted to know how to get this done! I could not believe this. I just started my blog for SmartBiz, and I get the exact question I posted yesterday. I do not enjoy reading long blogs, so I will keep it very simple, but break it down to byte sized articles.

So here goes…

To start with, if you have a web-based software idea, and you want to pursue this, then there are three ways to approach this. (1) Get a partner (work out a Non-disclosure Agreement, and share your idea in a protected manner).  (2) Get educated (long path), and (3) get a lot of money and research to find reputable software companies.

Option 1:

Advantages: it cost you less to get into the business (depending on your software partner), you work on the sales aspect of the business, business plan, marketing, back-office help, etc. etc. Let you partner work on developing the design, development and software rollouts. They will be responsible for release dates of beta versions moving towards the goal of going online live.

Disadvantage: You may have to give up considerable amount of shares of your idea, and of course control over the project, and having to deal with a partner can be very difficult. 

Option 2:

Advantage: You will spend time understanding how software works, and  get into the details of how software is developed, you will gain insights based on how much time and effort you are willing to endure, but it is worth the effort.

Disadvantage: Depending on your time constraints, this can be very long process. Time is money. 

Option 3:

Advantage: Possibly the fastest route. You have the money, or you have raised the money, and then partnered with a very efficient team, outsourced you development, outsourced your business back end, and focused strictly on visionary marketing and developing strategies

Disadvantage: You will need a lot of money to take this option.  

Stay tuned for more…

Software creation

Many industrious and entrepreneur types want to get into the software business. They have an idea, but now they need people to help them take that idea from concept to reality. How should they do this? I get asked this question many times in my career. Hey Abe, I have this idea for software, can you help me? Sure, do you have $50,000.00 for a down payment? I get silence and a dejected look.

In the next several articles, I hope to help the young (or old) entrepreneur who is interested in software, to begin to understand THE software business BEFORE they venture INTO the software business. Stay tuned…

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