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Create a Glossy Volt Icon in Photoshop

First of all I would like to thank Negreu Andreas for collaborating with me in creating this tutorial. This is an inspiration from the Bolt movie poster. In this tutorial you will create a glossy thunder logo using a few layers and some white shapes that will make the thunder more interesting and glossy.

Step 1: Create a new document

First of all create a new white document 1000×600 and then create the thunder shape using the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L).

Step 1

Step 2: Apply Color

Create a new layer and with the selection still activated fill it with #ff9c00.

Step 3: Create the 3D effect

Next you need to duplicate the layer two times and change the color of these 2 layers to #ffc66c. Also move them behind the first layer and place them like in the image below.

Step 3

Step 4

Next you need to merge the two layers you just created in step 3 and using the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) make selections like below and fill them with the same color as the shape.

Step 4

Step 5: Add shadows

Using the Burn Tool set to Shadow and 60% Exposure you need to draw over the corners of the layer created in step 4.

Step 6: Darken shape

Again using the Burn Tool (O) you need to select the first thunder layer and burn the corners of the shape.

Step 6

Step 7: Add stroke

Hold down Command key and then click on the first shape layer thumbnail to make a selection around it, create a new layer above this then with the Lasso Tool (L) select and press the Right + Click on the screen and create a 3 px stroke with this color #ffab45.

Use the Blur Tool (R) to soften the edges of the stroke.

Step 8

Create a new layer on top of all the layers and using the Brush Tool (B) set to the same color used for the stroke #ffab45 you need to draw on all the corners of the thunder.

Step 9: Shadows

It is time to add some more intense shadows. For this select the layer behind the original thunder shape and using the brush set to #800300 draw on the corners like in the image below.

Step 10

Duplicate the stroke from step 7 and go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast and set it to (brightness -150, contrast +30). You will also have to move the new layer right a few pixels like below.

Step 11

Use the Eraser Tool (E) and erase the corners of the stroke and use the Blur Tool (R) on the stroke to make it blend in with the other shapes.

Step 12: Light colors

Create some more light colors on the thunder using the Brush Tool (B) set to #ffa93c. Make a selection like below, create a new layer on top of all the layers and start adding some color. Remember to use a soft brush for this.

Step 13

Create a new layer and make a selection like below. Draw with the Brush Tool (B) set to #6b000 and set the layer to Overlay.

Step 14: Improving the shape

Next you need to work some more on the layer behind the original thunder shape. You need to change the shape of the layer a bit by making some selections like below and drawing over the layer with some more colors and shadows.

Step 15

Create a new layer and make a selection like below and using the Brush Tool (O) draw on top of the selection with #e20001 and on the bottom of the selection with #ffa739.

Step 16: Details

Use the Eraser Tool (E) and erase the corners of the stroke.

Step 17: Add Gloss

It is time to add some more gloss on the shape. Create a new layer on top of all the layers and make different selections like below, then using a yellow color and a soft brush you need to simply draw some faded shades of light on the shape then set the layer to Overlay or Soft Light. You can also erase some parts of the gloss and make it fade out. In the end add some final strokes, smudge them and lower the opacity.

Remember that you will have to create different selections for each gloss you apply.

Final Result

Download the PSD


  1. Add point Subtract point
    Roger Walters (1 Point) January 16, 2011 at 4:21 am

    concise, but highly informative.Thanks

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  2. Add point Subtract point
    Heptasarim (0 Points) November 29, 2010 at 1:04 am

    Suitable for persons who searching nice and specific logo. If I did see before this tutorial I’d like to determine this icon/logo for my friend’s site.

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  3. Add point Subtract point
    Web Design Banbury (0 Points) November 2, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Great tutorial. Many thanks. LC

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  4. Add point Subtract point
    Website Facility (0 Points) October 20, 2010 at 7:23 am

    This is excellent , thank you.

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  5. Add point Subtract point
    Bubustiuc (0 Points) September 27, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Great tutorial.
    I also loved the “home made” techniques.
    Keep it up!

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  6. Add point Subtract point
    Elden Kleeman (1 Point) September 18, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Hey your website is awesome!

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  7. Add point Subtract point
    Lisa Thomason (1 Point) September 7, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Really enjoyable tutorial, Thank you! LT

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  8. Add point Subtract point

    Great tutorial, has given me some good techniques and tips, Thanks

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  9. Add point Subtract point
    WebProject | Web Design | Web Development| (1 Point) September 4, 2010 at 1:05 pm
  10. Add point Subtract point
    Michael (1 Point) July 17, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    awesome tutorial! kinda long, i feel like i could have achieved something of equal value without as many steps, but still very good. The design looks awesome! good job

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  11. Add point Subtract point
    jaka zulham (1 Point) July 4, 2010 at 7:33 am

    i like the tut’s:)

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  12. Add point Subtract point
    Web Design from Lyons Solutions (1 Point) July 4, 2010 at 6:44 am

    I am not so sure to spend such a long time on the design. Thats’ probably because I am not a designer myself, but give me coding I will do it for as long as it takes.

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  13. Add point Subtract point
    stock images (1 Point) June 5, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Great tutorial.I will try it now ;)

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  14. Add point Subtract point
    Rosie (1 Point) May 4, 2010 at 9:38 am

    great post! let me try this one!
    get your website optimized at Quintema

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  15. Add point Subtract point
    Web Design (1 Point) April 26, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    Very nice outcome. just what i needed for my site thanks for sharing :)

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  16. Add point Subtract point

    thanx for the nicht tut,can you tell me wich Gradient you used for th Background?

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  17. Add point Subtract point
    anaskattoor (1 Point) March 14, 2010 at 2:41 am

    this is really nice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    thank you……………………………………………..

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  18. Add point Subtract point
    anaskattoor (1 Point) March 11, 2010 at 11:05 am


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  19. Add point Subtract point

    Hello from KOSOVA,great tutorial I like it a lot

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  20. Add point Subtract point
    โหลดเพลงใหม่ฟรี (1 Point) February 3, 2010 at 2:06 am

    thanks for sharing. So mush124

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  21. Add point Subtract point
    แจกเพลง (1 Point) February 1, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    thanks for sharing. So mush117

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  22. Add point Subtract point
    ฟังเพลงออนไลน์ (1 Point) February 1, 2010 at 1:27 am

    thanks for sharing. So mush112

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  23. Add point Subtract point
    โหลดเพลงฟรี (1 Point) January 30, 2010 at 8:38 am

    great i never seen before.

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  24. Add point Subtract point
    graffiti vector (1 Point) January 23, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    great tutorial thanks a lot, i like it

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  25. Add point Subtract point
    graffiti vector (1 Point) January 23, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    nice tutorial thanks for sharing this article

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  26. Add point Subtract point

    it really seems like you could have just made a gradient and color the top “volt” shape then made two more and added them on as so then just put the shadow and gloss on i see same results in half the time

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  27. Add point Subtract point

    Great tutorial, technique can be adapted to other designs. Really useful!

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  28. Add point Subtract point
    PSDDude (1 Point) January 4, 2010 at 1:51 am

    Very nice result! The idea is also great!

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  29. Add point Subtract point
    wedding photographer galway (1 Point) January 3, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    this is just fantastic. very very well done!

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  30. Add point Subtract point
    Tutorials007 (1 Point) January 2, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    3d effect could be also achieved by pressing CTRL + ALT and Left arrow.

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  31. Add point Subtract point
    Web Design from Lyons Solutions (1 Point) December 19, 2009 at 11:09 am

    Thank you for the well laid tutorial. I am glad I’ve come accross this post. Have been searching for a simplified tutorial for a while now :D

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  32. Add point Subtract point
    Tampa Web Design (1 Point) November 17, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Well written, good tutorial. I picked up some new Photoshop techniques after reading this article. Thank you for the knowledge.

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  33. Add point Subtract point
    n00o00r2020 (1 Point) November 9, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    thankes man
    good work

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  34. Add point Subtract point

    Thank you. I can’t wait to try it, and of course I’ll have to come back and let you know how great it turned out!
    Thanks again for sharing.
    Always looking for a “tut challenge”………of one degree or another.

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  35. Add point Subtract point
    Duxcic – ديوكسس (1 Point) November 2, 2009 at 8:15 am

    I will Do It Thanxsssssss

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  36. Add point Subtract point

    Really great tutorial, but step 17 isnt explaind very well. Its a little confused

    Best Regards,

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  37. Add point Subtract point
    Scott James (1 Point) August 24, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    David Leggett – Maybe you could give me some direct advice about our site? : ]


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  38. Add point Subtract point
    sosey (1 Point) July 24, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    chris help me (please mail me)im just sarted

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  39. Add point Subtract point
    scottyzen (3 Points) June 28, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    thanks alot… great tut :D

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  40. Add point Subtract point

    I am trilled, I always wanted to do this kinda paintings with icons in photoshop. This is my next project.

    Thanks for the tut. dude

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  41. Add point Subtract point
    spooxas (1 Point) June 26, 2009 at 4:13 am

    Wow amazing tutorial! Great work!

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  42. Add point Subtract point
    kyawswar (1 Point) June 10, 2009 at 6:41 am

    Thanks for ur tutorial Detail. Thanks millions.

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  43. Add point Subtract point
    pennyroll (1 Point) May 22, 2009 at 6:05 am

    love the glassy finish!

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  44. Add point Subtract point
    Tony Mathew (1 Point) May 11, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Nice tut, I have always wondered how people made really glossy icons, this revealed some things to me, thank you.

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  45. Add point Subtract point
    simplify (1 Point) May 10, 2009 at 3:35 am

    It looks great texture!

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  46. Add point Subtract point
    Zapp1 (1 Point) May 6, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    this tutorial is so bad written. i mean, i appreciate you work, but dude, did you ever read this??

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  47. Add point Subtract point
    yeszmine (1 Point) May 6, 2009 at 1:18 am

    nice !!!!!
    but quite tedious….

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  48. Add point Subtract point
    tasarhane (1 Point) May 4, 2009 at 7:09 am

    very detailed.. pretty nice tutorial..!

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  49. Add point Subtract point
    Thiago |Okami| Vieira (1 Point) May 3, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    What? Constantin again? Minutes ago I whas reading your tutorials at PsdTuts+ ! You are awesome, man!

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  50. Add point Subtract point
    2048 (1 Point) May 2, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    Great tutorial, although a wee bit hard to follow at points, it’s a clear and thoughtful tutorial. Keep it up.

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  51. Add point Subtract point
    huwaw69 (1 Point) May 2, 2009 at 8:46 am

    a bit quite hard, but great result… great job man!

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  52. Add point Subtract point
    Harish (1 Point) May 1, 2009 at 3:42 am

    i am gr8 fan of photoshop was looking for some gud tutorials ,i found this ,sounds intresting and in a simplified way,sounds really in a easy steps gr8 post .

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  53. Add point Subtract point
    maxlink (1 Point) April 30, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    Nice tut ! I’ll try now :D

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  54. Add point Subtract point
    sundar (1 Point) April 29, 2009 at 11:32 am

    nice tutorial. you can add your tutorial on

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  55. Add point Subtract point
    Guy_Fawkes (1 Point) April 29, 2009 at 12:56 am

    Hey, I didn’t quite understand the step 7 (the stroke creation) : I create a new layer with the selection of the first shape active, but then lasso tool and “Right+click” ?? What does that mean ?

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  56. Add point Subtract point

    I just realized that the protect tones option has to be unchecked (which was marked by default) in order to have the desired effect.

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  57. Add point Subtract point
    Pradeep CD (1 Point) April 27, 2009 at 1:12 am

    Good looking icon… great tut…downloaded..

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  58. Add point Subtract point
    nandreas (1 Point) April 26, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    u set the burn tool in Shadow mode? srry

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  59. Add point Subtract point

    Great tutorial. I can’t wait to try it. Thanks.

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  60. Add point Subtract point

    Great tutorial, but when I was trying to use the burning tool it actually didn’t work. The color it appeared was too pale, not like the reddish effect you have. How can i accentuate those corners the way you have it?

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  61. Add point Subtract point
    odoyalerules (1 Point) April 24, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Thanks so much for the tutorial. The gloss effect is really something I need to get good at

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  62. Add point Subtract point
    lawrence77 (1 Point) April 24, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Constantin Potorac when i open your site, my Avast says that it contains virus! :(
    check it out….

    Usually a great tut, thanks for sharing!

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  63. Add point Subtract point
    RUGRLN (1 Point) April 24, 2009 at 10:42 am

    Ah Mr.Potorac, you’re on T9 too…gr8 to see u here! Looking forward to some gr8 tuts!

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  64. Add point Subtract point
    Nikola (1 Point) April 24, 2009 at 4:05 am

    Great tut! Just love it! Thanks Constantin

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  65. Add point Subtract point
    lazer epilasyon (1 Point) April 23, 2009 at 11:03 am

    It is definitely great tutorial.. Thanks!

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  66. Add point Subtract point
    misterbremer (1 Point) April 23, 2009 at 8:56 am

    I’m trying it out right now. Looks good, and fun too. Only thing–its lightning, not thunder.

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  67. Add point Subtract point
    Gyrel Dagooc (1 Point) April 23, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Great tutorial. Very well detailed…Thanks!

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  68. Add point Subtract point
    Constantin Potorac (1 Point) April 23, 2009 at 5:23 am

    Thank you all for the support ;)

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  69. Add point Subtract point
    Claire (1 Point) April 23, 2009 at 3:54 am

    A very long process for what looks so simple but great! You are a very patient person. As much as i’d love to, i don’t have enough time to create mini photoshop masterpieces like yourself :(

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  70. Add point Subtract point
    Melanie (1 Point) April 22, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    DUDE – this is beautiful. I’m going to take these ideas and apply then to my next project – thanks!

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  71. Add point Subtract point
    Matthew (1 Point) April 22, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    I am a big fan. I’d like to see a tutorial the word “Volt”.

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  72. Add point Subtract point

    very cool, love the techniques

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  73. Add point Subtract point
    Constantin Potorac (1 Point) April 22, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Thank you Andreas for the hard work ;)

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  74. Add point Subtract point
    Crimzdesign (1 Point) April 22, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Congrats for this tutorial

    Love the glossy style ! Keep on !

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  75. Add point Subtract point
    moih60 (1 Point) April 22, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    wonderful tutorial man…u just keep good with the final result but the overall idea is amazing
    thanx and added to my blog

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  76. Add point Subtract point
    Fire G (1 Point) April 22, 2009 at 11:26 am


    I never realized how much work goes into creating a high quality icon.

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  77. Add point Subtract point (1 Point) April 22, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Hey Constantin, great job on the tutorial. Clear and concise and didn’t leave me asking any questions! Looks sleek and professional as well :) Definitely a unique way of going about doing this over just using traditional vectoring and such. Thanks again! – Dave

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  78. Add point Subtract point
    Branden (1 Point) April 22, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Nice work Constantin. The company I’m starting actually has a lightning bolt in it’s logo. This one definitely has way more detail than my logo and provides some stellar inspiration to enhancing mine before launch.


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    Gianmarco Simone (1 Point) April 22, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Very nice tutorial, thank you :D

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