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Create the Glass Shelf Dock from Leopard OS in Photoshop

In the new MAC OS X Leopard operating system, the application bar has a new, sleek look. This tutorial will show you how to create the Glass Shelf Dock used for the operating system.

What We Will Be Creating

For those of you not aware of what the Leopard operating system looks like, you can see it here. The image below will give you an idea of what we will be creating.

Final Result


The background wallpaper we are going to be using is shown below. A larger version can be found here.


Setting the Guides

Now that we have all the materials we need to get started, and we have an idea of what the Glass Shelf Dock looks like, lets begin to create our own inside of Photoshop.

Begin by Creating a New Document (I used a 1280x800px document) and placing the wallpaper into the Background Layer.

Make sure your rulers are enabled. If they aren’t, navigate to View > Rulers(Ctrl+R). Also make sure your guides are enabled at View > Show > Guides(Ctrl+;). Now lets drag guides out from the vertical ruler to 140px and 1140px. Then drag a guide from the horizontal ruler to 760px.


Creating the Shelf

Grab your Rectangular Marquee Selection Tool(M) and select the 1000x60px area in between your guides. Then set your colors as such:

#777777 Foreground color #777777

#555555 Background color #555555

Create a new layer. Then grab your Linear Gradient Tool and select the “Foreground to Background” preset gradient. While holding shift, drag your cursor from the top of the selection to the bottom.

Shelf Gradient

Create two more vertical guides at 170px and 1110px. Now lets go to Edit > Transform > Perspective and while holding shift, drag the top left corner to your 170px guide.

Perspective Tip

Holding shift will transform both sides of your object at the same time, so that they stay symmetrical.

Change Perspective

Adding Effect to the Shelf

Change the opacity of your Shelf Layer to 90% or 80%. Ctrl+Click on the thumbnail for the Shelf Layer to make a selection of it. Create a new layer. Then, grab your Pencil Tool and create a 2px line with the color #cccccc across the bottom of the selection and set the opacity of the layer to 85%. Then, above that, create a 1px line on a new layer with the color #000000 and set the opacity to 25%.

Hiding the Guides

We don’t need the guides that we created anymore, so you can either drag them off the screen or hide them by going to View > Show > Guides

Once again, Ctrl+Click on the thumbnail for the Shelf Layer to make a selection of it. Then, create a Foreground to Transparent Gradient about 30px wide on the left and right side of the selection on a new layer. Change the opacity to 10%.

Left/Right Glow

Creating the Glossy Effect

To add more effect to the shelf, lets add a curved gloss to it. Create a new layer and grab your Pen Tool(P). Make sure that your pen is set to paths.

Pen Tool

Before proceeding, you may want to read the tutorial Pen Tool Basics – Custom Shapes to better understand how to create the shape in the next step, since I will not be explaining how to use the pen tool step by step.

Create a path similar to the highlighted area below. Then, right click while you still have your pen tool selected and click make selection. Make sure feather radius is set to 0px.

Path Selection

Grab the Foreground to Transparent Gradient Tool and set your foreground color to #FFFFFF. Then, hold shift and drag the gradient from the bottom of the selection to the top of the selection. You should now have something like below.

Adding Icons

Bring in the first icon that you want to add and place it about halfway up the height of the shelf. Duplicate(Layer > Duplicate Layer…) it and flip it vertically(Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical). Drag it down until the top of the flipped version is touching the bottom of the normal version. Then, change the opacity to 25%.

Adding Shadow

Some people would stop here thinking that the effect is done. However, not only does the actual operating system have shadows for the icons, I would add them even if it didn’t. They help to create more depth and a greater effect.

To add the shadow, duplicate(Layer > Duplicate Layer…) your icon layer and drag the new layer under the original. Fill your layer with black Edit > Fill… Use: Black(Shift+F5). Then change the size of your icon using Edit > Free Transform(Ctrl+T). Drag the top middle box until the top of your icon matches the top of the shelf.

Once you have this accomplished, we need to blur the shadow. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the radius to 1.5px. Then change the opacity to 25%.

Completed Shadow

Repeat this process with more icons

Creating the Fading Rectangles

To create the fading rectangles, follow the same steps we used to create the shelf. Make a white rectangle and transform it using perspective. Delete sections of the rectangle, making them get smaller as they get farther away. Then lower the opacity to 25%.


Creating the Orb

Create an oval 10x4px using the Elliptical Marquee Tool. Then apply the following Layer Styles(Layer > Layer Styles).


The Final Result

We now have all of the objects and effects that we need to complete our design. Lets take a look at the final result.

Final Preview

Creating Something Unique

Experiment with your own styles, colors, and effects to create something that stands out and looks unique. Following a tutorial is one thing, but applying the techniques you learn to something original is on a whole different level.

If you’d like, feel free to grab the Glass Dock PSD to get a bet understanding of how I accomplished this look!


  1. Add point Subtract point
    kenichifc (2 Points) December 14, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    thanks for tutorial. Love it, simple and effective :D

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  2. Add point Subtract point
    Website Facility (1 Point) October 20, 2010 at 9:20 am

    This is really good, thank you very much for sharing.

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  3. Add point Subtract point
    Ko Kyi Naing (1 Point) August 22, 2010 at 6:30 am

    Oh! Coooooooooooool.
    I Like This Post.

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  4. Add point Subtract point

    Hey. I am having trouble making this (I know, Im a little dumb, but im new to photoshop) . I was wondering if you could send me the .psd file so I can see what you did. This would help a bunch! Thanks :)

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  5. Add point Subtract point
    jeremiah newton (2 Points) July 20, 2010 at 4:57 am

    hey i wanna know if i can make this same dock on a blackberry theme composer tell me

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  6. Add point Subtract point
    Warren Jerzyszek (2 Points) June 29, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Once again a really nice post. Such a simple tutorial that can be implemented into other areas of design not just for mimicking the snow leopard interface. I’ve downloaded the Zip file attached and will have a look at how you did it in more depth. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. Add point Subtract point
    โหลดเพลง (2 Points) March 29, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Great for share these. Thank you for your share.

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  8. Add point Subtract point
    yearbookkid (1 Point) February 23, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Hey, thanks so much for this tutorial. It’s simple, yet descriptive. I used it to make my page in the yearbook! Keep making more!

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  9. Add point Subtract point
    ARQUIGRAFICO (2 Points) February 9, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    Thanks for the tutorial. I will try to doit for windows desktop

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  10. Add point Subtract point
    โหลดเพลงmp3ฟรี (1 Point) February 3, 2010 at 2:17 am

    its very nice. Great post35

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  11. Add point Subtract point
    เพลงใหม่ล่าสุด (1 Point) February 1, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    its very nice. Great post22

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  12. Add point Subtract point
    ฟังเพลงออนไลน์ (1 Point) February 1, 2010 at 1:39 am

    its very nice. Great post16

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  13. Add point Subtract point
    โหลดเพลงฟรี (2 Points) January 30, 2010 at 9:08 am

    great i never seen before.

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  14. Add point Subtract point

    Thank you so much for all the effort it took to prepare this really useful and helpful tut! It helped me tons on a project :)

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  15. Add point Subtract point
    Laurent JOUVIN (1 Point) January 4, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Great tutorial! I hope I’ll try to apply this to a project very soon. Thank you.

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  16. Add point Subtract point

    Thank you so much…it was one the best tutorial..awesome….

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  17. Add point Subtract point


    Great tutorial… I have a Mac…Running Snow Leopard actually… But it is effectively the same look.

    The dock is actually slighlty less gray than tha… Its more white, and as Paul said, it reflects the image above.

    Otherwise great tutorial… Thanks

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  18. Add point Subtract point
    Marcus Rodrigues (1 Point) September 20, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    Great tutorial man! Very usefull!

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  19. Add point Subtract point
    Da Bomb Squad (1 Point) August 7, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    I’m gonna use this as a background in my object dock :)

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  20. Add point Subtract point
    Deeware (0 Points) August 2, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    Cool!! you guys are Really gud and thats a neat tutorial.
    am new in graphics bt nw i think i’ll advance with thie tutorial. hey how do u these effects together?

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  21. Add point Subtract point
    Dattatri (1 Point) July 20, 2009 at 2:26 am

    Real Cool one! Very simple and easy to understand.

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  22. Add point Subtract point

    Awesome tutorial… Just wondering if you might have any other images with shadows to use. Something like an email icon, etc.

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  23. Add point Subtract point
    huwaw69 (1 Point) May 3, 2009 at 4:16 am

    This tutorial is useful, very useful, this can be made into a nice flashy web page… Thanks man

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  24. Add point Subtract point
    Gyrel Dagooc (1 Point) April 21, 2009 at 2:14 am

    Very good tutorial! I love Apple designs and artworks!

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  25. Add point Subtract point

    Hi Tyler – I have come accross your great tutorial while searching for a flash version of your work. The flash version I have found are no where near as good as your work. Did anyone ever take your work and put it into flash?

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  26. Add point Subtract point
    Bani Barranco (1 Point) February 24, 2009 at 12:23 am

    Sorry I meant “most of”, I’m venezuelan please never mind my language mistakes.

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  27. Add point Subtract point
    Bani Barranco (1 Point) February 24, 2009 at 12:21 am

    Wanna help me? give me a smiling coin step by step I have tried unsuccessfully, perhaps it’s easy I guess I must attend a course. I believe desing is a rare gift but mostly of us want to see it as a process to develop. That’s where we fail though.

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  28. Add point Subtract point
    David Aimi (1 Point) February 13, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Great tutorial Tyler – I highly recommend a pt 2 tutorial involving a JavaScript framework like jQuery. You could make it very fun/interactive with the animate() function =D.

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  29. Add point Subtract point
    Tobias Therkelsen (2 Points) February 9, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Hi. Great tutorial. As a mac user myself this tutorial could have been a great intro on how to change the look of the dock in OS X. Unfortunately you have not explained how to split the images up so that they can be used for this. I have played around with it and it’s really not very hard to do. Don’t know if this would be the place to publish a guide for that, but your tutorial would be great as an intro to the graphical part of creating your own dock. I would be happy to help out with making such a tutorial if you guys are interested.

    Toby out.

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  30. Add point Subtract point

    Unfortunately, i dont like mac. But i like your creativity in presenting.

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  31. Add point Subtract point

    I admired ! subscribing to the RSS now :)

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  32. Add point Subtract point

    You might wanna try to turn on on extras and rulers in the view menu. Then you can drag new guides from the page rules on the top and left of your photoshop window. good luck. :-)

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  33. Add point Subtract point

    you have wonderful view
    thanks 4 tutorial

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  34. Add point Subtract point
    machead5678 (1 Point) September 18, 2008 at 6:25 am

    The tutorial is really good but I cannot start, the guides drop-down button is blacked out so I cannot access guides. Does anyone have a way to get them to work?
    I have checked that all of them are enabled.
    Kind Regards,

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  35. Add point Subtract point
    ashwin (1 Point) August 6, 2008 at 5:25 am

    thank u very much this is awesome tutorial mate…u r da best

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  36. Add point Subtract point
    Oposinii (1 Point) August 3, 2008 at 11:11 am

    Excellent tut.

    Thanks mate!

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  37. Add point Subtract point
    delmar (1 Point) May 27, 2008 at 7:45 am

    really cool stuff you added there

    keep it up


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  38. Add point Subtract point
    Azerbaijan (1 Point) May 25, 2008 at 5:03 am

    Salam Aleykum.
    Thx for the great created tutorial! Well done:)

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  39. Add point Subtract point

    I actually made this with flash in mind, I figured someone would be inspired to create a navigation menu styled like the Leopard OS in flash.

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  40. Add point Subtract point
    Timothy (1 Point) May 24, 2008 at 5:40 pm


    u can say that again, might be able to use this tutorial for flash design thanks dude :)

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  41. Add point Subtract point
    LOSWL (1 Point) May 24, 2008 at 3:45 am

    Excellent tutorial, love the attention to details :o)

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  42. Add point Subtract point

    Great tutorial! The rollover images really help.

    I cant see myself ever using this, but its good to help me learn the little things.

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  43. Add point Subtract point

    Thanks for that information Paul. In that case, simply make a copy of the background, flip it vertically, mask it to the same size of the shelf, and lower the opacity to around 10% or so. It would be placed right about the shelf layer.

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  44. Add point Subtract point
    Paul Walker (1 Point) May 23, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    Great tutorial, but there’s one little accuracy issue. The shelf is not actually transparent. If you look closely, you’ll see that the bit behind the shelf is a reflection of whats above it.

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  45. Add point Subtract point

    Incredible Tutorial Tyler! Way to go on your very first tutorial with us at Tutorial9!

    We really do have some talented authors here! Keep it up mate!

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