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Design a Creative RSS Icon in 15 Simple Steps

Final Image

As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:

Step 1

Creating a new document (600X600px) and create a new layer called ‘yellow background’. Fill it with a linear gradient ranging from ebda7c to fcecbe.

Step 2

Create a new layer called ‘background highlight’. Now use your radial gradient tool (white to transparent) to drag a circle of light down from the top center of your canvas. Then change your layer’s opacity to 50% and it’s blend mode to ‘overlay’. This should create a subtle lighting effect at the top of your canvas.

Step 3

Now create a new layer called ‘background shadows’. Select your paintbrush tool, selecting a 100px brush at 0% hardness, b28b19 color. Then paint a few random marks over your canvas.

Now go to filter>blur>gaussian blur and apply a 50px strength gaussian blur. This should make your brush strokes blend into your background better.

Finally, reduce your shadows layer’s opacity to around 30% to make the effect more subtle.

Step 4

Now go to view>new guide and start laying out some guides for your main icon shape. Set 2 vertical guides at 100px and 500px, and 2 horizontal guides at 100px and 500px.

Create a new layer called ‘rss icon shape’ and then create a rounded rectangle shape within these guides. Be sure to set your rounded rectangles corner radius to 20px. The rounded rectangle can be any color you want at this stage.

Step 5

You can turn off your guides now.

Apply a series of blending options to your RSS icon shape layer, including a gradient overlay, inner glow, stroke and drop shadow. You can see all settings for these options below:

Step 6

Now create a new layer called ‘diagonal highlight’. Select your linear gradient tool and create a gradient ranging from transparent, to white, to transparent. Then make it so that your gradient goes diagonally across your icon shape. To create a gradient at a perfect 45 degrees simply hold shift when you’re dragging out your gradient.

Then apply a 50px gaussian blur to your diagonal gradient layer. As this was the last filter used it should be ready at the top of your filter menu. Change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’ in order to make the effect blend better with your main background. Finally, you’ll notice that parts of your gradient are sticking out over the edges of your main RSS icon shape. To fix this, go to your layer palette and option+click on your RSS icon shape. This should select all data on this layer. Then with your selection in place go to select>inverse to invert your select. Return to your diagonal gradient layer and hit ‘delete’ to delete any excess overlap.

Step 7

Create a new layer called ‘circle gradient’. Use your elliptical marquee tool to drag out an oval shape over the top half of your icon shape, and then fill this with a linear gradient ranging from white to transparent.

Change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’ and reduce it’s opacity to 15%. Then use your select>inverse technique to delete any excess overlapping the edges of your icon.

Step 8

Create a new layer called ‘corner shadows’. Grab a 100px, soft paintbrush (black) and paint over the corners of your icon.

Apply a 50px gaussian blur, and then change your layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’ and reduce it’s opacity to 50%.

Finally repeat the select>inverse technique. However, you’ll notice that when you option+click and select your icon shape, your selection doesn’t include your outside stroke effect. We want our corner shadows to apply to this area.


However, this is an easy fix. Once you have inverted your selection, instead of hitting delete straight away, go to select>modify>contract and contract your selection by 10px (the size of your stroke). Now you can hit delete, and your shadows will apply to your inner icon as well as your stroked area.

Step 9

Now create a new layer called ‘top and bottom’.

Use the same brush as you did for your corner shadows layer, and paint a line of paint overlapping the very bottom of your icon. Then paint a line of white overlapping the very top of your icon.

Use the select>inverse technique to delete any excess, remembering to contract your inverted selection by 10px to include your stroke.

Reduce this layer’s opacity to 10%.

Step 10

Create a layer called ‘highlight spot’. Use a white-transparent radial gradient to create a light spot near the top left of your icon.

Then change this layer’s blending mode to ‘overlay’ and reduce it’s opacity to around 35%.

Step 11

Now it’s time to create the famous RSS shape! Select your elliptical marquee tool and drag upwards and outwards from the bottom left corner of your icon shape, WHILST holding shift and alt. By holding shift and alt together you’ll not only make a perfect circle selection, but the corner of your icon will be the center of your circular selection, rather than the edge.

Fill your selection with white. Then go to select>modify>contract and contract it by 30px. Then hit delete. Use your rectangular marquee tool to delete any excess, cutting off the edges of your newly created arc shape roughly 10px in from the inside edge of your icon shape:

Step 12

Repeat the last step to create a smaller arc with the larger one.

Then use your elliptical marquee tool to create a final white circle shape within both arc shapes.

Finally, merge these 3 layers together:

Step 13

Then use your transform tool (whilst holding shift+alt) to resize the RSS shape, making it smaller, and fitting it nicely into the center of your canvas.

Step 14

Apply an outer glow and stroke blending option to your RSS shape layer (settings below):

Step 15

Finally, return to your main RSS icon shape layer (your rounded rectangle layer). For a nice final touch, expand the stroke and inner glow effects to 16px in size. This should give things a more layered look, as some of your lighting effects will only apply to parts of your stroked area.

And We’re Done!

You can view the final outcome below. I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and would love to hear your feedback on the techniques and outcome:

Download Source File for this Tutorial


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About the Author:

Tom is the founder of PSDFAN. He loves writing tutorials, learning more about design and interacting with the community. On a more interesting note he can also play guitar hero drunk with his teeth.

Leave a comment

15 Comments:

  1. Page says:

    Perfect?I like it.

  2. Laira says:

    These Designs are too Nice I like it very much

  3. Ann says:

    Thanks, perfect tutorial and nice effects!

  4. Fernando says:

    Tutorial very interesting, I like the effects.
    Very good design.

  5. Ted Thompson says:

    Great tutorial, cool icon!

  6. Rory says:

    Nicely explained tutorial, really like the end result.
    Personally I don’t think you need the stroke around the arc and dot to be that big, maybe 4 not 10. The gradients are spot on, a must for any web designer, Thanks.

  7. Tom says:

    Thanks guys! I’m glad you liked this tutorial.

    Rory: I guess it’s personal taste. I did try a few options, and in the end a bigger stroke looked better to me (especially when the icon was resized smaller). However, I appreciate your constructive feedback a lot!

  8. Dinah says:

    Love this tutorial! Tried it and got great results. THANK YOU!

  9. Great tutorial and very easy to follow. I could definitely find a use for this tutorial as I always like to use nice icons in my designs to add more colour to them. Thanks.

  10. lolus says:

    great! i like it

  11. R.K Nrhalliya says:

    This tutorial is outstanding. Thanks Dear.

  12. Lori says:

    Very nice, easy to follow. Thank you

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