This tutorial will teach you how to create a beautiful dark menu that actually looks different from the usual normal web 2.0 styles displayed across the web while keeping a minimalistic, clean feel.
First I must say these buttons are highly inspired by a website named etcetering. I fell in love with these buttons so I had to make an attempt at actually making these myself. So yes, here we go:
1.Create a New Document that is at least 75px wide. I made my document 600px X 100px but it is a bit roomy; you’ll see that a little bit later.
2.Set your foreground color to: #1d1d1d. Now proceed with filling the background layer with the Paint Bucket Tool. Or you can go to Edit>Fill. Either way is fine.
3.Now that we have set our background to a nice serene, dark color, it is time to move on to actually creating the button. So go back to your layer panel and create a new layer. You do this by either selecting the layer tab and clicking the “boxy” icon at the bottom of the panel or selecting Layer>New>Layer from the Program Menu. When done, were going to go ahead and place this into it’s own group called “menuspace” (sounds weird but it basically just stands for each menu item) so that we can duplicate the buttons with ease when done. To make a new group, select the folder icon on the buttom of the Layer Panel. You can also change the name of the layer if you wish to “background” if you want to beautify your layering even more.
4.Now go back to the layer you just created that’s inside of the “menuspace” group. Make a selection using the Rectagular Marquee tool that is about 50px X 142px. Place it anywhere you’d like, but it would be more preferential to place it on the very left side of your canvas. Once done, fill in the Marquee with the same color you painted the background with: #1d1d1d.
5.Deselect the box you began with, it is time for the fun part! Select this same layer again, and go to Layer>Layer Styles>Gradient Overlay. Make sure Opacity is at 100%, Blend Mode is Normal, Style is Linear, Angle is at 90 Degrees, and Scale is 100%. Don’t click OK yet, we aren’t finished!
6.Now double-click the color area where the Gradient, this will bring you to the Gradient Editor. This is where we will bring life to your button.Follow the seetings on the grid below. The colors in order from left to right are: #000000, #272727, and #3d3d3d. Everything is at 100%. Click OK, then click ok again in the Layer Styles Panel.
7.So far, you should have something similar to this:
8.Now we will spice up the edges of this button to give it that realistic feel. Create a new layer within the “menuspace” group that sits above your last layer(only layer so far). First thing we will do is add gradients on each side to make the button seems a bit more real. Zoom in to the right side of your gradient and only select the tip of it (as seen below; 1px wide) using the Rectangle Marquee Tool. Now on your Tool Panel, change your foreground color to: #5f5f5f. When done, select the Gradient tool, which should already have your desired color set flowing into a transparent backdrop. Pull the gradient from the bottom of your selection to the top. When done, deselect the selection.
9.Now while having this layer selected with the gradient streak you just made, we are doing to duplicate it, by right-clicking on the layer and selecting Duplicate Layer. Your canvas should look the same right now. When done, Transform the gradient streak by pressing Ctrl+T. Then rotate the gradient 180 Degrees. When done, drag it to the total opposite corner of the button. This will give your button look more realistic.
10.The next thing we will do is add a black edge to both left and right sides of the button to give it a nice finishing touch. Create a new layer that sits above all other layers in the “menuspace” group. Using the Rectangle Marquee Tool, select the 1px outer right side of your button. Then on your tool panel, change the foreground color to black (#000000). When done, select the Paint Bucket tool and fill in the selected area.
11.Be sure to duplicate the last layer you worked on and drag it to the other side. If you can’t see the black, it’s okay, it will play it’s part when you begin to drag and duplicate the menu items over and over. You should have something at this point similar to this:
12.Alright! Zoom out and you should see the result of our button! Now you can add some text to it. I added Arial, 11px, None, Bold styled font to mine. But you can do as you wish! Most of all, I hope this was helpful.