Creating Web 2.0 style glass effects in Photoshop is not only fun and easy, but you get eye-popping results, too. To pull this off, we'll be making use of Photoshop's vector drawing tools, layer effects, and gradients.
Let's check it out!
Launch Photoshop, and create a new document by choosing File > New. The dimensions that you set are entirely up to you. If you're wanting to create a single menu button, then you may decide to set your dimensions to something like 150 by 30 pixels. I think for myself, I'm going to create a fairly large document (1000x1000 pixels) and then worry about resizing and/or cropping things down later.
Next, we'll want to create the basic object that we want to apply the glass effect to. You can literally use whatever shape you'd like. To stick with my Web 2.0 theme, I'm going to create a rounded rectangle. So, from Photoshop's Toolbox, go ahead and select the Rounded Rectangle tool found buried along with Photoshop's other vector drawing tools. Then, click and drag out a shape to the size you'd like. Don't worry about the color that the shape gets filled in with. We'll fix this in a second.
Now we want to apply our gradient overlay. Head to the Layers panel. Notice that your vector object appears on it's own shape layer. Double-click on the right side of the shape layer to open the Layer Style dialog box. Next, click on Gradient Overlay in the left-hand column. Here, you can either choose an existing gradient or go ahead and create your own.
Now we'll set an inner glow to give our object a slightly three dimensional look. From the left-hand column in the Layer Styles dialog, choose Inner Glow. Set the Blend Mode to Overlay, the Color to white and the Range (at the bottom) to about 15. Finally, fiddle around a bit with the Size slider (found almost in the dead center of the dialog box. When you're happy with your results, click OK to close the Layer Style dialog.
We're finally ready to create the reflective glass effect. In the Layers panel, hold down Cmd (Mac) or Ctrl (PC) and click on the right thumbnail in the shape layer. This loads your shape as a selection. Next, create a new, blank layer. From the Toolbox, select the Elliptical Marquee tool, then hold down Opt+Shift (Mac) or Alt+Shift (PC) and drag across the top of your shape and about halfway down. Don't be discouraged if this takes you a few attempts. Keep trying and undoing until you nail it.
Let's create that reflection. Set your Foreground color to white and grab the Gradient tool. From the Options bar at the top, choose Foreground To Transparent from the Gradient Picker, then drag from the top of your object to just below your selection. Ka-Pow! There's your reflection effect.
There's so many different applications for this effect, including navigation buttons, menus, banner ads, header graphics, and so on. And as you can see, it's quick, fun and easy!
Need more? Check out the full range of Photoshop Tutorials here!