This tutorial will show the process for creating a gold plaque in Photoshop. This tutorial can be followed when making any metallic plaque be it gold, silver, brass etc, just change the colours used. This tutorial shows how to make a gold plaque using a combination of vector shapes and layer styles.
Create a new document
Select the Rectangle shape tool from the toolbar and pick a foreground colour to use for the rectangle by clicking on the colour palette at the bottom of the toolbar.
Click and drag the cursor across the canvas from top left to bottom right to create a rectangle on the canvas.
Choose the oval shape tool from the toolbar.
With the rectangle layer still selected in the layers palette click on the ‘add to shape’ button in the application toolbar.
Draw a circle over the rectangle so it goes over the top and bottom edge of the rectangle. (Hold shift as you draw to keep to a perfect circle).
Choose the Direct Selection Tool from the toolbar and click on the circles path points (These will be at the absolute top bottom left and right of the circle). You will need to hold shift to select more than one at a time.
With all the points selected click on one of the points and hold as you drag the shape into its new position. Try to align it so that the circle is in the middle between the left and right edges and the same amount of circle is overlapping the square top and bottom.
Once in place you will need to make sure the layer is selected and the ‘add to shape’ button is pressed again to add another oval to the left hand side.
Repeat the process of using the Direct Selection Tool to move the new circle into position.
To make sure the oval on the right is exactly the same as the left. Select all 4 points on the left oval and press Ctrl + C and then Ctrl V (Apple C then Apple V) to copy and paste the shape.
You won’t be able to see if it has copied and pasted successfully as the new shape is placed directly over the copied one. Click and hold on one of the points and drag it to the right. To keep it vertically in line with the left oval press shift as you drag.
To align the shape horizontally note the horizontal position of the left oval where the oval crosses the circle (see blue guides). Line these points where the oval crosses the rectangle on the right and these will be symmetrical.
All these shapes are now joined together and will act as one shape. Double click on the shape layer in the layers palette to open up the Layer Style Palette. And choose stroke from the left menu on the palette.
Set the stroke width to 13px and choose gradient from the Fill Type drop down menu. Set the angle to 32 degrees and click on the gradient colour area.
Add 4 points to the bottom of the gradient bar. There will be two already at either end, but if you click just under the bar,new colour tags will appear. Change the colour of these by clicking on each individual tag. Centre them all around a single colour, in this case yellow / gold. Make one slightly darker then one slightly lighter, dark then light. This will give the effect of light bouncing off a metal surface.
Open up the layers palette again if you’ve already exited it and choose ‘Inner Shadow’ from the left hand menu. Follow the specifications on the panel below to make the outside stroke line look slightly raised. Click ok to close the layer style panel.
With the shape layer selected in the layer palette. Create a duplicate of the layer. To do this drag the shape layer onto the ‘New Layer’ icon to the left of the rubbish bin in the layers palette. You should now have 2 layers one above the other.
Note that by duplicating the layer has also duplicated the layer styles. With the top shape selected, double click on the ‘stroke’ section in the layers palette.
Keep all the same settings, just change the size to 3 and click ok to exit the panel.
Click on the eye next to the layer style ‘Inner Shadow’ on the top shape to remove it.
With the top shape selected in the layers palette press Ctrl T or Apple T to bring up the transform tools.
Hover over the bottom right transform point and click to drag the point towards the middle to make the shape smaller. To keep the shape in proportion press shift whilst you do this and press alt or option to keep the shape centred.
When you are happy with the new position press return / enter to close the transform tools.
Using the Direct selection tool again, click all 4 points on the left oval and the 2 left points of the main rectangle of the top / smaller shape layer. With these selected move them to the left either by dragging the mouse whilst pressing shift or by using the cursor keys. Move this until the border on the left matches that of the top and bottom.
Repeat this with the right oval and right hand points of the rectangle on the top shape.
Double click the stroke section in the layers palette on this top shape and then click on the gradient colour area to change the colours used. Lighten all the colours at the bottom.
With the layer style panel still open click on gradient from the side menu. We want to replicate the shine and the angle used on the stroke, so choose 32 degrees for the angle and click on the gradient colour panel to add in the extra tags at the bottom of the gradient bar.
Click ok to close the panel. With the top shape layer selected in the layers palette tone down the opacity of the layer by using the slider at the top of the layers palette.