This tutorial is available as a PDF. Click here to view or download it
Glassy Marbles tutorial was written by @drakaan in 2007 and is now unfortunately lost. After consulting with @welshblue, we decided to reproduce (rewrite) this tutorial based on the original text, making some changes to it. This is our work jointly.
In this tutorial we will make marble like in this picture:
For this tutorial, you'll need the plugins:
Zoom Blur Deluxe for 4.0 by @null54
Shape3D by @MKT
(it's what makes this tutorial fairly simple to repeat). All of the other steps can be accomplished using the built-in paint.net tools and effects.
Start with a new () image, preferably square (for example: 800x800px).
Add some texture for the interior of the marble. Apply the Clouds () effect (Effects -> Render -> Clouds) with blue color, but you could use pretty much any texture you like:
This next step is optional, but it's nice to do if you want a little more realistic-looking marble. Use Zoom Blur Deluxe effect (Effects -> Blurs -> Zoom Blur Deluxe) (or use the Sin Waves effect by @MadJik, or use the built-in Dents () effect... get creative here) to change the texture to suit your taste:
Now it's time for Shape3D (Effects -> Render -> Shape3D). Set the Sphere Scaling to 1.380, use the Half Sphere Map texture, and leave the rest at default (except for Anti-alias, check the ON box and set AA-Level between 2 and 5):
We now have the beginning of our marble. Lighting is what makes things look glassy, so first, we're going to make what looks like an inner highlight.
With the Magic Wand () tool select the transparent area on the image and then invert (Ctrl+I) the selection. That should leave you with just the marble selected:
Add a new () layer above the marble texture, Primary color should be white, and Secondary color should be fully transparent. Start your Radial Gradient ( ) in the center of the shadowed area of the marble texture, and end it on the opposite side of the marble a bit closer to the marble's center:
We don't want the gradient to go all the way to the marble's edge, so use the Move Selection () tool (and hold down the Shift key) to drag the bottom-right selection nub up and to the left... basically shrinking the selection towards the upper-left corner of the canvas:
Invert (Ctrl+I) the selection and press Delete to get something like this:
Now, we need to soften this inner highlight a bit. Use the Gaussian Blur () effect (Effects -> Blurs -> Gaussian Blur):
Next, add a new () layer above the inner highlight to create a shiny spot at the top-left portion of the marble. Choose the Brush () tool with a size of about 90-100 and Hardness 20% - One click to make a spot like this in White:
If necessary, apply the Glow () effect with default settings (Effects -> Photo -> Glow) and the Gaussian Blur () effect (with a radius found experimentally) a couple of times to finish the shiny spot.
Now we need to add another highlight at the top of the marble on a new () layer. This is going to be in an oval-shaped area centered on the marble's vertical axis and stretching from the top to about 2/3 of the way to the bottom. Use Ellipse Selection () tool to create this area and going to fill it with a vertical Gradient ( ) (again, white fading to transparent) from bottom to top:
Use Gaussian Blur effect at a low (8-12) radius to soften the edges a bit. Repeat (Ctrl+F) if necessary.
This highlight may be a bit harsh, so adjust the layer's opacity settings () until it's a fairly subdued highlight:
If your texture was fairly dark, you may not need this next step, but if you have a lighter-colored texture, you'll need to add a bit of shading to get the small highlight to show up and make the marble look good. Set your colors to Black and White (), and create a new () layer above the Background layer.
Select the marble's circular texture area (you can go back to the Background layer, select () transparent area, invert the selection (Ctrl+I) and come back to this new layer you just created above it).
Use the Linear Gradient ( ) tool and make your gradient go from the top-left edge to the bottom-right edge:
Change the blending mode of this layer to "Multiply", and adjust the opacity until it looks good:
After saving, flattening, resizing, adding (in any way you like) a background and a shadow, you should be able to get something like this:
Below is the outcome of following the tutorial by @welshblue:
Try playing with the lighting as it masterful makes @welshblue and you will get even more impressive result:
We hope you find it useful, please share your creations and suggestions with us all.