If you ever have to create a slick phone or Blackberry design, and you don’t feel like buying stock images, then this tutorial is for you. I will show you how to use Vector Shapes, Masks, and mostly Layer Effects to create this elegant design.
Final Image Preview
Before we get started, let’s take a look at the image we’ll be creating. Click the screenshot below to view the full-size image. As always, the layered Photoshop file is available via our Psdtuts+ Plus membership
Create a new document, roughly about 1000 pixels by 1400 pixels, with a black background. Choose the Rounded Rectangle Tool (U) and draw a rectangle of approximately 600x 1000px. Note that the angle radius doesn’t matter since we are going to edit the shape.
Grab the White Arrow Tool (A) and start dragging your anchor points until you reach the desired shape. Note that I had to remove some to have large rounded corners, by using the Delete Anchor Tool.
Now that our main shape is done, we need to give it some effects to create the illusion. A slight grey to black gradient Overlay will simulate the light, and a combination of a Bevel and Hard Inner Glow Effects will create the soft rounded frame. To apply those, make sure the Shape Layer is selected and click on the Effect Button down on your Layer Palette, use the settings below.
Below is the result so far.
What would be a Blackberry without its large screen? Let’s use the Rectangle Tool (U) and draw the rectangle in the upper half. Use a bit of Gradient Overlay and Inner Shadow again.
To make the screen even more glossy, let’s add another reflection. Duplicate your "screen" layer, and use the Transform Tool (Control+T) to make it slightly smaller (about 3-4px). Then change its color to white, Transparency to 5%, and set its Blending Mode to Multiply.
This will turn any white pixel into a transparent ones, revealing the layer underneath. Our layer will become transparent, leaving only the effect visible. Edit the Gradient Overlay, and replace it with a white to transparent one. Give it full Opacity and set it at a 45 degree angle.
Now click on the path in your Palette Layer, and play with the White Arrow and the Convert Point Tool to create a nice curve on the screen.
To create the central button, we are going to use a series of circles piled up and centered. The first circle uses a Gradient on the stroke, as well as an Overlay Gradient, while the other circles are a mix of Inner and Drop Shadows.
Using the Rectangle Tool, draw what will become our main buttons right below the screen. Using the Convert Point Tool, add a curve to the bottom part of your rectangle and change its color to a dark grey (#131313).
Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M), make two selections at 5px wide, of equal distance from the center. Then while holding the Alt button on your keyboard, click the Mask Button in your Layer Palette (holding Alt will invert your mask automatically). Congratulations, you’ve created your buttons! Now let’s give it some styles too.
Looking through your layers, retrieve your main shape. Then expand the list of effects used (click the small arrow in the right). Then Right-click the Gradient Overlay and copy the Layer Style. Come back to your new shape, Right-click and paste the Layer Style.
Add a slight Drop Shadow with a Distance of 0, Opacity of 90%, and a size 25px. Also, give it a reversed black inner glow. This will give it a thin reflection of light on the edges.
Add a 10px thick line to separate the buttons from the screen. Then add a white Inner Glow.
Duplicate your button layer, delete the mask and the effects, and change its color to white. Move it slightly down by a couple of pixels, and use the Delete Anchor Tool to remove the top two anchors, but keep the bottom curve. Use the Convert Point Tool to adjust the path, as shown below.
Apply the Drop Shadow and Inner Glow settings shown below. Duplicate the shape three times, spread them out evenly using the Distribute Vertical Spacing Tool, create a group (Control+G), and switch its Layer Blend Option to Multiply to soften the edges.
Using the Pen Tool (P), draw the bottom part of the phone. Using the same copy/paste layer style trick, apply the Drop Shadow used on the buttons in Step 5 to this shape. Add a light-grey to dark-grey Radial Gradient Overlay. Then use your mouse to move the gradient to the corner.
Now duplicate this layer, change its color to white and its Blending Option to Multiply (once again to cancel its white pixels). Edit the Radial Gradient Effect, and move it to the other corner. Play around with the Opacities until you get the same amount of light on each side.
To create the mini keyboard, let’s duplicate the button layer. Then resize each button to fit between each white separator. Delete the Mask, pull out Guides from the Vertical Ruler, and work your Grid to form a ten column wide keyboard. Using the same method as in Step 5, create a new version of the mask.
Use the Pen Tool to draw the last row of keys. Use the styles and masking technique to separate them as well.
Using your favorite font, place each letter on its respective key. Some of the signs (backspace, return, shift arrows) are pre-existing shapes from my library, but you can always look through dingbats fonts for a solution.
The keys are now in place, although the result is not complete yet, as we need more light! Duplicate the first key layer. Then clear the styles and apply a simple black to white gradient, with the white barely appearing at the bottom. Don’t forget that you can click and drag the gradient around on your canvas. Finally, change the Opacity to 70%.
Create a Mask on this new layer. Then grab the Elliptical Marquee Tool. Starting from the left, drag a circle that passes through the top right and bottom left of the key. Then paint the Mask black. Repeat the same process for the other keys, but mirror the Mask from the center.
Duplicate your layer twice. Place them on top of each rows of keys. Repeat the same step to create the reflection layer on the bottom row. For the space bar, make two circular selections on each side, and add a rectangle in the middle.
The Blackberry itself is just missing the speaker to be complete. Draw a Rounded Rectangle, with a large Angle Radius. Pick a light grey tone and add some Inner Shadow.
We’re pretty close to being done now! Let’s add a bit of texture in the background. I chose leather to emphasize the luxury and high quality finish.
I picked this image from istockphoto, since it’s exactly what I was looking for. It’s not quite there for the color though. Bring it into Photoshop. Then go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation (Control+U) and De-Saturate until you get a complete grayscale image.
Add a Mask and draw a large circular white to black gradient. If needed, use the Free Transform Tool to adjust it (Control + T), but don’t forget to unlock the Mask first by clicking the link button. Then add a new layer in background, fill it with black, and flatten both layers.
Let’s bring the texture into your main design. Move it just above the black background layer and set its blending mode to Screen. This will make all the black pixels transparent, revealing the next layer. Duplicate it, and Rotate it 180 degrees. Then go back to the main shape and add a bit of Drop Shadow.
That’s it, you’ve done it! Not that hard huh?
So what have we learned? The use of Layer Effects can save a significant amount of time. Sure, the same result could be achieved with a regular brush, building layers upon layers, but the advantage of these effects are that they are totally scalable. The vector shapes can be easily resized as needed.