Create a Killer Glowing Power Button

Create a Killer Glowing Power Button



Difficulty: Intermediate


Today we will show you how to build this beautiful glowing power button with ease. Yes, Pixelmator can go beyond just image editing, producing quality graphics and icons, and today you'll be able to step up your skills. We'll cover blending layers with masks, layering drop shadows, blending mode effects and more. Let's begin...

final button

Step 1 - Background

Create a new Pixelmator document, I chose 800 x 600 pixels. (File > New…) and start with a transparent layer. First let’s create a new linear gradient for our background by clicking the plus button in the gradients palate and adding #E5E1D0 on the left and #6D675C on the right as shown below.


Pull this new gradient from top to bottom using the SHIFT key to keep it straight filling the entire canvas.


Step 2 - Base Circles

Next let’s create the base for our button on a new layer by creating a 300px round selection using the oval marquee tool (M) and hold SHIFT to keep a perfect circle. Keep the selection on.


Because you’ve kept the selection on, on a new layer simply fill with black. (Option > CMD > “F”)


And again on a new layer fill the same selection with the background gradient, only pull it the opposite way. (use SHIFT to keep straight) Then switch to the move tool (V) and choose the black circle layer and using the arrow up key move up 1px. Repeat with the white circle except down 1px.


Next pull a simple white to transparent, linear gradient within the selection to lighten up the concave part. CMD >”D” to deselect


Step 3 - Dark Outer Curve

Now make a perfect 350px circle with the Marquee tool (M) & hold the SHIFT key while dragging, and center it around the base circles. Use the shortcut SHIFT > CMD > “O” to create a 3px "inside" stroke. Use black for the color.


Add a new layer and name this Light curve ring.


Using SHIFT > CMD > "O" add a white 3px inside stroke.


Turn off the white ring for now and we'll start with the dark ring.


Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and blur to 38px.


Since this will be a shadow on the bottom side, we want to hide the top part with a Mask. Right click on the Dark curve ring layer and choose Add Mask.


By default the Mask will be filled with white. Make sure the mask thumbnail is selected and fill it with black. The dark ring will disappear at this point being "masked". To reveal part of the dark ring use a white to transparent, linear gradient and drag from the bottom up holding SHIFT to keep it straight. When a little more than half of the dark ring is revealed, click and set the gradient.


Step 4 - Light Outer Curve

Now turn off the dark ring layer and turn on the white ring layer. We are going to do the same thing again.


Blur the white ring to about 30px. You'll notice you can barely see it now so you want to right click and duplicate this layer two more times.


Now you should have three copies of the blurred white ring. Right click and merge them into one.


Rename the layer White curve ring. Right click and add a mask to this layer and fill the mask with black. Using the white to transparent, linear gradient, pull it from the top of the ring down till more than half is revealed.


Now turn on the dark ring layer and you should have a beautiful curved outward effect around the circle.


Step 5 - Main Glow

Now let's start creating the cool blue glow. Add a new layer and name it Main blue gradient. Use the round marquee tool and create a perfect 240px circle (you should know to use the SHIFT key for perfect circles, right?) and center it inside the concave circle. Create a custom blue gradient with a light blue #1BB5FD to a darker blue #0076E9. Move the color stop to the locations shown below.


Fill the new blue gradient inside the selection from the center, out to about a 272px radius.


Add a new layer named: Bottom Glow. Next create a white, circular gradient with three white color stops, set the opacities and positions as I show below. Keeping the same selection still on, pull this new gradient from below center out to about a 112px radius.


Change the blending mode of this layer to "Overlay".



  • Tom says:

    really nice, thanks a ton for showing everyone this incredible technique my friend! 

    • Gamrcobe says:

      Glad you liked it, I know it’s longer, but I wanted to show that Pixelmator can put out graphics that look as good as photoshop!

  • Charles says:

    Mine looks like crap. Especially the strokes and blurs. I wonder if pixelmator 2.0 changed the ratio cuz 46px blur looks wierd.

    • Ashley Rich says:

      Im not sure whether the Pixelmator team changed the ratios. If you are using the same dimensions as the tutorial the results should be similar. Have you tried adjusting the values slightly to see if the results are any better?

    • Guill says:

      Yes, there is definitely a change in the ratio. Happens with all old tutorials. Don’t pay much attention to the numbers, try to make something that looks similar to the tutorial, or that looks nice to you.

  • Guill says:

    BTW, some explanations are missing, but excellent tutorial!

  • BenB says:

    Several things have changed since the 2.1 update, but I figured them out. Also, it’d be nice to have the last two phases to add the reflections inside the button, too. So we can end up with the same finished product shown.

  • Emil says:

    Thank you very much for the tutorial!! Helped me a lot!

  • Jacob Bordieri says:

    Thanks for the comments guys this is an older tutorial and Pixelmator has had many updates since then. If we get any time maybe we’ll refresh it, but no guarantees. As far as the reflections inside the button, the instructions are there, make sure your going to the second page for the rest of the tut.