In this Pixelmator tutorial we have a hybrid of photographic effects married with some vector UI pieces to create an inspiring sign-up page to create buzz about a imaginary new project. We'll be using the Effects Browser a lot with Blurs, and Color effects. You'll learn how to add masks to keep effects confined to certain areas in addition to combining vector shape layers to create cool floating sign-up element. Remember you can click on any image to view it full size and hit the back button in your browser to go back to the tutorial.
Step 1 - Enhance, Blur, Color
First duplicate a copy of the photo so we keep the original intact. Select the new copy and go to the Effects Browser, find the Vintage Effect and drop it onto the canvas. Now you'll see a few options to enhance your photo, choose Freesia, set the Saturation to 5% and the Vignette to about 20%. Label this layer "Freesia".
Next Duplicate this layer one time and label it "Blur". Go back into the Effects Browser and drop the Miniaturize Blur effect onto the canvas. The target rope will default to the center of the canvas which is perfect. Set the type to Eliptical, the Blur to 90% and the Transition to 50%. Now drag the blur effect larger till it looks like what is shown.
So far you should have an Original, Freesia and Blur layer in your layers panel. Lower the opacity of the Blur layer to about 40%.
Duplicate the Freesia Layer by holding Option and dragging it to the top of the layer stack and letting go, this is an easy way to duplicate layers and place them where you want.
On this new copy layer drag the Zoom Blur Effect onto the canvas and set it to about 20px. Move the targeting rope to just below the sun to match the existing rays.
Since we want to change this layer into one color, first we need to drag the Desaturate effect onto the canvas.
Next drag the Colorize Filter onto the canvas from the Effects Browser and set the color dial to 100. Change the saturation to 40% and the lightness to 20%.
Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Soft Light. Now we are starting to see a beautiful green color on the grass, but we've also effected the color of our sky which we don't want.
Step 2 - Masking and Layering
To fix this we will right or control click on our layer and choose "Add Mask". Next we'll use a black to transparent, linear gradient to hide the effect from the sky area. Using the Gradient Tool pull from where the sun is to just below the tree line. This will hide the effect from the sky and fade the it into the grass area so we don't have a hard edge line that would look unnatural.
To make the grass almost fantasy-like, duplicate this layer one time. This will increase the sun ray effect and turn up the green color.
Next drag and drop the Starfield photo onto the canvas and place it at the top of the layer stack. To reduce it's size hit Command > "F" and change as needed.
Now change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. You'll notice that our sky is now a beautiful deep blue, but our grass area is way too dark and contains a few stars.
We'll follow the same procedure we learned above, that of adding a mask to this layer and using a black to transparent linear gradient to hide some of the Starfield from the grass area. With the mask thumbnail active, pull the gradient from the top area of the grass to just below the tree line.
Duplicate the Starfield layer to the top of the layer stack and remove the mask from it. Change it's blending mode to "Screen". This adds that beautiful starry mist without adding more color we don't need.
Now add a mask to this layer and using the same gradient we want to fade the stars away into the horizon. Pull the gradient from just above the sun upward a bit as shown.
To lighten the sky just slightly go back to the original Starfield layer and turn down it's opacity to about 32%. Awesome, you finished the photographic part of the tutorial and next we'll move into the UI and text of our sign-up page.
Step 3 - Build the Sign-up Panel
Now we'll make a cool, semi-transparent, frosted glass element to use as our email imput interface. Select the Rounded Rectangle shape tool and pull a 872px wide by 172px high rectangle. Use white as the color, turn the layer opacity down to 47%. In the Shape Settings panel add a shadow to the shape by clicking the checkbox, choosing black as the color, leave the angle at 270 and set the Offset and Blur to just 1px.
If you zoom in to the top-left corner you'll see the little blue handle that you can adjust your corner radius, I'm using 12px. You won't see the pop-up info near your cursor unless you hide the Info Bar from the View Menu. Don't ask me why, I hope they fix this in the future.
Duplicate this shape layer one time and turn it off for now.
Go back to the previous shape layer and while still having the Rounded Rectangle shape tool active go up to the Tool Options Bar and change the Option for "Draw New Shape" to "Add to Shape". This will allow us to add a shape to the same layer.
Now just outside the previous one, pull a new rectangle to 634px wide by 74px high. Move this new rectangle to the center of the larger one and offset to the right side. Finally right or control click and choose Path Composition > Subtract from Shape, to "cut out" the shape from the larger one. Adjust the corner radius of the smaller rectangle as needed.
Now to create a highlight edge on the top, go and turn on our duplicate shape we made earlier. In the Shape Settings panel, uncheck the Fill option and add a white 2px Stroke. Whenever you have a stroke and no fill the stroke will always stay in the Center option by default, which is fine.
We only want the highlight edge to show on the top and corners so we'll need to add a mask to the highlight shape layer and by using our same black to transparent linear gradient, pull from the center upwards until you've hid the bottom half of the highlight as shown.
We need to also add a highlight edge to the bottom of our Email input, "cut out" area. To do this, duplicate the original shape layer to the top of the layer stack. Now just as we can add shapes to a single layer we can also delete individual shapes on the same layer as well. When you have the Shape Tool active you'll notice both the inner and outer rectangles are selected. Click just outside of them on the canvas to deselect them, then click just on the larger rectangle. Once you have just the larger rectangle selected hit delete and you'll be left with the inner rectangle. Uncheck Fill and add a white 2px stroke.
Just as with the larger rectangle, we need to hide the top half of the highlight on the inner rectangle. Add a mask and use the black to transparent gradient to do this.
Step 4 - Beveled Shine
To create a beveled shine effect on our email sign-up element, we need to go back up to the Tool Options Bar and switch back to the "Draw New Shape" Option. Then pull a rectangle as shown, sitting halfway over the existing shapes.
Command-click on the thumbnail of the original shape layer (the one with multiple shapes on the same layer) to get it's selection shape. Then with this selection active go to the new rectangle we just made for our bevel effect and right or control click on the layer in the layers panel and choose "Add Mask".
You can see it hides the rectangle everywhere but within the selection we made. Why not use a clipping mask you say? Because whenever you clip a layer to another that has it's opacity turned down it will take on the same opacity setting. So basically you wouldn't see anything!
Step 5 - Custom Logo Shape
Next let's focus on our simple logo. Select the Elliptical Shape Tool and holding SHIFT, pull a perfect 120px circle. Use #FB3F35 for the orange fill color and finally center the circle in the space left for our logo. Go into the edit mode to show the anchor points, then drag horizontal and vertical guidelines until they snap to the bottom and left anchor points. Double-click to add an anchor point to the indicated area.
Double-click on the point again to change it from a curve to a sharp point and pull it over till it snaps in the corner of the guidelines and we are done with our custom logo shape.
Step 6 - Adding Text
To finish the sign-up page add the text of your choice using different font sizes and weights and center them on the page as shown!
I'm glad we could share how to produce some cool photo effects and overlay vector UI elements to create the ultimate Sign-up page! Try and make your own imaginary product launch page and feel free to share a link to your work in the comments below. If you enjoy these tutorials, please share a link to our site or a specific tutorial with others and if you feel like showing your support, we'd be greatful! See you in our next Pixelmator tutorial.
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