Creating custom user bars

Creating custom user bars
Difficulty: Easy
Description: A tutorial on to how to create your very own custom user bar.
Author: Daniel St. Jules; Date Added: 2005-09-05; Views: 64443
I'm sure you've seen those neat little user bars in other's signatures at various forums. Well, with this tutorial, you'll be able to create your very own custom user bars.

*note: You must have created a diagonal line pattern to make the user bars. Click here for a tutorial on creating the pattern.

Step 1:

The first thing you must do is decide what logo/design you'd like to use in your user bar.
Ex: <-the maple leaf in this user bar
For this tutorial, I will be using the Windows logo;

Once you've picked which design you'd like to use, open it in Photoshop by going to File->Open. After that, go to Select->All, Edit->Copy Merged and then exit out of the image. Click on File->New, click ok in the window that comes up and then go to Edit->Paste.
(Fact: Photoshop CS and newer automatically adjusts the dimensions of a new image to that of the image that is copied to the clipboard when the preset is set to Clipboard)

Step 2:

Next thing you'll have to do is extract the logo/design from it's background. To do this quickly, you should use the magic eraser tool.
If the magic eraser tool isn't visible in your tools menu, right click on one of the other two eraser tools; The background eraser tool or the eraser tool and click on the magic eraser tool. For the extraction of the windows logo, I'll be using the following settings:

(note: Anti-aliased and contiguous should be checked for best results)
Depending on the image, you may want to change the 'Tolerance' to a higher number if the tool doesn't fully erase the background. Keep testing various tolerances until you're satisfied with the results of the extraction.
(Fact: By right clicking icons in the toolbar that have an arrow in the bottom right corner such as the eraser tool   a menu will come up that will allow you to switch to another tool)

Step 3:

Once again, go to Select->All, Edit->Copy Merged, exit out of the image, open a new image by going to File->New, click ok and then Edit->Paste. I'd recommend saving the image by going to File->Save As and saving it to your desktop as a psd.

Step 4:

Next you'll want to resize the image by going to Image->Image Size, and reducing the height to around 40pixels. Go to Select->All, Edit->Copy Merged, File->New, change the dimensions to 300 pixels in width by 19 pixels in height and click ok.

Step 5:

Paste the image by clicking Edit-Paste and then create a new layer by pressing Shift, Ctrl and N at the same time on the keyboard, type 'BG' as the name and press ok. Move the 'BG' layer below your other layer by left clicking on it, dragging the BG layer below your other layer and then letting go of the mouse. Your layers should now look like this:

Step 6:

Select the Eyedropper Tool , click on one of the most used colours in the image, then press X on the keyboard and click on either a shade of the first colour you selected or a colour that would look good in a gradient. In this case, I've picked two of the most used colours in the windows logo;

E4552C and F9CB46

Step 7:

Select the gradient tool . If the gradient tool isn't visible in the toolbar, right click on the paint bucket tool and select the gradient tool. With the BG layer still selected, click and drag your cursor from the top of the image to the bottom. You should now have a nice gradient. (which if you're following this tutorial exactly should look like:

Step 8:

Select the layer containing the logo/design, create a new layer by pressing Shift, Ctrl and N at the same time, type 'lines' as the name and press ok. Now select your paint bucket tool , select 'Pattern' from the drop down menu to the left of 'Fill:' and select the diagonal lines pattern which is all located in the options menu. (read the intro for info on creating the diagonal lines pattern)

Make sure the settings are the same as above and then click anywhere on your image. While the 'lines' layer is selected, lower the opacity to around 13%. (you might have to change the opacity depending on the background and the logo/design you're using)
Your user bar should now look something like this:

Step 9:

Right click on the layer containing the design/logo in the layers window and click on Blending Options. Click on Outer Glow and use the following settings:

While the layer containing the logo is still selected, lower the opacity to 77%.

Step 10:

Download a pixel font (ex: Visitor TT1 (BRK) from here) Save the font to your desktop and extract it with a program such as WinZip to where all the fonts are kept. (ex for windows users: C:\WINDOWS\Fonts) You should then be able to use the newly installed font. Select the Horizontal Type Tool , type your text at a size of around 6-8px with the pixel font of your choice and make sure that the anti-aliase is set to none.

Right click on your text layer in the layers window and click on Blending Options. Select 'Stroke' and use the following settings:

Step 11:

Select the Elliptical Marquee Tool and click and drag the cursor from the very top left corner down to the bottom right corner of the user bar while pressing shift. Press the Up arrow on the keyboard 9 times, press D and then X. Select the gradient tool, click on the arrow beside the gradient in the options window and select the white to transparent gradient.

Click and drag the cursor from the top of the elliptical selection to the bottom of it and then set the opacity of the layer with the white/transparent gradient to 75%.

Step 12:

Click on the text layer from the layers window and create a new layer by going to Layer->New->Layer while naming it Stroke. Press D, go to Select->All, Edit Stroke and use the following settings:

Step 13:

Save a psd for future use to your desktop by going to File->Save As and then save a png for use on the net by going to File->Save For Web and using png-24 as the preset. You've now created your own custom user bar! =P

Final Result: