How to Make a Glossy Effect Using Photoshop

By Darrin Koltow

Knowing how to create a glossy effect in Photoshop lets you add luster to the subjects in your digital photos and other pictures. For example, if you've photographed a still life with fruit and one of the apples doesn't look sufficiently shiny to you, you can shine it up with Photoshop. To add a gloss effect in Photoshop, you use manual techniques like those involving the selection and painting tools. Or, you can apply a filter to your image, which means telling Photoshop to perform calculations that simulate a gloss effect.

Manual Gloss

Step 1

Click the "File" menu's "New" command; then press "Enter" to accept the default parameters for the new drawing canvas.

Step 2

Click the tool palette's icon shaped like a lasso; then click in the "Feather" text box atop the drawing canvas. Type "1px" in the text box, which tells Photoshop you want to draw a shape with a hard edge.

Step 3

Click the tool palette icon shaped like an ellipse with dashed lines; then click anywhere on the drawing canvas. Drag to define an elliptical or circular region.

Step 4

Click the paint bucket icon on the tool palette; then click inside the elliptical region you defined in the previous step. Photoshop will fill the region with color to create a solid shape.

Step 5

Click the lasso icon on the tool palette; then click in the "Feather" text box atop the drawing canvas to set the "Feather" level to "10px." Click inside the previous step's shape near its border.

Step 6

Drag the mouse to create a slim crescent shape running roughly parallel to the shape's border. This action defines the highlight area for the glossy effect.

Step 7

Press "Delete"; then press "Enter" to accept the default settings in the dialog box that appears. Photoshop will remove the coloring from the shape and expose the white background. The net effect of this behavior will be a glossy sphere.

Gloss with a Filter

Step 1

Click the "File" menu's "Open" command; then navigate to and double-click a file on your hard drive that you'd like to add a glossy effect to.

Step 2

Click the "Filters" menu; then click the "Render" sub-menu.

Step 3

Click the "Lighting" effects command to open a dialog box for entering parameters to simulate a type of glossy effect.

Step 4

Drag the "Intensity" slider toward the right extreme of the slider, and do the same for the "Gloss" slider.

Step 5

Drag the other sliders in the dialog box until the "Preview" window displays an image that's sufficiently glossy; then click "OK" to create the gloss effect.