An earlier tutorial on how to make a shiny button in Illustrator using the Opacity Mask feature can be improved upon greatly by adding a sexy brushed steel surrounding ring to your amber jelly button!
As previously explained, the shiny “web 2.0” button look can be made by placing a circle with a linear black-to-white gradient over a circle with a radial gradient and selecting Make Opacity Mask in the Transparency palette with both selected. See the first row in key below.
Other crescent shapes can be added by putting a smaller circle on top of another and Option-clicking on the second icon from the left of the Shape Modes row in the Pathfinder palette, the tool tip says “Subtract from shape area (Option-click to expand)”. This is a one click way to subtract one shape from another and something I use all the time in Illustrator. See rows 2, 3 and 4 below.
In row 5 below, the steel rim. Double-click the Scale Tool (S) enter 125% and hit Copy with the orange button selected (go Release Opacity Mask in the Transparency palette and get rid of the black and white circle. Put a linear gradient going white-to-black-to-white onto this larger circle. Duplicate the orange button again by pasting in front (Cmd/Ctl-F) get rid of the black and white circle and go Object > Compound Paths > Make (Cmd/Ctl-8).
Finally put all the elements on separate layers in Illustrator and go File > Export and choose Photoshop (psd) from the Format drop down menu. Choose RGB, 72 ppi and make sure you have the Write Layer radio button clicked on. Now we move into Photoshop for some final tweaking and blurring. Open the PSD you exported from Illustrator and you will see all your layers from Illustrator on different layers in Photoshop (top tip!).
Play around with it by blurring the crescent shapes a bit and copying and colouring layers a bit.
Most of the work I did was to the steel rim layer. Add a Drop Shadow and an Inner Glow in Layer Styles in Photoshop. Add Grain or Noise and a horizontal Motion Blur for the steel effect.
I put the orange button layer on top of the House layer and set it to Linear Burn Blend Mode.
They look quite nice as navigation icons.