This project is as easy as Photoshop gets. I have drawn a Moon with a Photoshop Custom Shape and Shaded it with a Photoshop Effect Gradient Overlay. After we complete this exercise, however, I am going to build on this to show you some alternative ways to create and paint shaded moons in Photoshop.
Let’s Begin with a new document 12″ x 12″. I begin with a transparent or white background and when the document opens, I go to Edit – Fill – and select a color. The color of this sky is 1a0756
Select the Custom Shape Tool, which is hidden beneath the Rectangle Tool on the Tools Panel. If you do not see your tools, go to Window on the top bar and from the drop down menu, select Tools. I dock my Tools on the left.
The Custom Shape Tool is uncovered in this image. It looks like a Blob and is beneath the Type Tool.
Before you actually use the Custom Shape Tool, go to the second bar from the top. This is the Options Bar. Click in the color area and enter the following yellow color: fff200 Also enter that number as the color of the yellow in the Foreground Box on the Tools Panel. Do not select a Strokes Color.
On the right end of the Options Bar, you can select any number of Photoshop’s Custom Shapes, once you have added them to you menu.
There is a Drop Down Menu Arrow immediately to the right of whatever Custom Shape happens to be showing. Click on that arrow and search for the Moon shape. If it is not available to you, click on the little gear shape at the top right of that area. From this gear shape, a list of shapes that you can add will appear. Click on the word ALL and from the Dialog box, click APPEND. Then search for the Moon Shape and select it.
Drag a nice, fat moon on your canvas.
Now Change the Colors on the Tools Panel. Click on the foreground color tab first [it is on top and to the left] and enter the following color formula: fff200 Click on the background color tab next and enter this color formula: ffa700
We’ll use these two colors to create a gradient to shade the moon.
Be sure that the Moon Layer is selected in the Layers Panel [If you do not see it, go to Window on the top bar and select Layers]. At the bottom of the Layers Panel, there is an fx. Click on the fx and a Layer Styles Effects menu will appear. Choose Gradient Overlay; and it will seem that you are being told to apply the blackish gradient. Do not do that, however. Click on the arrow next to that Blackish Gradient; and select your first colorful choice, which will be a mix from the yellow to orange that we just set as your foreground and background colors. Note that I have used the Radial Gradient. You can play with the other choices, too.
Just as an experiment, change the background color to the following and redo the exercise: ff4500
The gradient becomes much darker. Gradients can be controlled a bit by changing the angle and making other adjustments; but in my next posting, I will show you how to paint a shaded moon without a gradient. By using that method, you have a great deal more control over where the shading occurs.