Step 6 – Main menu
Our main menu will be very, very simple, but, we will add a call to action button next to it so actually the whole menu will pop. It’s strongly vivid among grayscale colors so it will always grab attention. First off, let’s make that call to action button. I will try to make its width the same as a search box, so you can add some guide there. I’ve created the shape with color #e55a21 and rasterize it right away.
Duplicate it and move copied layer (the one below) 1 pixel down (with arrow key on your keyboard), then go to Image > Adjustment > Brightness/Contrast and apply similar settings, so you will get simple shadow underneath the button. Also blur it with Filter > blur > Gaussian blur by 0.5 pixel.
Now we will create few clipping mask layers to bring some life into the button. Start with a gradient from bottom to top with color #ce4614. Change its opacity to 10-35% (adjust later) and blending mode to multiply.
It could be hardly visible for now, but we will make such color transformations that you will really consider its 10% opacity. From the top center make a small radial gradient with color #f9b242.
Make a selection from the main button’s shape (CTRL+Click on the thumbnail in layers window) and fill it with #ffd47b. Then go to Select > Modify > Contract and apply 1px reduction. In the end hit DELETE on your keyboard so you will get 1px inside border around the button.
Reduce its opacity a bit, to about 80% and set blending mode to Overlay. It’s a small detail, but actually gives a bit of contrast.
Also make a white rectangle with small opacity (10%) starting from below the center to the top.
Now we will apply a blending layer. You can set it as a clipping layer or with a mask. The matter is that you want to apply it only to the button, not to the whole layout. Click this icon to bring up the menu and choose Vibrance. Then slide the Vibrance value to the positive numbers until you’ll get life, vivid colors.
Add some text to it (I used Arial font for letters and Georgia font for numbers for I love it’s text numerals) and eventually apply some simple shadow with blending options. Here’s finished Call To Action button.
Now we’ll create simple shape for menu items. Add guide on top of our call to action button, to align shape with it.
Now create a rectangular shape (try to use same radius as for button) all long the layout so it will touch the border guide. The height of the shape does no matter, but try to make it longer than a button. Use white color.
Rasterize the shape. Then make a selection from it (CTRL+Click on thumbnail), go to Select > Modify > Contract and apply a contract of 1 pixel. Select some marquee tool (any, just press M) and move a selection 30 pixels down (with arrows on your keyboard, hold SHIFT to move by 10 pixels rather than by one).
In the end hit DELETE so you’ll get the following:
Make a long rectangular selection and delete also the stripes (that are left after the contraction) if they are too long.
Now just add the menu items and it’s finished. I also added small noise to the finished shape, but not so hard as a background so the shape is still noticeable.
Step 7 – Main menu hover effects
The menu is actually created, but we also want it to have hover (and for one item- active) effect. We will make a mock-up in Photoshop of some sample hover and then in future steps we’ll port it to css. The active effect will be created for login panel. Create a background for this item the same way that we have made an orange button next to it. Just don’t add shadow and make border only on top and bottom edges. The rest can be fully reproduced.
You can hide this layer now on. We just know that it exists. Alright, pick dark color, like #2c2c2c and make a shape along the guides. I made it for ‘About’ menu item, but it is best to choose the longest one (if they are declared). Also change the font color of part that is theoretically hovered to light gray: #ededed.
And border, so it will look more attractive, yet will be pretty insensitive for scaling its width.
Oh, here’s a tip. For small fonts I generally use no anti-aliasing. I apply Strong or Crisp when the font size is bigger than 20 pixels. Most of text will be altered with real one in html and this is only mock-up, but I think it presents itself better.