3D ball effect created using the gradient overlay effect (Click the image to see it bigger)
This week I'm going to try and answer the question "In how many places can gradients be used in Photoshop Layer Styles?". Though to make it more interesting I'm off course not just going to do it as a list, but try to find more interesting effects than that. Because of that this is probably not going to be the best place to learn the basics of gradients in Photoshop as I intend to try and experiment to do things I didn't know about before. (That said, I'll try to explain things where I can so everyone can at least reproduce the effect, and hopefully learn something in the process as well.) Starting off the week is a way to make a simple circle look like a ball, just using the Gradient Overlay effect (and a stroke around it, but that's just icing on the cake).
The ball effect
Gradient Overlay effect settings (Click the image to see it bigger)
Only three things are changed from the default, the Gradient itself, the Style, and the position. The gradient itself is not much to talk about, download the file and check it out. What can be said in general though is that it goes from light to dark, lighter in one end to simulate the highlight, and darker in the other end to simulate the shadows around the edge away from the light. The Style is Radial as we're trying to simulate the roundness of a round object, and the position is moved a bit as a completely centered gradient doesn't give the same illusion.
Stroke effect settings
The only thing I've changed from the defaults here is the Size, making it a bit more subtle than the 3px stroke that's default. The stroke isn't necessary, but I think it looks better, and since the effect is pretty cartoon-like in the first place it's a nice addition for that reason as well. Depending on how much time you are willing to spend on the gradient you can get a much more realistic effect, but there are other/better ways to get a realistic ball. This is nice for a quick, reusable, effect (it only works well on circular objects though).
Note: The background (+shadow of the ball) is also created with Gradient Overlay layer styles, as well as a layer mask for the shadow, but using the tip for the light effect from yesterday's post you should be able to recreate it.