Let's build ourselves a moody UI Element. We'll use Photoshop to explore subtle textures and pull together a great-looking volume dial. Let's go!
Step 1: The Background
Open a new RGB document 800x600px in size, and 72dpi resolution.
Select a moody dark blue color for the background (in this case the color code is #1b1c20) and then use the paint bucket tool to fill the background.
Apply some noise to the background, to give it a soft texture (1% Gaussian noise and monochromatic).
Now check the source download - you'll find a pattern file in there which you'll have to double-click to install in Photoshop. Apply the pattern to a new layer, and fill the whole layer with the pattern.
Turn the pattern overlay opacity to 15-20% depending on your liking, to end up with something like this:
Step 2: The Button Base
Make a new group with the name "button" and add a circle shape (do this by selecting the elliptical shape tool and holding down shift to make it perfectly circular). Give it a vivid color so you can see the layer clearly further down the line...
Change the fill opacity of the layer down to 0% and apply a drop shadow with the following properties:
Then apply a slight inner shadow to make it look indented.
After that apply an inner glow to make the base look full.
Step 3: The Button
For the next step, make another circle and give it a white color, this will be our UI element's basic shape, and it will serve for a couple more detail layers, so make a size you are really happy with! Name it "button_base" or something similar.
Apply an angled gradient overlay to it, start with white and add two stops of a light gray color. Use the two white stops in the middle to play with the sharpness of the button, and as you work keep previewing the element to see how it looks.
Apply a bevel and emboss to the base, to make it look a bit 3d-ish.
Step 4: The Detailing
Now for the detailing. Make a copy of the base layer, and put it under the button base. Now turn the fill to 0% to see only the filters you apply to that layer, and not the content. Create a drop shadow with the following settings:
In order to make the button pop out a bit more, copy the button base again, placing it under the button base and above the shading. Give it a dark color overlay to make it look awesome.
Now make another copy of the button base layer, but transform it to a bigger size. Put it on top of the button base layer, and rasterize it!
With that done, go to the filters panel and give it a maximum noise filter (so you think you are looking at a broken TV).
Then, apply a Radial Blur filter, and set it to the maximum value to get a nice effect.
You should turn down the opacity of this layer to around 20-40%, and then center the middle with the button. When you have it in the center, select the button layer and go to select > inverse. Then select the scratching layer and press delete. You should be left with a nice scratched effect on the button.
Step 5: The Story so Far
To check we are doing everything ok, you should have something similar to this:
Step 6: The Notch
Make a small circle for the notch (or indicator) on the button.
Give it a white drop shadow to give it an embossed appearance.
Give the notch a small inner shadow.
And finally bring it to life with a color of your choosing.
Step 6: Milestone
You should have something like this:
Step 1: The Dial Labels
Now let's get stuck into the final little details! Make a little rectangle for the notches in the base of the button.
Turn the fill down to 0% again, and give it a white drop shadow.
It needs a bit of shading on the inside too, so give it a tiny inner shadow.
Now copy and flip it to the other side.
Step 7: Text
Put your textual content in there, using a font of your choice (I opted for Myriad Pro).
Apply a drop shadow to the text, to make it look indented.
Then apply a slight inner shadow.
Step 8: Milestone
This should be what you are seeing in your file:
And this is our final UI element, a simple volume dial for pumping up the music!