In this tutorial, we will learn how to create bubbles from scratch in Photoshop CS5. We are going to show you how to generate realistic bubbles through the use of selections, layer styles, and opacities.

Let’s begin:

STEP ONE:

We will start off with a blank canvas; but this time select a color, image or gradient that you would like to serve as your background:

STEP TWO:

Create a selection in the shape of a bubble with the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M). It doesn’t have to be a perfect circle – just close enough to resemble a bubble:

STEP THREE:

Now create a New Layer; and then fill the selection with any color. In this example, we have selected white.

Reduce the Fill of this layer to zero. You will find this option on the LAYERS palette, below the Opacity option:

This will make the Layer’s contents invisible.

STEP FOUR:

Now, we are going to add Layer Styles to make the layer with our circle visible, but with effects.
Open up the Layer Style either by right-clicking the layer and choosing Blending Options, or double-clicking the layer on the LAYERS palette.
On the Layer Style dialog box select, Drop Shadow with Opacity around 10%, a Distance of 1px, and a Size of 5px. Now select, Inner Shadow with Opacity around 10%, a Distance of 3px, and a Size of 5px. To end with, select Inner Glow with a White Color, Opacity of 35%, and a Size of 15px.

STEP FIVE:

Select the Brush Tool (B) with a soft brush around 9px, or relative to the size of your bubble. Create a New Layer and paint an arc at the top left of the bubble. Then reduce the Opacity of the layer:

STEP SIX:

By repeating the process with different shapes and styles, you can create multiple bubbles.

Try it yourself and see what you can come up with.