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How do you make a sun brushed metal effect like in the image below? I've tried motion blurring a noise layer but this gives to much blur.

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Draw a circle and apply a Radial Gradient to it. I simply used a Layer Style, but you can use a Gradient Layer if you want.

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Use a custom gradient with several color stops. Use the same color for the stop furthest to the left and furthest to the right. Otherwise the gradient will show a "seam".

Then create anew layer, fill it with black and add a Mask the size of the circle.

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Unlink the mask with the layer, by clicking the chain icon between them:

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Click the layer thumbnail so it's highlighted and choose Filter > Stylize > Add Noise, play with settings until you get a middle-ground and then click OK.

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Then choose Filter > Blur > Radial Blur

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lastly set the Blend Mode of the blurred layer to Screen:

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You can then further refine the gradient:

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And adjust opacities to blend things a bit better:

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  • I know you are trying to replicate the user's example, but using a "zoom" pattern has little sense because this kind of brushed metal is done by spinning it, so a spin blur would be more realistic. :o) – Rafael Feb 20 at 13:15
  • @Rafael Your'e correct, and actually.. I'd use both. – Scott Feb 20 at 17:23
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Acceptably finely brushed metal, even if blackened, has so fine scratches that computer screen probably cannot show them except with high zoom. But together the scratches and the light result a visible gradient effect. Thus I would start with a simplest possible conical gradient without adding any grain. Complex gradients can easily look out a folded rosette.

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The gradient is 5 stop black-white-black-white-black. You can see some banding (=ray lines) due the limited accuracy.

8 bit deep colors create more rays when the brightness range is adjusted. Darkening is needed for an impression of black metal. A levels or curves adjustment layer is the simple solution:

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For some internal math operation reasons the right adjustment was difficult, I didn't found a good setting.

But there's another option. Add a grey top layer and a black background. Adjust the opacities of the grey and gradient layers.

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With different adjustments you get also brushed plain steel:

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The gradient is opaque, so the black background is unnecessary.

With an adjustment layer you can make it glossy:

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