After watching most of the tutorials over at the HeathenX screencast site I wanted to try making the "Web 2.0" style badges. You know what they are when you see them.....glossy looking, smooth and plastic-looking.
Specifically, there is a screencast based on this tutorial about making such a badge with Inkscape. In case you don't know, Inkscape is an Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, Freehand, CorelDraw, or Xara X. Not only is it free as in speech, it is also free as in beer, which makes it a great alternative for anyone who is financially strapped and just doesn't go for pirating copies of the other mentioned software packages!
The next thing I required was something to copy (as I am often limited in the imagination department) and a few minutes of google image search lead to Deziner Folio, a nice site that has allot of Photoshop goodness.
As they give them out free, and they seem to allow redistribution, I have included the inspirational image I wanted to duplicate:
Inspirational Badges from Deziner Folio
And after an hour or so, my version of comparable images drawn in Inkscape
My version drawn in Inkscape, exported as a png file
Most were pretty close. I had to use a few different techniques. Some of the "fills" are really just cut and inset versions of the main badge that have been made white, blurred and had the transparency dialed down. I can provide a step by step if there is any interest.