How To Create A Glass Effect In Photoshop (6 Easy Steps)

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With the help of some layer styles, you can make shapes or text look like glass in Photoshop. With the steps outlined here, you’ll know the exact settings to use for every step of the process.

So, let’s get started and create this glass effect from scratch!

How To Create A Glass Effect In Photoshop

Step 1: Convert Your Text To A Smart Object

Place the text you want to add the effect to in Photoshop and convert the text layer to a Smart Object by right-clicking on it and selecting Convert To Smart Object.

Step 2: Apply The Bevel And Emboss Effect

Double-click the text layer to open the Layer Style panel. Then, click the Bevel and Emboss checkbox. Here is what each setting does and a base guide for the glass effect. You can slightly adjust these settings for a more customized look.

  • In Style, choose Inner Bevel
  • Select Smooth for Technique
  • Adjust Depth to your liking. The higher the depth, the harsher the bevel effect
  • In Direction, choose between Bevel up or down in the text. Either option works
  • In Size, you can control how much bevel effect is applied to your text. If you increase the size too much, your text will be filled with the bevel effect, which will look more like a gradient than a bevel
  • In Soften, you can make the bevel effect look more subtle because it applies a slight blur to your bevel, blending it more with the text color
  • In Angle, you can determine the direction of the light source
  • Gloss Contour options for different shading styles for the Bevel. In my case, I chose Rolling Slope Descending
  • Adjust the Opacity to set the intensity of the effect

Step 3: Adjust The Contour In The Layer Styles Panel

In Contour, you can modify the appearance of your text contour. In my case, I chose Half Round. By adjusting the Range, you can make the contour look more or less highlighted in certain areas. In my case, I chose 55%.

You can open the Contour Editor by double-clicking the contour box, where you can further personalize the contour shape by adjusting its curve points. You can also choose one of the preset curves within the preset curves drop-down menu.

Step 4: Apply An Inner Glow In The Layer Styles Panel

Now click the Inner Glow option. This effect will fill your text after you finish applying the glass effect.

  • Change the Blend Mode to Overlay.
  • Change the Opacity to 50%.
  • Change the Gradient color to black.

Leave the other Inner Glow settings as they are.

Step 5: Apply A Drop Shadow In The Layer Styles Panel

Next, click the Drop Shadow option. That allows you to cast a shadow for your text/shape, making it look more detached from the background surface. Choose the following values for the Drop Shadow settings:

  • Blend Mode: Normal
  • Color: Black
  • Opacity: 23%
  • Angle: 78º
  • Distance: 8, Spread: 9, and Size: 6

When you are done applying all the above effects, click OK to exit the Layer Style menu.

Your text should resemble something like mine below.

Step 6: Reduce The Fill Of The Text Layer

Within the Layers Panel, click the text layer. Then, turn the Fill down, making the inner part of your text transparent or semitransparent. In my case, I turned it down to 14%.  

That will make the text blend with the background, making it look like glass. You can change the background color and even add a gradient fill layer for a more creative effect.

The glass effect is a unique and fun effect to apply to text and shapes in Photoshop. Give these steps a try and see what you can create for yourself!

Photo of author
I'm a Canadian photographer and photo retoucher turned founder of bwillcreative.com. Around here I help you to decode the mystery of photo editing with no-fluff videos and written guides to help you achieve your creative goals. Outside of shooting photos and my passion for educating, you'll find me mountain biking or on the trails with my dog, Sunny!

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