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: Create A New Document
First, create a new document to place your text on. As I wanted horizontal text, I made a horizontal document of 3000 x 2000 pixels.
Step 2: Format The Background Layer
It’s a good idea to place your text against a gray background layer because this will help you see the changes applied to your text better while creating the glass effect.
First, double-click the background layer in the Layers Panel to unlock it.
Then, enable the Paint Bucket Tool (G).
Afterward, go to the foreground swatch and choose a dark gray solid color from the color picker at the bottom of the Toolbar.
Then, click the canvas to fill it with the selected color.
Step 3: Add Your Text To The Canvas
Now, enable the Type Tool (T).
And change the text color to black in the color fill in the Options Bar. While you are creating the glass effect, it’s ideal to create black text, so you can see the changes better in the process of creating the effect. You can use a color of your choice too, but it’s best if you start with black and then change colors later.
Next, add the desired text to the canvas.
Step 4: Convert Your Text To A Smart Object
Converting your text to a Smart Object allows you to make changes non-destructively and re-edit any applied effect at any time in the future. To do this, go to the text layer, right-click it and choose Convert To Smart Object.
Step 5: Apply The Bevel And Emboss Effect
Double-click the text layer to open the Layer Style panel.
Then, click the Bevel and Emboss checkbox. This will open the Bevel and Emboss menu, where you can play around with the shadows and highlights of your element, giving your object a 3D appearance, which is the first step to making it look like glass.
I will provide tips on what settings to change in this menu and what values give your text a more exciting look and make it resemble glass.
In Style, choose Inner Bevel.
Select Smooth for Technique.
Adjust Depth to your liking. Remember that the higher the depth, the harsher the bevel effect. In my case, I found 251 was enough.
You can see the changes applied to your text/shape in the Layer Style window itself. A preview there gives a glimpse of what is happening to your object. For example, I could see what the bevel effect looked like.
In Direction, choose between applying the Bevel up or down in the text. This is all up to personal preference. I left the direction of the bevel of my text up.
In Size, you can control how much bevel effect is applied to your text. I chose 16 for this option. 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.
Now, let’s move down to the Shading section.
In Angle, you can determine the direction of the light source.
For example, at 135 degrees, light comes from the top left size, and that was my choice.
Play around with the Gloss Contour options for different shading styles for the Bevel. In my case, I chose Rolling Slope Descending.
The Bevel and Emboss effect is a collection of shadow and light effects. By default, the shadow is black, while the highlight is white. However, you can change those parameters by clicking the corresponding fill boxes.
You can also change the highlight or shadow Opacity, adjusting the intensity of the effects by doing so.
Step 6: Adjust The Contour
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 7: Apply Inner Glow
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 8: Apply Drop Shadow
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
Distance: 8, Spread: 9, and Size: 6
When you are done applying all the above effects, click OK to exit the Layer Style menu.
Step 9: Change The Background Layer Color
Since we just created the gray layer to see the changes better, and now it’s not necessary, you can change the background color to any color you want. To do this, go back to the Layers Panel and select the background layer.
Click the Adjustment Layer icon (half-circle icon).
And choose Solid Color.
Then, choose a color from the Color Picker. In my case, I chose a shade of blue.
After doing this, you can delete the gray layer, so your Layers panel will look less crowded.
To do this, click the gray layer and then click the trash bin icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.
Step 10: Reduce The Fill Of The Text Layer
Within the Layers Panel, click the text layer/layer of the object you styled to look like glass.
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 eventually look like glass.
(Optional) Step 11: Add A Gradient
You can also fill your background layer with a gradient and reduce the fill to make the end result even more interesting.
To do this, choose Gradient from the Adjustment layer options at the bottom of the Layers Panel.
Click the gradient drop-down menu from the Gradient Fill dialog to open up preset gradient options.
Then, choose a gradient folder from the list and pick a combination of colors.
In my case, I chose the blue gradient below.
Then, change the Gradient Style to Linear and change the angle of the gradient to 156.13%.
Click OK when you’re done.
After that, decrease the text layer’s Fill again, as shown in the previous step, which will make your text blend with the background, making it look more like glass against a gradient.
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!