Create a transparent glass effect in Photoshop

How to design a transparent glass text in the style of SKY with Photoshop

Texts with glass effects are still very much in demand. Why not? If the design is successful, it creates a great eye-catcher, as with the SKY channel. I was just interested in how close you can get to the original with layered styles alone. Would you like to learn how to design glass fonts in the style of SKY very quickly - and also in a non-destructive way? Then just read on ...

When the paysender SKY presented its new logo a few years ago, you first had to rub your eyes a little surprised: weren't the times of glass and aqua effects long over? This look is still popular today consequent through and thus achieves at least a certain recognition.

The finished designed effect. Below I will also explain how you can implement the refractions in glass writing very quickly and non-destructively.

A few preliminary thoughts on implementation

About the glass effect of the SKY logo true to the original To recreate, Photoshop alone is not enough. Without knowing how the design office went about it - it looks a lot as if a 3D program helped. Of course, it can also be that the reflections (as in the past) were created specifically and skillfully with vector tools.

The logo of the channel SKY (source: Google image search)

My version is based alone on Photoshop layer styles. This has the advantage that the effect can be easily preserved and transferred. You can also just play around with the settings without a shaky hand without breaking anything.

Since Photoshop CC 2014 it is possible to several similar layer effects, for example, to integrate contours in an overall layer style. If you use an older version of Photoshop, you unfortunately have to split the effect over several layers.

Design the basic glass effect with a gradient

1. Open or enter a logo of your choice Test text in bold letters a. My test logo is 1000 pixels high. The following layer style settings refer to this size.

The effect is subsequently applied to this version of the SKY logo.

Work with larger files

I recommend making designs a bit larger in general, even if you only work for the web or digital productions. Because when working with bitmaps, you can zoom out at any time without any problems. When enlarging, however, quality losses inevitably occur.

2. Now put one new layer style by marking the text layer and clicking the fx button click in the Layers panel.

3. First we take care of the gradient fill. First click on the history and make the following Rainbow gradient a:

  • At the position »0%«: # ff0000
  • At the position »20%«: # ff9900
  • At the position »40%«: # ff0000
  • At the position »60%«: # 9900ff
  • At the position »80%«: # 00ffff

Assign a name under Name and click on New to save the history as own specification save.

The set course

After clicking OK, make the following additional settings:

  • Blending method: normal
  • Opacity: »100 %«
  • Angle: »-53°«
  • Scale: »140 %«

Gradient fill settings

4. Now let's take care of the flattened edge and relief. You can of course vary the settings at any time to suit your own taste.

  • Style: flattened edge on the inside
  • Technique: rounding off
  • Depth: »75 %«
  • Direction: Up
  • Size: "65 Px"
  • Blur: "0 Px"
  • Angle: »150°«
  • Height: »83°«
  • Gloss contour: linear
  • Lights mode: White multiply by negative and opacity»80 %«
  • Depth mode: black with multiply and opacity»86%«

in the SubmenuSet the contour to the Gaussian normal distribution and a range of »100 %«.

The settings in the Flattened Edge and Relief area

5. The gloss layer style is not mandatory. Without it, the glass looks a little cleaner. But it reinforces that a little Impression of randomness and simulates light reflections.

  • Blending method: multiply negative
  • White color
  • Opacity: »60 %«
  • Angle: »90°«
  • Distance: "87 Px"
  • Size: "77 Px"
  • contour: Semicircular

Settings for the shine

6. Now a small drop shadow is also set. It is also not mandatory. This means that the text stands out a bit better from the background. Here are the basic settings I used:

  • Angle: »90°«
  • Distance: "11 Px"
  • Size: "37 Px"

Let's take a look at how it looks so far:

The intermediate result

One problem: the contour

If you look at the SKY logo up close, you not only notice that it has a border, but that this border also has its own reflections and creates it. We can simulate if necessary, but not realistically replicate.

The contour of the SKY logo - impossible to recreate with layer styles

Unfortunately, you cannot (at the moment) create multiple flattened edge and relief layer effects in one layer style. And I really wanted to all in one style inside without having to distribute on several levels.

7. So let's just lay severalContour layer styles. Of course only an emergency solution. Owners of older Photoshop versions unfortunately have to distribute them over several layers. CC 2014 users can continue with the same layer style and add the additional contours using the plus button invest.

We create three different contour styles (from top to bottom in the layer style dialog).

Contour 1:Size »4 px«, position inside, opacity »40%«, overprinting activated, fill type gradient, gradient from white to white transparent, type of explosion, angle »90 °«.

Contour 2: Size »8 px«, position inside, opacity »50%«, overprinting activated, fill type gradient, gradient from white transparent to white, type of explosion, angle »90 °«.

Contour 3: Size »12 px«, position inside, opacity »50%«, overprinting activated, fill type gradient, gradient as with gradient overlay (saved), type linear, angle »-53 °«, scaling »100 °«.

With that we have finished designing the gradient version:

The finished gradient version

Scale layer styles

If you later apply your saved layer style in another file, it may not look as good as because the file is significantly smaller or larger. However, you can correct this by relatively scaling the layer style as a whole using the command Layer → Layer Style → Scale Effects.

Extend the glass logo to include refractions (light refractions)

We now want to strengthen the glass effect and give the logo a touch of realistic appearance. To do this, we first make the inner workings of the logo transparent.

1.Deactivate The Gradient Overlay layer style.

2.Deactivate Layer style 3, which has the rainbow gradient contour.

3. In the Layers panel, set the Area slider to "0%". That’s also the The logo's own color is transparent set.

So it looks like this:

Own color and layer style colors have been switched off.

4. Now we invite you Picture in the background and see that the glass effect of the logo is already showing its effect.

A picture was placed in the background.

5. Now turn your background image into a Smart object. To do this, right-click the layer and select the Convert to Smart Object command from the context menu.

Smart objects for a quick change of motif

That has the advantage that you can Exchange the motif later with one click can. You will see that the refractions are then automatically adapted to the new smart object.

6. Now we create a structure file for the refraction. In the Logs panel, click the New Document button below , around the complete work status, i.e. image background and glass text, in a new file.

7. Switch to the new file and apply a Color Overlay Layer Style to the image layer white color to.

8. Assign an (additional) layer style Color Overlay to the glass text, but in black color.

After assigning the color overlays

9. Select both levels and convert them into Smart object around. This is necessary so that the following can be blurred.

10. Select Filter → Blur filter → Gaussian blur and set a radius of here »7.4 pixels« a. You can always change this later.

After the soft focus

11. Save the file as a Photoshop file (.psd), preferably with the suffix »map«.

12. Switch back to the first file, duplicate the background design and place the duplicate over the glass text layer.

13. Now select Filters → Distortion Filters → Glass. When you arrive in the menu, select a distortion of »18« and click on the small menu button under Structure, click Load Structure and choose yours previously saved structure file.

The glass filter ensures the glass effect.

Now the refraction can already be seen. You can these fine tune at any timeby either adjusting the glass filter distortion or adjusting the blurring in the structure file.

The refraction

14. Now it's just left a small step towards the end result. Select the refraction plane, i.e. the plane that lies above the glass text, and choose Layer → Create Clipping Mask. Alternatively, you can also hold down the Alt key and click on the small line between these two levels.

The final result

Now let's see what it looks like when we do that Exchange the content of the smart object.

15.Double click Click on the image to open the Smart Object, copy a new photo into it, and then close the Smart Object again.

The motif is exchanged with one click.

And another example:

Another new motif. Somehow exciting to see how the refractions keep changing with just one click.

Here is the finished one Layer structure:

The level structure