Frosted Glass Effects in Adobe Photoshop

Written by darrin koltow
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By learning to produce a frosted glass effect with Adobe Photoshop, you can create the appearance of decorative tables, drinking glasses, shower doors, light fixtures and other illustrations. You can also create more surreal images by applying the frosted glass as a texture to an object you would never expect to see as glass. Sporting goods, food, books and clothing are all possible subjects for this particular application of the effect.

Load Picture

Begin your frosted glass project by loading a picture into Photoshop. Click the "File" menu's "Open" command, then navigate to and double-click a picture to which to apply the effect. Alternatively, you could paint a new image with the program's "Paintbrush" tool. Pick a colour for the image by clicking the upper colour swatch from the bottom of the tool palette, click the tool palette's paintbrush icon, then drag on the canvas to paint the image.

Selecting Image Portion

After producing an image to apply the effect to, select the specific area for the effect. You can make the entire image look like it's projecting through frosted glass, but this could make the subject unrecognisable. Instead, choose a portion to which you want to call viewer attention, such as a person's face. Select the portion with Photoshop's selection tools such as "Rectangular Marquee," whose tool palette icon is a dashed rectangle.

Making Effect

Breaking down the frosted glass effect, combined with learning something about Photoshop's filters and layer styles, will yield practical approaches for creating this effect. You can think of the effect as an application of two-image transformations: a blur, and an overlay of a translucency, as though you were laying a gauze over a picture. You can apply the blur by executing one of the filters under the "Filter" menu's "Blur" sub-menu.


You have several options for applying the gauzy portion of the frosted glass effect. One of them is to create a solid colour adjustment layer with the "Layer" menu's "New fill layer" command. Another way is to duplicate onto a new layer the image portion to which you will apply the effect, fill the duplicate with white using the tool palette's "Gradient" tool, then reduce the opacity of the layer by about half.

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