Note technology rapidly evolves and this tutorial is over 3 years old, as a result some of the practices used in this tutorial may be out of date.

3D Transparent Glass Text Effect

Here we’re going to show you how to create a text effect based on the 3D glass icons on IconsETC.


Step #1

First you will need to download the two textures below and convert them into photoshop patterns for later. To do this simply open each image then go to EDIT >> DEFINE PATTERN in the menu. Alternatively, if you’ve downloaded the source files at the end of this post, simply install the pattern set entitled reflective-brushed-metal-tut.pat by double clicking on it.)

Click here to download all tutorial assets in zip file.

Step #2

Create a new transparent document 880px * 540px at 72dpi as seen below.


Step #3

To keep our psd file organized first click on the folder icon in the layer pallet 3 times to create three folders and name them FRAME, TEXT, and BACKGROUND respectively.


Step #4

Create a new layer within the FRAME folder and name it frame. Activate the shape tool by typeing U, make sure the rectangular shape tool is selected, then draw out a square similar to the one below, leaving a little room on the top and bottom.


Step #5

Activate the by going to LAYER >> LAYER STYLE >> BLENDING OPTIONS in the menu and enter the settings below.


Step #6

Create a new layer above the frame layer, activate the text tool by typeing T, then enter the settings below and type out a title.



Within the BACKGROUND folder create a new pattern fill layer by going to LAYER >> NEW FILL LAYER >> PATTERN in the menu in the menu and choose the smoky pattern you installed in step #1 as seen below.



Open the layer styles dialog box on the pattern layer by going to LAYER >> LAYER STYLE >> BLENDING OPTIONS in the menu and enter the settings below.

pattern-background-styles pattern-background-styles-2 pattern-background-styles-3


Within the TEXT folder now, create a new text layer, activate the text tool by typeing T and type in some text with the settings below. If you would like to use the font we are using here you can get it for free on


STEP #10

Duplicate the text layer you just created by going to LAYER >> DUPLICATE LAYER then open up the layer styles pallet on the top text layer by going to LAYER >> LAYER STYLE >> BLENDING OPTIONS in the menu and enter the settings below.

top-glass-layer-styles top-glass-layer-styles-2 top-glass-layer-styles-3 top-glass-layer-styles-4 top-glass-layer-styles-5 top-glass-layer-styles-6 top-glass-layer-styles-7

Step #11

Open up the layer styles pallet on the bottom text layer and enter the settings you see below.

bottom-glass-styles bottom-glass-styles-2 bottom-glass-styles-3 bottom-glass-styles-4

That’s It!

You should now have something similar to what you see below.


What’s Included in the Download

  • Fully layered source PSD
  • .ASL file containing the layer styles needed to create the glass effect
  • .PAT file with all patterns needed for the tutorial – ready to install!
  • .JPG files of all patterns used
  • BONUS: 36 fully layered popular icons in this style.
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50 comments on “3D Transparent Glass Text Effect

  1. Donna Dolorosa says:

    The tutorial doesn’t actually state in Step 11 which layer(s) you apply the drop shadow etc. to – instead it just jumps straight into ‘Open up the Layers Styles…’. Otherwise, it is a good tutorial.

    September 19, 2009 8:22 pm
  2. Ellen says:

    This was an excellent, excellent tutorial and you did not forget any details. The result is just beautiful. Thanks you so much for all your efforts.

    October 11, 2009 7:09 am
  3. Ellen says:

    To Donna Dolorosa – you need to pay attention to the details that were given to you. Remeber you duplicated the text layer and in Step 11 it says to apply the blending options to the BOTTOM text layer. You have to follow the tutorials given exactly. Good luck on your next try.

    October 11, 2009 7:13 am
  4. swedane says:

    How do you get the two .jpg files (smoky-texture.jpg and blurred-lights.jpg) to show up in the pattern folder?
    I know where the plug-ins & other are located, I just can’t get them to show up.
    I have Photoshop CS4, running on a Mac.

    Thank you.

    December 27, 2009 9:24 am
    1. Pamela says:

      Hi Swedane ~ Yes, for .jpg files you will have to convert them into patterns by opening each image then going to EDIT >> DEFINE PATTERN in the menu.

      December 30, 2009 12:00 pm
  5. Laura says:

    Love the effect!
    I just had a question about Step 10 – the step with Bevel & Emboss>Contour. I can’t seem to find the contour that you used. I am assuming that makes the white on top.
    Thanks for the great TUT!

    December 29, 2009 7:30 pm
    1. Pamela says:

      Hi Laura ~ you’re welcome!
      & here’s closeup screenshots of the two bevel and emboss custom contours:

      December 30, 2009 11:55 am
      1. Laura says:

        Thank you for the close up ii did make the white a little bigger but not as big as yours. I did the “etc glass tut” and had the same thing just something I must of missed…Thanks for the quick response! I really enjoy your tuts!!!

        December 30, 2009 5:53 pm
      2. Becky W says:

        Hi, im also stuck on changing the contour, in the screenshot with the contour editor, I don’t know how to get that up :) btw great tutorials, prob one of the simplest to follow (besides im not the best on photoshop) thank you! xox

        January 2, 2010 7:14 am
        1. Pamela says:

          Sorry it took so long to answer! Just click on the contour thumbnail in the layerstyles dialog box.

          January 19, 2010 11:30 pm
  6. Ally says:

    This was a really great tutorial! I was just wondering, what if you wanted to color the text as in a clear red? Would that work?

    January 16, 2010 3:35 pm
  7. slowturtle says:

    Wow, such complicated looking stuff in just so few steps. Got the same result on this one too, following the described steps above. Now I am going to experiment with it.

    March 13, 2010 5:11 am
    1. Lita says:

      Congratulations once again… and thank you so much for your feedback. Have fun on your experiment!!!

      March 13, 2010 8:52 pm
  8. Nana says:

    I love what you have done but i do have two questions… first is in step 10 satin i cant get the contour you used .. and also i dont seem to get the whit glow on the upper part :S

    May 13, 2010 11:14 am
  9. iqbal says:

    this is just amazing, finally a tutorial with awesome affect and which is free. Thanks a ton, God’s blessing is with you already thats why you created and shared this.
    Thanks again.
    thanks for your effort for posting it.

    November 14, 2010 12:37 pm
  10. Tehillah says:

    Really like this tutorial. The glass effect is great and I like the frame. In step 10 I do not have the drop shadow contour in Photoshop 7. Is it possible that you could show me a close-up screenshot of the contour? Toda Tehillah

    April 22, 2011 6:40 pm
  11. Ed says:

    Thank you very much for sharing. I noticed when I went through the steps I did not have some of the contours that you asked to choose. Is there a way to get more contours for Photoshop?


    July 3, 2011 10:45 am

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