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Frozen Text


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This tutorial is available as a PDF. Click here to view or download it

In this tutorial, we will be trying to make this




Unfortunately, when I made that, I didn’t keep track of what I did, so we will have to settle with this


If anybody can come up with how I made the first one, a pm or post about it would be appreciated ;) (hint:I tried to make this tutorial as close to that as possible...)

If anything becomes confusing, ask about it. It is late and I may have some grammar glitches/confusing explanations. I'll make sure I reply in the morning when I'm not so tired ;)

Plugins required:

Gradient bars

Optional plugins:

Basic Antialias


Align Object


If I missed something or a plugin comes with PDN, please say so and I will fix the list.

Now...Let’s begin!

1. Make a new image and fill with black.

2. Add a new layer and name it “Original Text.” Add some white text and modify the shape however you like. Make sure it is completely opaque (but anti-aliased at the same time). I used “Comic Sans” with “anti-alias” turned off, then ran basic anti-alias and AA’s_Assistant at default values. I used “Align Object” to center.


3. Duplicate the layer and turn off the original text visibility. Name the new layer “Crystallize”

4. Run “Fragment” at 8 count and 5 distance. Crystallize at 3 size.


5. Use the magic wand tool to select everything not text in the original text layer, switch over to Crystallize layer and hit delete. Antialias the result with the antialias plugin. (does that come with pdn now?)

6. Duplicate “Crystallize” and rename the new layer “motion blur.” Move layer down

7. Run motion blur at the following settings: -90 degrees, uncheck “centered”, 30 distance


8. Add a new layer and name it “gradient bars” (should be just above “motion blur”)

9. Render gradient bars at default settings. Make sure white is your primary color and black is secondary.


10. Select all (ctrl+A) and resize the gradient bars with the “move selected pixels” tool. See picture for where resize handles should be.


11. Set the blend mode of the gradient bars to overlay

Noticing how uniform those icicle looks? Let’s fix that before we continue...

12. First off, duplicate motion blur and call the new layer “motion blur:uneven”

13. Crystalize the new layer at 7 size and gaussian blur at 5 pixels. Seeing white splotches? Go on to the next step to fix them. If you have floating icicles, erase them on the new layer with the eraser tool


14. Set the opacity of both motion blur layers to 150 and set the top one to lighten. If there are still splotches, adjust the opacity of the bottom layer until they are gone.

15. Add and new layer under “motion blur” and call it “motion blurs.” Merge motion blur and the new layer, then merge “uneven” and “motion blurs”.

16. You may notice that the icicles are a bit dim. Increase brightness and contrast of gradient bars to 40 brightness and 50 contrast. go to motion blurs to erase any new floating icicles

17. Go to “motion blurs” and run noise at 60 intensity and 0 color saturation. leave coverage at 100.

We are done with the icicles!


18. Duplicate Crystallize and name the new layer “Gaussian blur.” Blur using Gaussian blur at 10, then run frosted glass at default settings. Set blend mode of layer to overlay. Lower the brightness to -60 (Brightness/Contrast)

19. Go to “original text” and select everything not text. Delete selection in ”Gaussian blur”

20. Go to “Crystallize” and run Crystallize again at size 2. Repeat 19 on this layer.

21. Duplicate Crystallize and move layer to the top. Run frosted glass at default settings and run noise at the same settings as before (see icicles...). Motion blur at following settings: 0 degrees, centered, and 5 distance. Name the new layer “glaze”


22. Adjust brightness and contrast: brightness=-100 contrast=50

23. Set layer blend mode to overlay

24. Use curves to make the glaze layer slightly blue.


25. Try to get a similar coloring with curves on the gradient bars.


If you want, you can stop here. Smooth up a few places, and you got yourself a cold set of text. To get a cool translucent looking blue effect, you only need to go through another few simple steps.

26. Duplicate “Original text” and move layer all the way to the top. (make visible)

27. Lower brightness to -100 and keep contrast at 0 (brightness/contrast)

28. Run curves at the same settings as gradient bars.

29. Use the linear gradient tool on transparency mode as shown in image


30. Set layer blend mode to color burn and run Gaussian blur at 2 pixels

If the text looks choppy and pixelee, go to “Crystallize” and run antialias.


The result again:


Feel free to post your results (and how you modified the tutorial too if you did ;) )

No, Paint.NET is not spyware...but, installing it is an IQ test. ~BoltBait

Blend modes are like the filling in your sandwich. It's the filling that can change your experience of the sandwich. ~Ego Eram Reputo

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Thanks for all the nice comments!

About the icicles, I'm sure there are ways to fix it (a little twisting and bulging perhaps) but I'll leave that to our creative pdn users ;)

Also, in step 10, I'm thinking thicker icicles may actually be better as long as you don't make them so thick you can tell they aren't pointy. (EDIT: new find: icicles are less uniform if they are thicker.)

EDIT: another thing to note. When using a thicker text, skip 12, 13, and 15. In 14, just lower the opacity of the only motion blur layer to 150 and you should be fine.

EDIT: example with thicker text


Edited by pdnnoob

No, Paint.NET is not spyware...but, installing it is an IQ test. ~BoltBait

Blend modes are like the filling in your sandwich. It's the filling that can change your experience of the sandwich. ~Ego Eram Reputo

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