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make an image into glass


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


back in 2007 on a much older version of paint.net there were several of us that started to try for glass. this was my very first tut. it sparked a discussion amoung several of us. on how to go about making better glass. I used other simplier techniques after we updated paint.net versions and as more advanced plugins came out. At the time there wasn't a drop shadow plug in, and I dont beleve BoltBaits transparency plug in was out. I've had to modify the original sin waves settings within this tut as that plugin has evolved since then.

I strongly suggest you read thru all the other posts after this tut. as there is quite a bit of valuable information about refractions etc. especially the one by Verndewd and those by ASH .

Verndewd went on to give us a really great sig tut on glass and ASH we all know perfected glass to the point he could do blue glass skull images. Madjik brought to the table some ideas from previous paint.net masters and tabou image shows some work that was done around the same time.

water also was a hot topic. Many of us learned to share ideas help each other perfect our own areas of interest. The comment by Vern about luminosity really peaked my interest and many of my early abstracts are from that conversation.

Due to Ricks hard work we now have a much more advanced program. The plug in writers have given us so many more plugins, so this is not the easiest way of making glass but its one of the early attempts at a group coming together to make a texture we all wished for. Although its not a current method it may help some understand how blend modes affect and change images. Its where I started to learn to really to look at things and think about blend modes and all the great advanced work Rick had put into this program.

after you try this

you may like to go to look at the tut by Helen and the one by Yellowman. I know this little arrow needs those white bits of shiny to really sparkle as glass and those two tuts show some great tips on doing that.

at the time we didn't have shape 3d which Yellowman uses and fragment and true blue in Helen's was a plugin for the future versions of paint.net. There wasn't bevel plugin which is involved in another method. we worked with what we had and we all had an idea that it could be done! If glass was accomplishable back in those older versions what would happen if more effort went into drawing and making images now with all the advancements that have come about since 2007?


so a blast from the past (with updated pictures )

make an image into glass

thiswas my very first tut.

and I'm hoping you can follow if not let me know and I'll add more pictures

very sorry for any spelling or grammer errors

open image you need to have a solid image on transparent background


mark this layer reserved picture.

now duplicate this layer 4 more times mark them shadow, 1, 2, 3,

uncheck your reserved layer and uncheck the shadow layer .



work on the layer you named #1

use hue/saturation under adjustments set both the numbers for hue and saturation to "0"

and then invert color (found under adjustments)

next you change the blend mode on this layer to lighten 26 alpha




work on layer 2

again hue/saturation same settings as above

but do not invert color on this layer

set blend mode to overlay at 131




work on layer 3

set blend mode to multiply alpha 100




duplicate layer #3 and name layer 4

and set at glow alpha 86




work on the shadow next.

go down and recheck the box marked shadow. make sure you just check the shadow layer and leave the orginal reserve picture unchecked.

clik anywhere outside of the arrow and then control I to invert selection. move your pixels over slightly.

change the opacity downwards until you just have a hint of colored shadow showing.



this still only looks like a semi transparent image. that's were the refractive distortion comes in.

in this case you require a grid.

use grid maker plugin and add a grid between the reserve layer and the shadow layer

set tolerance of wand to 0

go down to the reserve layer clik anywhere outside the arrow and invert selection ( control + i )

this next bit is done on the grid layer

will sinwave I used .50 and 1.5 here




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yes it is a little complicate but does turn a solid picture to glass quality

from this


I twisted once using 3d cylinder


I dd this one fairly quickly but think I should maybe decrease all the layers alpha next time around and increase the end glow alpha upwards

each picture is a bit different and each color varies as well.

did find that the best photos have many shade variations.

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I am glad Oma did this, she asked me but lol well my tut writing is longer and more complicated. She wanted my glass effect on a piece I did but it was a random occurrance with cheats and it took a hundred steps or so. This tut is simple by comparison. good job oma.

retired from PDN forums. Later dewds

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thanks verndewd and madhatter

it was hard to condense to a few steps what I do to get glass. this is just the start and then there are plenty of curves+ and sharpens to get to the items I display in my gallery on deviant art.

if you all haven't seen my gallery on deviant art just click the link below my sig here. it will take you to the gallery any of the pictures can be clicked and you will get my notes (if I put any) a better view of the item, and you can read any comments or questions and answeres

thanks OMA

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(hides behind cupboard) ask and I shall reveal :P

What is missing is the absolute joy of using luminosity. This is your image oma from step one.

the sides are made with drop shadow in the same color the corners are drawn with line tool and then blurred(gaussian). then I selected the sides and used line gradient black to give it upward appearance and downward appearance. in other words i used 2 layers to create an actual 3d imageand used drop shadows to build the walls up and down. after selecting the walls and using a gradient to give the illusion of a standing wall, after the lines were drawn at the edges on the top layer i lowered the opaque level and drew the lines up from the bottom,

Then I used luminosity to make it bright and then dark again and used sharpen at 20. I usually do my sheen or shine with 3 points on luminosity.first point up second down and third up mildly.

retired from PDN forums. Later dewds

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@verndewd thanks! you've written part two of my feeble tut attempt. I'm going to have to try this you don't have any screen shots do you? you tut dodger you.


I knew i hid behind the cupboard for a reason. :P read my shiny things tut

retired from PDN forums. Later dewds

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Good work OMA, sometime a bit hard to follow...

(I first think you'll also explain how you made the shape of the arrow...)

For the shadow, I disagree with Ash, it (the shadow) is not a volume like a lens so it shouldn't distort the grid...

BTW: All this remember me old things:


I made this from the tut for PS here:




Water drop on a wall near a beach...

th_waterdrop.png 8)

Some other old stuff in the same idea:



And the translucid pils for BarkBark00:


from a tut for PS


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OK Ash explain do you have a picture to show me what you mean.

I tried filling a colored glass just now with water and putting a light next to it , either my eyes are getting worse or I've no idea what I'm supposed to be looking for. from what I'm reading from your post I should distort the shadow and not the grid under the shadow... is that it?


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Ok, just a quick job.

Notice on the 2nd image I took away the glass and also make the shadow under the glass a bit darker. So you can see which part is being distorted.

Keep in mind this is only to show the shadow needs to be distorted too.

If I were to really work on a project.

I will have to make the shadow distort acording to each side of the glass as it will affect the distortion rate a bit.

I will also have to make different part of the shadow different brightness since different amount of light will pass.



Hope this helps :)

Oops :oops:

Sorry for the confusion!

Not a problem :D :!:


All creations Ash + Paint.NET [ Googlepage | deviantArt | Club PDN | PDN Fan ]

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  • 2 weeks later...

First of all, thanks for the intriguing tutorial. Very nicely done.

Second, to the meat:

After attempting another hot tutorial, drakaan's BarkBark00's Signature tutorial, I took the results and had a go with your Image into Glass process. The results were . . . barely, almost, not really, but nearly-tolerably passable. But not quite. I think my major (yes, one of my major, I have many) problem(s) struck around grid-time. I screenshot my virtual life at the time, hoping to mooch a little more friendly assistance:


Also, here's a side-by-side (er, top to bottom, anyway) comparison of the original and the glassified failure:


So: thanks, nice work, and please help . . . when you get the chance.


... I should have been a pair of ragged claws ... - T.S. Eliot

Taboo Monkey Blue Blog: Writing on Writing - Sudoku Tips and Tricks - The Greatest Maze

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:idea: Did you read my tips a few posts up?

Different shape glass will distort the background differently.

And you shouldn't be using the image as shadow.

Shadow try to use light gray and the glass' shadow use the glass' color.

But give some bright spots/zones cuz class tube acts kinda like a magnifying glass.

And the grid doesn't always distort using sine waves. :idea:

See if that helps.


All creations Ash + Paint.NET [ Googlepage | deviantArt | Club PDN | PDN Fan ]

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