Make ice text in photoshop

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This tutorial will use Photoshop to create an ice text effect using Photoshop CS3. This is just another one in the "Bert Monroy" series, inspired by the Photoshop master, Bert Monroy's PixelPerfect video podcasts. Bert's video podcast for this tutorial can be found at

Video Tutorial

Setting The Stage

Create a gradient on the background layer going from light blue to a lighter blue. This provides a nice back drop from which to view the effect.

  • Set the foreground color to RGB #b4d6fd
  • Set the background color to RGB #3657fc
  • Select the Gradient tool
    • make sure it is set to a linear gradient
  • Holding the Shift key down, click and drag downwards to apply the gradient

Creating The Text

  • Create a new layer menu/Layer/New/Layer... Name it "Back"
  • Click and hold the Horizontal text tool on the tools menu and select the Horizontal Type Mask Tool from the menu that pops up
  • Set the font to a block type font (Ariel Black)
  • Set the size to a large size (160pt)
  • Type the text onto the screen and place it in the middle. This creates a selection of the text you typed
  • Save the selection menu/Select/Save Selection... click Ok

Soften Text

  • Click the Channels tab on the Layer window
  • Select the channel with the text
  • Deselect all (Ctrl+D)
  • Apply a Gaussian Blur menu/Filters/Blur/Gaussian Blur...
  • Adjust the Radius to blur the text so that it is very soft looking
  • Bring up the Levels dialog by menu/Image/Adjustments/Levels... (Ctrl+L)
    • Move the far right slider to increase the size of the white of the text
    • Move the far left slider to sharpen the text

Filling The Text

  • Make the Alpha Channel a selection by holding down the Ctrl key and clicking the channel
  • Click the layers tab in the layers window
  • Select the back layer
  • Apply a gradient to the selection
    • Select the gradient tool from the tools menu
    • Holding the shift key click and drag upwards from the top of the text to the bottom of the text on the screen
  • Deselect all (Ctrl+D)

Ice Magic

  • Apply the Fibers filters menu/Filter/Render/Fibers...
  • Adjust the Variance and Strength to create an icy look
  • Give a more water like effect by applying the Plastic Wrap filter
    • menu/Filters/Artistic/Plastic Wrap...
    • Adjust the Highlight Strength, Detail, and Smoothness to create a reflective sheen on the text
  • Create some depth to the text
    • Double click the "Back" Layer to bring up the Layer Style Dialog box
    • Check the "Bevel and Emboss" option
    • Adjust the Depth, Size, and Soften sliders to create a more 3 dimensional effect to the ice
    • Change the "Shadow Mode" color from black to a dark blue
    • Click Ok

Adding More Depth to The Text

  • Duplicate the Back layer, name it "Front"
  • Select the "Back" layer
  • Click on the Move Tool on the Tools window
  • Using the arrow keys nudge the layer up and to the right (4 to 6 times each direction)
  • Select the Smudge Tool from the Tools menu
    • Using the smudge tool push the appropriate corners of the back layer to match the corners of the front layer, creating a connected look between the layers (see video time = 4:56)
  • Select the "Front" layer
  • Select the Blur tool from the Tools Menu
    • Blur the outside overlapping edges of the front layer to blend them with the background layer (see video time = 5:45)

Creating a Reflection

  • Turn off the Background layer by clicking its eyeball in the Layers window
  • While Holding down the alt key (Cmd key on Mac) Merge the visible layers by menu/Layers/Merge Visible
  • This creates a new layer, rename it to "Reflect" by double clicking it's text in the Layers window
  • Move the layer to below the "Back" layer by dragging it downwards in the Layers window
  • Turn on the background layer by clicking its eyeball in the Layers window
  • Flip the layer vertically by menu/Edit/Transform/Flip Vertical
  • Select the Move Tool from the Tools Menu
  • Holding the Shift key move the layer down so that the text bottoms just barely touch
  • Select the "Background" Layer
  • Click the New Layer button at the bottom of the Layers Window or menu/Layer/New/Layer... (Shift+Ctrl+N) Name it "Melt"
  • Select the Brush from the Tools Menu
    • Set the Brush hardness, 100%, Opacity 100%, and Flow 100%
    • Paint some water on the layer (see video time = 7:50)
  • Add some dimension to the water
    • Double click the Melt layer to bring up the Layer Styles dialog box
    • Select drop shadow, adjust the Distance, Spread and Size sliders to create a nice small shadow effect on the water
    • Select Bevel and Emboss
    • Adjust the Depth, Size and Soften sliders to create a nice looking puddle effect on the water
  • Clip the Reflection to the water
  • Right-Click the "Reflect" layer and select "Create Clipping Mask"

Wheeew, that's it!


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See Also