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[Glass Shatter Effect] Add A Wow Factor To Your Images!

Hi guys! Ready to learn something new this week? In this tutorial we are going to learn how to create a stylistic glass shatter effect using layer masks and textures. This effect is highly customizable and can be used in the creation of book covers, event flyers or even fashion portraits.

Software: Photoshop CS6, PC

Level: Advanced

Time Needed: 45 minutes


Step One

First, we want to get a cracked glass texture (, and lay it over our model image (Photo #15032573 -Young beautiful stylish retro blond girl). Set the layer mode of your glass texture to “Screen”.

Clip a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer to your glass texture and set it to -68 Brightness and 53 Contrast. Now, above that create a Curves adjustment layer and set it to what you see below:

You should have something similar to this:

Step Two Next, we are going to cut out pieces of the glass using layer masks.

Add a layer mask to your glass texture. set your foreground color to black, and with the Polygonal Lasso Tool select out chunks of the glass with the largest area being where the model’s face is.

Here are my selections; I made them red so you can see them more clearly:


Notice they are not random. Try and fallow the cracks and shapes in the glass that already exists.

Go to Edit > Fill and set “Use” to Foreground Color. This will mask out all the selected (red) areas.

Step Three To make the edges more pronounced we are going to outline them with white.

First, create a new layer and clip it into the glass texture layer. Make sure it is under your two adjustment layers from earlier.  Set the layer mode to “Overlay”. With a medium, hard, round brush paint white along the edges of the masked out parts of the glass. Again, try and use what is already there as a guide. You also want to make some edges “thicker” than others.

Create a new layer above that layer and keep the layer mode set to “Normal”. Do the same thing you did before, but in places that need even more definition. When you are done, set the layer opacity to 42%.

To finish up the edges, create another layer above the one you last created and set it ti “Soft Light”. With a large, soft, round brush paint white lightly around the edges of the glass, just to give it more light. It should be very subtle and not harsh at all.

Step Four Now we are going to add color, and darken the glass so that it stands out more against the model.

Right above your model layer create a Color Fill layer and set it to a light blue (#0050c7). Set the layer mode to “Hue”, and the opacity to 20%. We want to copy the layer mask from our glass texture onto this layer so that it only shows where the glass is. To do this, click on the glass layer’s layer mask and hold Alt. Now click and drag it down onto the Color Fill layer.

Above the Color Fill layer create a Curves adjustment layer and set it to what you see below:


Copy the mask from the glass texture onto the Curves layer just as you did with the Color Fill layer. Result:

Step Five To add more detail we are going to add specks of tiny broken glass around the edges of our glass.

This is a very simple effect, you just need the right brush. Any kind of “speck” or even “snow” brush will work. You can try this brush set here: ( This is an important detail to add!

Once you have your brush, set your foreground color to white and paint around the edges of your glass. Focusing on the corners   and parts of the glass that has the most cracks.

Next, to add some shimmer to our glass we create a new layer and set it to “Soft Light”. With a soft, round, white, brush and a brush flow of 20% paint blobs and strikes of light along the ages of the glass.

Create another new layer above that and set it to “Screen”. With a large, round, soft brush set to a light blue-green (#00e89b), paint similar blobs of light as you did before.

Step Six To give the glass some texture, we are going to create and apply a fog texture to the glass.

Create a new layer above all your current layers, keep the layer mode set to normal for now. With a foreground color of black and a background color set to white go to Filter > Render > Clouds. Depending on the size of your image you may have to enlarge the clouds.

Here are what my clouds look like:

Copy your glass texture’s layer mask onto your cloud layer, so that it only shows on the glass.

Change the layer mode to “Screen”, and set the layer opacity to 25%.

If your clouds are too thick, you can go to Edit > Brightness/Contrast and mess around with the settings to make it more ideal.

Step Seven Finally, to tie the image together we are going to give it a nice green-blue color tone. We are going to do this in three adjustment layers.

The first is a Color Lookup layer set to “HorrorBlue”  set to 49% opacity.

Above that, a Curves layer set to what you see below:

Which gives us this:

And lastly, above that another Color Lookup Layer set to (Abstract) “Green Red”.

And that’s it, you’re done! So what do you think? Feel free to suggest any other techniques and styles you might want to learn about in our comments below! Till the next tutorial!

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