Gimp Tips - Glass

You see a lot of glassy looking logos and designs around these days. Buttons or titles are made to look like they are smooth curved glass. I think it started with Mac OS X. Anyway, It's a pretty cool look so here's a way for you to make your own glassy buttons or other design elements. For a less detailed glass effect that is much quicker and easier, see my instaglass tip.

  1. Gimp channels list showing a new channel Begin by defining the shape of your glass in a new channel. Rounded corners help create the smooth curved glassy look. In 2.4 this is easy. Select the rectangle selection tool, check "Rounded corners" in the tool options, and select an appropriate radius (I used about 15). You could also just create a new channel and paint your shape on it with white.
  2. Layers list showing a new layer called Glass Create a new transparent layer called "Glass" and do Channel to Selection on your glass shape.
  3. Color dialog with a light shade of blue selected Select the color you want for your glass and a lighter shade of that color as your foreground and background colors.
  4. Glass shape filled with a gradient Gradient fill the selection so that the lighter shade is at the bottom and it transitions to the full color about half way up.
  5. Layers list with Glint layer and layer mask Create a new layer on top called "Glint" and fill it with white. Set the opacity for the layer to about 75%. Add a layer mask to it with full transparency.
  6. Shrunken selection with glint gradient applied Shrink the selection by about 5 pixels (or about 5% of the glass's overall size). In the layer mask, gradient fill the selection from white at the very top down to black just a few pixels lower.
  7. Glassy shape with text on it Add a layer between "Glass" and "Glint" with whatever you want to appear on the surface of the glass. I added some text, but it could be an image or icon, or whatever. This result looks pretty good. You can stop here if you want, but I'm going to add a few more touches to really make it look good.
  8. Area around the glass now filled in with black Add a new transparent layer just above "Glass" and call it "Edge". Do Channel to Selection again and then Select|Invert. Back in the new layer fill this area with black.
  9. The black area is blurred a bit now Select|None (Ctrl-Shift-A) then Filters|Blur|Gaussian Blur by about 10 (depending on how big your image is, of course).
  10. The glass now has a little realistic shade around its edges Add a layer mask to this layer with full transparency. Channel to Selection again and in the layer mask fill with white. Set the opacity for the layer to about 75%.
  11. Blue curve tool with the curve pulled down on the right Add a new transparent layer between the background and the "Glass" layer. Call this layer "Shadow". Channel to Selection again and fill that area on the new layer with black. Select|None (Ctrl-Shift-A) and Filters|Blur|Gaussian Blur by about 5.
  12. final image with proper drow shadow in place Move the "Shadow" layer down and to the right a bit and then set its opacity to around 40%. There you go! Beautiful glassworks from your computer.