How to create a foggy glass effect in Photoshop

The foggy glass effect in Photoshop creates an exceptional look in an image. And, if the effect is on transparent glass, that is more attractive. The effect is not among image manipulation, rather, it is applicable in front of the subject. Well, the operating method of the foggy glass effect addition is quite easy and you can do it on most of your images.

However, some images are good without this effect. So, you should not waste your time on any random image applying this effect. Also, besides Photoshop, the frosted glass effect by InDesign also has some options to apply to an image.

The glass effect in an image by Photoshop is a built-in facility. Hence, you can add a Photoshop glass filter from the Filter>Filter Gallary>Distort>Glass. But, the project we are handling is different from that. We will use another image with foggy effects and water pearl together. Adding this style in Photoshop is very handy. And, the editing is very interesting if you go through the end.

The process is easy, convenient, and very effective. Also, this will give your images a different look that you can amaze others.

Editing Method (Foggy Glass Effect)

For editing, we will open the subject image first. Then, we will add the foggy glass effect image on the subject. We will use Color Range to select semi-transparent areas to reduce labor. You know making a selection with other selection tools is a time-consuming matter.

Also, for this kind of image, it is far more difficult. Well, Color Range will simplify the process if you can understand the options first. Next, we will add a mask over the subject copy.

Then we will change the Blend Mode that suits. And, for this kind of editing, Blend Mode ‘Hard Light’ is effective. You can have more ideas on the Blend Mode from our blog “Photoshop CC 2019 features”. We will change the opacity one or two times in between.

Finally, we will add a Color Lookup adjustment layer to add more dramatic effects. Well, you can use the frost texture from Photoshop but the result will be different. Also, you can use frosted glass Photoshop action (if you have one) to minimize your labor. You can get free Photoshop effects on the web as well.

The Process ( Foggy Glass Effect)

For editing, we will take two images. One is the subject and the other one is with the foggy glass. We will open the subject image (below left) first then add the foggy glass (below right) image.

Sample images (Foggy glass effect)

Step 1 – Blurring

Let’s open the program Adobe Photoshop and open the subject image in that. Make a copy of the image to add a blur in the image. Convert the image into a smart object so that you can edit them anytime you need to.

Go to Filter>Convert for smart filters or just right-click on the layer and select ‘Convert to smart object’. They both do the same. For this project, we will not use the regular ‘Gaussian Blur’.

The blur will not give the best result for this project. We will use the ‘Box Blur’ for a more realistic result. However, you can try other blur effects if you want for checking purposes. We will use the Box Blur Radius of 15 pixels for this image. Press ‘OK’ to apply changes.

Box blur application (Foggy glass effect)

I am naming the Background Copy layer the ‘Box Blur’. Well, it doesn’t matter if you rename it or not, this is for a better understanding, nothing more. By the way, the frost effect in Photoshop by built-in options is limited in effect.

Step 2 –  Foggy Image Addition

Drag and drop the foggy glass image over the project and resize it according to the subject. To resize, you need to use the corners of the image. If you are using Photoshop CC2018 or earlier versions, press and hold the shift key to maintain the aspect ratio. From Photoshop CC2019, you can directly resize it without holding a key. Press Enter for Win or Return for MAC to apply.

Foggy image addition (Foggy glass effect)

Step 3 – Making A Selection

Next, we will make a selection using the ‘Color Range’ on the foggy glass layer. Select the layer and go to Select>Color Range and make some settings as below. Use the first eye-dropper tool to select the grey point. To identify the grey point, check out the blog “Automatic Photo Color Correction in Adobe Photoshop CS6”.

Then, select the ‘+ eye-dropper tool to select more of the areas. Try to select the areas that are not 100% transparent. Doing so you will have the foggy effect selected to apply to the blurred image.

Photoshop Color Range (Foggy glass effect)

We have selected ‘Localized Color Clusters’ so that when you click on one color it will select the specific area only. The other portions of the same color will not get selected. Adjust the fuzziness for a better output so that you can select what you want. Press ‘OK’ when you have selected all the grey points.

Selection view

Step 4 – Adding A Mask and Blend Mode Changing

Click the ‘Box Blur’ layer and click on the Mask button. You will see no change because the foggy glass layer is on top. Hide the glass layer and you will see the changes.

Mask addition (Foggy glass effect)

Select the foggy glass layer again and change the Blend Mode to ‘Hard Light’.

Blend mode change

The view is too harsh. So, decrease the opacity to 50% for this image. Well, other images required opacity value may be different. You can keep it this way or you may want to change a bit.

Decrease the opacity (Foggy glass effect)

Step 5 – Hue/Saturation and Curves

To change the look, you can add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Decrease the saturation to ‘- 100’ (No. 1 on the below image). Click on the Clipping Mask button (No. 2) so that the changes apply only to the foggy glass layer only. Add a Curves Adjustment layer and increase the brightness a little bit (No. 4).

Again, click on the Clipping Mask Button (No. 5) to apply on the below layer only. Now, press Ctrl+I for Win or Command+I for MAC to invert the mask.

Hue/Saturation, Curves adjustment layer (Foggy glass effect)

Select the mask, take the brush, set the foreground color white, and set the flow at 15%. Brush over some areas that you want to brighten. You can also darken any portion if you want. Just select the Curves Adjustment layer, darken the level, mask it, and brush over the areas. The process is pretty simple, isn’t it?

Brightning areas

Step 6 – Sharpening some areas

The image processing is almost done. Also, you can make some areas of the subject more visible. To do so, copy the background layer, and place the layer below the foggy glass layer. Press Alt for Win or Option for MAC and click on the Mask button. You will have an inverted mask. Now, take the brush, foreground color white, set the flow at 5%, and brush on the areas that you want sharp.

Sharpening areas (Foggy glass effect)

Additional Effect (Foggy Glass Effect)

The image already looks amazing. You can stop editing right here or you can add a Color Lookup layer from the New Adjustment layer button. For this image, I am using ‘Fall Colors’. You can try other color lookups and select anyone you want. Make sure the effect matches the subject and the environment. That’s it.

Additional effect (Foggy glass effect)

The Finishing (Foggy Glass Effect)

You can make a group of all the layers except for the background layer. You can also rename the group as you want. I am naming it the ‘Foggy Glass Effect’. Well, it does not create any value whether you name the group or not. Even, it is not important to make the group.

You can see the overall before and after of the whole project. Press Alt for Win or Option for MAC and click on the ‘eye’ of the Background layer. You will see the before. Same way click again, and you will see the after. The final output is as below.

Final image


The foggy glass effect in Photoshop is quite amazing. You can play with the editing however you want. Your creativity and good sense will help you for a better output. The effect is not mandatory to add. But, if you want some of your images to look different behind a foggy filter, this is amazing.

You can also try frosted glass texture from Photoshop for a different effect. Well, not every image looks better with these kinds of effects, we have already mentioned that. Select the image that is applicable to editing. And, use your best editing technique.

Related Article-

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How to create a frosted glass effect in Illustrator?

Ans: Adobe Illustrator is a design-based program. You can make beautiful designs with this one. The frosted glass effect in Illustrator is different from Photoshop. We are using raster images for the process. For Illustrator, you need to create a frosted glass to apply to the image.

How to make translucent glass in Photoshop?

Ans: To make a translucent glass in Photoshop, you need to use a couple of techniques. You need to add an image and reduce the opacity first. Then you need to use blending options considering the subject. You may also need to change the blend mode if necessary.

How to add a blur effect in Photoshop?

Ans: You can use several blurs from the Filter option in Photoshop. You will find enough blur options on the menu. Try implementing them one by one to get the best one. You can also use the Color Lookup adjustment layer to add some more effects if you want.

How to create a frosted glass text effect in Photoshop?

Ans: The frosted glass effect over the text is not very difficult. You can follow the procedure as explained above. If you want the effect only over the text, then use the Clipping Mask. If not, then nothing more to do.

Why do I need to create a foggy glass effect over the image?

Ans: The foggy glass effect over the image is not mandatory. The addition gives the image a dramatic look. Also, you can use the effect on some of your images for a variation.

How to make frosted glass in Photoshop?

Ans: To make a frosted glass in Photoshop, you need to know the tools of Photoshop. You can add a glass-type image and reduce the opacity. Add a blur effect that suits and use the blend mode according to the image. You are all good.