How to use glass filter in Photoshop tutorial

Learn how to use the glass filter for Photoshop and displacement maps tutorial and how to use them. The Photoshop glass filter is found in the filter gallery and uses displacement maps PSD files to modify the glass filter effect in Photoshop CC 2018 2017 2015 CS6 CS5 etc

Glass filter in Photoshop

glass filter for Photoshop and displacement maps
  1. Filter menu (in Photoshop)

  2. Filter gallery

  3. Distort

  4. Glass filter

  5. Select the level of distortion

  6. Select the smoothness of the glass effect

  7. Select the texture

  8. Browse for a PSD file (you can find many on this site)

  9. Select scaling

  10. Invert or not

  11. Click OK

Basic glass filter - it can be used very simply but it can use third party displacement maps for amazing effects

CSH format, download


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13,000 Custom shapes for Photoshop CC 2018 2017 2015 2014 CS6 CS5 etc and Photoshop elements CSH 13,000 Custom shapes for Photoshop and Elements

The glass filter in Photoshop is found in the filter menu / filter gallery / distort section. The filter uses four default included displacement maps but you can select your own displacement maps to modify and a glass-like effect to any image. The format of the displacement maps being PSD files (Photoshop format). The displacement maps used is the diamond set found in the main displacement maps section for Photoshop, psp, Affinity Photo etc

Options for the glass filter in Photoshop such as distortion and smoothness and textures

displacement maps glass filter photoshop scaling

The glass filter in Photoshop only includes (like most filters) only a few settings (if you want more you should be using After Effects etc) and they are


  1. Distortion

  2. Smoothness

  3. Texture (this is the place for the selected PSD file)

  4. Scaling

  5. Invert


Distortion: if you set the distortion to a very low setting you can hardly see the distortion with any displacement map. Set the distortion high and the displacement map can be seen as clear as day


Smoothness: Low, you can see more a thin line embossing effect. Set high and you see a nice smooth effect applied to the distortion (as long as the setting is high enough)


Texture: this is the main area for the displacement maps PSD files. The displacement maps can be seamless (all of the displacements on this site are seamless) but you can also apply any other image or non-seamless displacement. You can also scale the browsed for displacement. You can convert PNG files to PSD etc and use those as well


Scaling: Fairly limited range, not sure why the glass filter doesn't go beyond 50% to 200%. At least with the glass filter in Photoshop, you can zoom the preview to 100% and see the result of the scaling. The displace filter still has no preview.


Invert: changes the angle of the light to the opposite direction

New effect layer and glass filter in Photoshop

multiple displacement glass filter effect layers in Photoshop

One great feature of the filter gallery and the glass filter is that you can add a new effect layer within the filter. You can add multiple layers as well as delete them and disable them via the filter gallery.


You can set the new effect layer to the same glass filter (that is the default) as the current applied effect. You can then set the scaling as well as the texture etc to a different setting in seconds.


You can do much the same as just applying multiple filter gallery effects but doing it within the filter gallery is quicker though it does lack the ability to apply / fade the effect with different blending modes and opacity


You can also use the edit menu and fade and then set the blending mode to difference or darken etc

Photoshop actions and the glass filter - it can be combined with other effects as well as multiple glass filters

As with all the filters in Photoshop, the glass filter and multiple filter gallery effects can be combined together with other filters in Photoshop as well as with adjustment layers etc in a Photoshop action and that action can be run multiple times via the actions panel. Record the glass filter action and then apply other filter effects such as oil paint and camera raw and then save that to run the filter effects on other designs such as type and images (not just the gradients used in the examples on this page).


The image on the right uses the glass filter with a diamond displacement map and also oil paint filter effect


The glass filter effect can be re-applied numerous times and combined with varying settings of scale and perhaps different displacement maps, all kind of distorted and paint liked effects can be created with the effect such as the golden glass effect

Glass filter and type - you can use the glass filter with type / text in countless ways for distressed and subtle type distortions

type and glass filter and multiple displacements

The glass filter can be used to great effect with type. Apply some type and flatten and then apply the glass filter.


The glass filter does not work so well with type as a smart object or layer but it does work well with the artwork applied to a layer or background layer with some more than just the type to work with


On the right you can see the glass filter applied to type twice using the same displacement.

Other tutorials

1. Tutorials about the Photoshop / psp etc displacement maps, glass effects etc

2. Displace filter and displacement maps in Photoshop CC 2018 2017 2015 etc

3. Texturizer filter / displacement maps in Photoshop


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