There was some discussion in the forum a while ago about how to make window glass float above an image so that it looks realistic and I said that I would write a tutorial showing how to recreate the glass.
One of the problems that can crop up when making window glass is that if you are going to change the image behind a window frame, in the process you also remove the glass with the old image. And, when you add a new image, the area can then look a little too clean. In this tutorial I will show you how to correct that.
1. The first thing you need to do is to open up an image with a window in it. Using the Lasso tool (L), remove the existing scene from the window. Then change the name of this layer to “Frame.”
2. Next choose a suitable image for your new scene. This is the one I used.
3. Add the new scene into your image and call the layer “New Background.” To add the image you can simply open up both images and, using the Move tool (V), drag and drop your “New Background” into the image.
4. Now go the Layers palette and, if it is not already there, drag the “New Background” Layer below the “Frame” layer.
5. Next, create a new layer above the “New Background” layer. Layer>New>Layer and call this layer “Highlight.”
6. Set your foreground colour to white and, with a hard small brush, draw in some streaks as I have done in the image shown below. Do remember that to draw a straight line you can simply click at one end and then shift click at the other end and Elements will draw in the straight line for you.
7. Next do Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and use a setting for the radius of 25 pixels. This will blur the streaks and make a soft highlight.
8. You now need to reduce the opacity of the “Highlight” layer until it looks realistic. For my image 30 percent worked well but yours may need a different setting.
9. We are now going to add a reflection of the room into our window, so choose a suitable image. Here is the one I used.
10. Add it to your image in the same way we added the previous image and make sure that it is positioned just below the “Highlight” layer. Go to the layers palette, call the new layer “Reflections,” drag it just below the “Highlight” layer then reduce the opacity to around 10 percent.
11. We now need to add depth to the frame and we will do that by using a shadow.
12. Change your foreground colour to black, create a new layer below the “Frame” layer and call it “Shadow.”
13. Go to the layers palette Ctrl-Click (Mac: Command-Click) on the “Frame” layer to regain the selection and fill the selection with black. Edit>Fill Selection.
14. At the moment the shadow doesn’t show but our next move will sort that out. Just choose Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur, use a setting of around 10 pixels and a slight shadow will appear.
15. Now is the time to take a look at your overall image and, if need be, adjust the opacity of the “Highlight” and “Reflections” layers. I decided that I would increase the opacity of the “Reflections” layer to 15 percent, but you will need to try different settings until you see which works best in your image.
17. That finishes off the tutorial and hopefully you now have realistic looking glass in your window frame.
It’s a fun technique to try out and there are many things you can add to it. Do try different variation and most of all remember to experiment and enjoy!