Ice & Icicle text effect in Photoshop

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ice texture

(updated, with Video) In this tutorial, I will show you how to create ice texture and icicles hanging off of the ice. You can choose any shape you like to make the ice but I will simply use the letters ICE as an example. (If you need help creating a different shape other than lettering try my tutorial on Pen/Path tool)

We are going to apply some layer effect to the object to give it a translucent texture. Check bevel and Emboss and give it some depth. If you are not sure how much to give you can always come back later and change it.

Next check the Satin, give it enough distance and size so that your object has a translucent look. Add color to correspond to the color of your original object.

If you didn’t assigned a color to your original object you can do that in Color Overlay option.

I want to exaggerate the back light effect by checking Inner Glow, change the color of the glow to your liking, it does not need to match the base color. Before you finish, make sure you have enough variation in tone such as the highlights and shadows, you don’t want the tone to be too even.

Duplicate the text layer and create an extra blank layer. Select both the duplicated text layer and blank layer and combine the two layer by going to the menu Layer – Merge Layer or Ctrl+E/CMD+E. This will rasterize the effects that was apply to the text. You now have the original unrasterized text plus an rasterized text layer.

With the layer rasterized, double click on it again and give it a gradient effect, use a pattern similar to what I have and give it a 30% opacity. Than rasterize it again using using the same method as the last step. Gradient Overlay effect is located below all the other effect option, that means it will also be render after all the other effect, that is why we have to do it separately so that the effect appears over the rest of the effect.

Now that the translucent effect is done we want to add some reflection. Make sure the original text effect is still there along with a newly duplicated layer.

To apply Chrome effect to the rasterized layer, (click on the photo to see the whole capture) go to Filter – Sketch –  Chrome, adjust Smoothness and Detail to get a balanced chrome texture. If you are unable to get a good balance, you will have to go back and adjust your layer effects, make sure your object has enough variation in tone from the highlights and shadow that Satin, Emboss and Inner glow creates, make a duplicate and rasterize it again to apply the Chrome filter.

Give the Chrome layer an Overlay Blending Mode (Click here if you want to read more about Blending Mode) . This will apply the Chrome filtered effect over the original text (we made a duplicate of the original text before we applied the Chrome effect)

Optional : you can duplicate the layer and flip it over to create a reflection on the ground, to make it fade out, apply a mask to this layer and use gradient on the mask as shown in my photo (click on the photo to see the entire capture)

The last step is to create the icicles dripping off the text. Go to menu Select – Color Range, and click on the brightest area of the text, you can see a preview of what you’ve selected. You’ve now selected all the bright area, you can also do other shades such as the darkest area or mid-tone, but I find highlighted area to look the best.

With the Color Range selection still on, create a new layer and fill the selection with white.

Now use free transform to turn it vertically counterclockwise, negative 90 degree(see full image for example)

Go to filter – stylized – wind, use Blast method and from the left, assuming you’ve turn it counterclockwise on the last step, if not make sure the wind is coming from the *top.

Now rotate the icicle right side up, and align it with the text.

This is what your final image would end up looking like. You can give some depth and reflection to the icicles with the same method. I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and give it a try, feel free to post your results down at the comment below or ask any questions.

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