Create Icy Text with Water Reflection

In this photoshop tutorial I will show you how to create icy text using filters, blending modes, and displacement maps for a water reflection.

First download this picture

After download that open it in photoshop and first I will show you how to modify it and save it as a displacement map. This will allow us to give the reflection a very realistic look.

After opening it hit ctrl+shift+u to make it black and white or go to image>>adjustments>>desaturate

Next I am going to adjust the curves to make it a little darker and bring out the waves a bit more.

So go to image>>adjustments>>curves or hit the key combination ctrl+m

Now use settings similar to this

Once you do that go to file>>save as and save it as icedisplacemnt or something similar.

Next open up the downloaded picture (not the displacement we just made) and use your text tool to put text on the image that says, “ICY”…

Then add these blending options to it by right clicking on the layer and going to “blending options”

Outer Glow

Inner Glow

Gradient Overlay

After that duplicate the layer and create a new layer below that, then merge them together so you can edit the image without effecting the blending options you added.

Then go to filter>>noise>>add noise

Then go to filter>>artistic>>plastic wrap

Then go to filter>>sketch>>chrome

Here is what mine looks like after those steps:

**Quick Note: If you don’t have your foreground and background colors set to default then the chrome filter can look different so make sure your foreground is black and background is white. YOu can hit x on your keyboard to make your colors back to default.

Next duplicate your first text layer again, merge it down with a blank layer, and then move it above the last 2 layers we made and set it to color burn

That makes the bluish outline a little more vivid.

Since it is ice realistically you could see through it a bit so I will click on my very first layer which is the main background with the boat then I will hold down ctrl and click on the little icon beside our text layer

This will make an outline around the text

Now I will copy the selection I made from the main background image and paste it back in the document and move it above all the layers I have made so far.

Change its blending mode to soft light and it will add just a small amount of extra realism.

I don’t really want the text to look like it is floating above the water, I want to look like its in the water so I will go ahead and select an area from the background…

So here is the selection I will make

Now I will copy and paste that selection back into the document and move it above all the layers
I have so far.

Next I will zoom in and erase a little of the water I just copied under each letter to look like its floating. I will use a soft 21px eraser brush.

Now I am going to create some icicles by using the wind filter. So I will duplicate my regular icy text layer and do all the merging and then flip it vertically…

Go to filter>>stylize>>wind

Then hit ctrl+f about 3 or 4 times to use the filter multiple times. Here is what I have…

Next I am going to choose a spatter 39px eraser brush:

Now I will erase a lot of the layer but leaving some icicles and white for some

One last step is to make the reflection in the water with the displacement map.

So choose all your text layers (except the water selection layer), duplicate all of them, then merge together to have one layer.

Now flip the layer horizontally and 180 degrees and move it under the text

Now I will use the same brush I used on the previous steps except as an eraser this time to erase parts of the reflection to fit under the other text.

Now I want to adjust the perspective on the text so I will use ctrl+t to transform the layer and then right click on it and choose perspective:

Pull the right slider to the right and then size it back down so it doesn’t look too much larger.

Here is what I have after that

Now its time for the displacement map.

Go to filter>>distort>>displace and use these settings

Then browse for the file you made earlier.

After using this here is what it should look like

Finally one last step is to add a layer mask to the reflection by going to layer>>layer mask>>reveal all to fade the reflection out.

Then grab the gradient tool set to black to transparent and drag upward to fade out the reflection.

Here is my final version:

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