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Stained Glass Effect
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Stained Glass Effect
Created by: Kawliga

In this tutorial, we will use the Magic Wand to create an effect similar to stained glass.

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There are several places on the web where you can get actual images of glass. One of these is Spectrum Glass at

With their permission, we have selected 10 of their glass tiles from the Spectrum Glass site for this particular tutorial and supplied them to you by means of the download file on the left. Included in the zip file is the image we are going to turn into a stained glass picture.


Before we start, first unzip your download file and open the glass files and "/tutorial/html/tut7eff/glassstaind.gif". The image was taken from a book, scanned and reworked to make it a simple black and white image. When you have opened all these images, you should now have a total 11 images open in PSP.


Before we ruin the "/tutorial/html/tut7eff/glassstaind.gif" image, let's duplicate it first: Go to Window || Duplicate. You can close the orginal now and work on the copy.

Now, since this is a gif, we will have to increase the color depth before we can work on it: Go to Colors || Increase Color Depth || 16.7 million.

This will be a rather long tutorial since I will be demonstrating 2 ways of doing this. I will demonstrate the easy way first.


Set your background color to white.


Select the Floodfill tool and set the values as follows:
Blend mode = Normal
Match mode = RGB Value
Tolerance = 0
Opacity = 100
Sample merged = unchecked


Set your foreground style to Pattern (click on the arrow in the foreground style box and choose the 2nd icon from the right) and your foreground texture to None (click on the arrow in the foreground texture box and choose the icon on the right). Then click into your foreground style box and choose "/tutorial/html/tut7eff/146w.jpg" from the Pattern drop-down box (Scale = 100, Angle = 0).


Click into the areas I have colored here. This is one way of making stained glass images: Simply choosing a color or a pattern and using "Match mode = RGB" to fill an area. This method will be effective, but all fills will be the same.

Since glass is a dynamic fibre, we don't want all fills to be the same. We'll demonstrate how to overcome this.


I found that by using layers, we can spread the pattern over the entire image.

Activate the layer palette and duplicate the background layer by right-clicking the background button and selecting "Duplicate" from the pop-up menu.


Just to start with a clean slate, activate the background layer, and use the Magic Wand set at:
Match Mode = RGB Value
Tolerance = 30
Feather = 0
Sample merged = unchecked
Click in one of the petals of the flower, then hold the Shift key to select all the 5 areas you just colored.


Note: by setting the Tolerance to 30, we have ensured that we can select the entire area. "Tolerance = 0" would have allowed only 1 of the colors in the area to be selected.


Press Delete to clear those areas. You won't notice any difference to the image because the top layer still has the colors. If you hold the mouse over the background layer button, you can see a thumbnail of that layer and you'll notice that the previously colored area is now white.


Still having the background layer activated, add a new layer to the image. Your new layer should be between the background and the top layer. If it is not, move it so that it is between those two layers. Make sure the new layer is activated now.


Turn the visibility of the background layer off by clicking on the visibility toggle button. Activate the middle layer.


Click on the Floodfill tool, then into your foreground style box to select "/tutorial/html/tut7eff/152w.jpg" from the Pattern drop-down box. Now click into the new layer. Again, you might not notice the change, but if you hold the mouse over the new layer button, you can see the red thumbnail.


Activate the top layer. Using the Magic Wand, still set at Match mode = RGB Value and Tolerance = 30, click in one of the petals of the flower. Then hold the Shift key and click in the other two petals. (You will know by now that using the Shift key adds a selection to an already selected area.)


Press Delete to clear the area of the petals. Notice that each petal has a different pattern in it.

This was accomplished because we have the entire pattern behind the image and we're not just repeating the same fill from top-left of each selection.

Deselect by right-clicking into the image. If there are any other areas in the image that you'd like to color this red pattern, click into the area and press Delete. Once you are happy with the areas, you can merge the top 2 layers by going to Layers || Merge || Merge Visible.


Repeat this process for each color: Fill a middle layer with the pattern, activate the top layer and delete any areas you want to fill with that pattern. Then deselect and go to Layers || Merge || Merge Visible to merge the top 2 layers.

Note: Where the pattern repeats – since they are not seamless – you will have to use the Floodfill tool to fill the selected area only to avoid the seams.

This was just one example on how you can use actual glass images to make interesting stained glass pictures. Use your own imagination in terms of colors etc.

Also, you might like to check out Spectrum Glass and see what other types of glass they have available for graphic use. Or if you don't like using external images, you can use gradient fills and the paint or air brushes to create the effect you're after.

If you have Blade Pro or Eye Candy, you can go the extra distance and turn the black areas of this image into leading. Other filters will probably do the trick also, I just haven't been through them all to try.

As always, the only limit here is your imagination.

Do take note of the areas that are exclusive – i.e. are not joined to other areas. Use the Eraser tool set at Size = 1 pixel to combat this, or use the Dropper tool to select a color in the image, and use the Paintbrush set at Size = 1 pixel to fill the space.