I have been using this technique to create frosted glass for as long as I can remember. The workflow is incredibly simple. Most rendering programs can generate frosted glass, but the setup can often be tricky. In the case of Kerkythea, these settings dramatically increase the rendering time. As with everything that I do, I prefer to use Photoshop because I have more control over the final outcome and I can quickly make adjustments to get the look I am going for vs. rerendering the entire scene.
The workflow can be broken down into 3 basic steps.
Above, the base image that I will be working off of.
1. Blur:

 I first copied the part of the rendering that I wanted to be frosted glass and applied the Gaussian blur filter. The glass was rendered clear, therefore everything that is seen through the glass such as columns, walls, and lights should be blurred. It's even make sure to blur the mullions outside of the glass. 
2. Lighten

To get that "Steven Holl" frosted glass look, there are some concepts to consider. The overall brightness of the surfaces should be much lighter than standard clear glass. In the video, this is where I adjust the levels and use the dodge tool to brighten the copied layer.

Also, as objects get close to the frosted glass, their shadows become darker, and less blurred. That is why I darkened the diagonal columns and shadow under the mullions in the video.
3. Sharp Mullions

The final step is to add sharp mullions over the blurred glass layer. There are a couple of ways that I could have done this, but in this video I used sketchup linework for the mullions. Another path that I could have taken would have been to select the mullions from the original rendering using the "polygonal" tool, copy them to there own layer, and then move them above the frosted glass layer. 

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Reader Comments (6)

thanks for sharing, waiting for a long time for this

January 20, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterwade

First of all, great final result!
very nice trick, but i have to say that working with masks / id's
(eg - materials id / objects id / etc) would have saved you 50% of your time.

all in all - nice one!
thanks for sharing.

January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAvihay

Thanks a million! just in time for my final project!

January 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commentera

WOW, thanks for all the tutorials, I am just putting together a portfolio for Grad School and you have no idea how critical your website is to me. I just wanted thank you for taking to time to put together and update these tutorials.

I had a follow up question how did you make the maps on pages 16 to 17 in your undergraduate portfolio? Could you please put up a tutorial or at the most least tell me which software to use?

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterYilmaz

Hello, Alex

let's say you want to add some human figures to your scene: would you add it before or after the frosted glass routine?

I was wondering if the frosted glass would affect the capacity to identify the human shape.
I hope I've made myself clear, english is not my native language.

Thank you

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVictor

It was very interesting night effect in glasses on the facade of this building project. I'm still not at that level of drawing, but will get there.

April 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterConstruction Family

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