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Using Glow Effects in Photoshop

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Creating a glow effect can look complicated, but in fact, it is quite easy and fast. You can add a glow effect to any object or text you create. Photoshop has a lot of layering tools that you can experiment with to get that perfect glow that you are looking for.

In this tutorial, we are going to create a glow effect using the built-in outer glow effect, filter, and the brush tool.

Glow Effect Using the Pen Tool

Step 1: Create a new file by pressing “File“>”New“. Supply your desired dimensions and press “OK“. For glow effects, a black background is always nicer in order to enhance the brightness and make the light pop out. Click on the “Fill” tool and select “Black” to change your background color to black. Alternatively, you can use Color Overlay by right-clicking on the background layer and then select Blending Options.

Step 2: Select the “Pen Tool” and make sure that Paths and Pen are selected.

Select the “Pen Tool”
Select “Path”

Step 3: Create a New Layer and on your canvas, start drawing curves or lines using the pen tool.

create-a-new-layer-and-on-your-canvas
Create a new layer and on your canvas, start drawing curves or lines using the pen tool.

Step 4: Click on the “Brush Tool” and select a brush size, color, etc. This will be the stroke settings for the path that you just created with the Pen Tool. For this sample, we are going to choose a brush size of 12, the hardness of 0 and a bright yellow color.

Step 4: Click on the brush tool
Click on the brush tool
Customize the brush
Customize the brush

Step 5: Select the layer that you used to draw a Path with the Pen Tool and then go to the Path panel. Right click on the “Work Path” > “Stroke Path“.

Right click on the "Work Path" > "Stroke Path".
Right click on the “Work Path” > “Stroke Path”.

Step 6: Select “Brush” in the drop-down menu and check to “Simulate Pressure” then click “OK”.

Select brush in the drop down menu
Select brush in the drop-down menu

Step 7: Your path has now been filled with the bright yellow color that you chose earlier. To remove the path line, go back to the Path Panel then right-click on the Work Path tab and select “Remove Path“.

To remove the path line, go back to the path panel then right click on the work path tab and select "Remove Path".
To remove the path line, go back to the path panel then right click on the work path tab and select “Remove Path”.

Step 8: Right click on the newly stroked path layer and select “Blending Option” > “Outer Glow“. Adjust the Outer Glow settings according to your preference and once satisfied with the glow, hit “OK“.

right-click-on-the-newly-stroked-path-layer
Right click on the newly stroked path layer and select “Blending Option” > “Outer Glow”.

Step 9: You have now placed a Glow Effect to an object that you created. You can add more glowing paths by repeating steps 2-8.

You can add more glowing paths by repeating steps 2-8.
You can add more glowing paths by repeating steps 2-8.

Applying a Glow Effect Using Filter

Sometimes we just want part of a picture to have a glow, like for example a light with a lens flare effect. Check below on how to place a Lens Flare filter on an object to create a glow effect.

Step 1: Open the object/photo that you would like to use and resize according to your preference.

Step 2: Click on “Filter” > “Render” > “Lens Flare“.

Click on "Filter" > "Render" > "Lens Flare".
Click on “Filter” > “Render” > “Lens Flare”.

Step 3: In the panel that will pop up, select the lens type that you like. In this example, we are using a 105mm lens. Drag the “+” on the preview window to where you would like the lens flare to be, then hit “OK“. You can add as much flare as you’d like.

In the panel that will pop up, select the lens type that you like
In the panel that will pop up, select the lens type that you like

Step 4: You have now created a glow effect using a filter called Lens Flare.

Applying a glow effect using filter
Applying a glow effect using filter

Glow Effect on Text

To make your text glow easily, follow these steps:

Step 1: Select the “Type Tool” and supply the text that you want – change the font type, color, size, according to your preference.

Step 2: If you want to put a gradient effect on your text, right click on your text layer and select “Rasterize Layer“.

Step 3: Select the “Gradient Tool” and edit the Gradient Colors. For this example, we are using a yellowish-gold gradient combination.

Select the "Gradient Tool"
Select the “Gradient Tool”

Step 4: Once done editing the colors, hold the command/control key while selecting the font layer. This is going to select the rasterized fonts instead of the entire layer.

Step 5: Click on the “Gradient Tool” again and drag on to the rasterized fonts.

Step 6: To add a glow, right click on the text layer and select “Blending Options” > “Outer Glow“.

select "Blending Options" > "Outer Glow".
Select “Blending Options” > “Outer Glow”.

Step 7: Experiment with the Outer Glow settings until you find your desired look, then click “OK“. You have now created a text glow effect:

Text with outer glow effect.
Text with outer glow effect.

You can combine all of the glow effect techniques to create an entirely new photo or project.

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