Home > Tutorials > Awesome Glow effect in Photoshop

Awesome Glow effect in Photoshop


In this tutorial, we’re going to create some really sharp-looking glow effects using a combination of layer styles, the Pen Tool and Color Blending. The end effect is quite stunning and you have a super cool glow typography.

So, Lets begin!!

Step 1:
Just like in the other tutorials, first create a new file with a resolution of 1280 x 1024 and with a PPI(pixels per inch) of 300. (The resolution is left to your choice). Create a new layer and apply gradient. The gradient goes from a reddish brown color to black. Here are the color codes I used:
Foreground color – #922f00
Background color – #000000

Step 2:
For a better result, we actually need a bright center, so what we’ll do is duplicate the layer we just made by pressing CTRL + J, and set the one above to a blending mode of Color Dodge.

Step 3:
To achieve the exact ambience for the glow effect, let us put a nice textured background. So we are going to create a sort of smoky haze using the cloud rendering tool in PS. To do this, create a new layer, then make sure you have white, #ffffff, and black, #000000, selected as your background and foreground colors.
Then go to Filter > Render > Clouds. This will give you the same random cloud pattern as shown below.


Step 4:
Now set the blending mode of your layer to Overlay and 30% transparency. In some instances this would be enough, but for our needs we want it even smokier looking!

Now go to Filter > Sketch > Chrome and set the values as 0 and 10 for detail and smoothness respectively. Actually you can probably mess around with those if you want, but these values seem to be fine.

4 (1)

When you’re done, the result should look a lot smokier like the image shown below. To enhance the smoke, select the free transform tool (CTRL + T) and increase the size of the cloud layer 2 times. This gives it a more realistic look.


Step 5:
To create the glowing lines, we need to use the pen tool. If you haven’t used the pen tool much I suggest playing around with it a little and experimenting with it until you have a reasonable mastery over it.

In fact all we want to achieve are some nice curves. Fortunately this isn’t too hard. I find the trick is not to use too many points. Instead rely on the Pen Tool’s natural curving and drag the mouse out for each point so you get a big angle. In this S-curve shown below, I’ve only used three points, the starting point, the end point and one in between to give it the bend.

Step 6:
Once you have a nice curve, create a new layer. Then click on the Paintbrush Tool (B) and choose a very thin, hard brush. As you know, soft brushes are the blurry ones and hard brushes are more solid. In this case I suggest using a thickness of 5. Set the foreground colour as white (actually, it doesn’t matter coz’ we will be using layer styles later)

Step 7:
Now switch back to the Pen Tool. Then right-click and select Stroke Path. A little dialog box will appear as in the screenshot. Choose Brush and make sure there is a tick next to Simulate Pressure. This is important as it will give your curve tapered ends which will make it rock!
Next right click again and select Delete Path.

Step 8:
You should now have something like the one below. Just a thin, cool swishy thing. You have to work a bit on the pen tool before you are able to perfectly draw these lines.

To get the faded end effect, select the rectangular marquee tool and set the feathering as 50 px and select the tail of the lines and press delete. I deleted twice to get to the below image. (the above ‘S’ didn’t quite fit my text layer which i will be creating later, so i did a better one. Its up to you, to draw lines of your choice, So let your imagination do the trick)


The selection to be deleted is as shown below:


Step 9:

Now we add some glows. The easiest way to make our glows is to use layer styles. The resulting image is something like this:


Basically, I’ve added two sets of glows. To do this I first use Outer Glow and then because I want a second glow, I change the Drop Shadow settings so that it becomes a glow (you can do this by reducing the Distance and changing the blend mode to something like Color Dodge). I’ve also used a Color Overlay to make the item white so that its like the center of an intense glow. Use the settings given below to get the effect quite similar to the one shown above.






Step 10:
So now you have the same line but with a cool glow coming off it. The beauty of using a layer style is that you can copy and paste it to other layers. To do this you just right-click the layer and select Copy Layer Style then create a new layer and right-click and choose Paste Layer Style.

Step 11:
So now repeat the same process a couple of times to make more lines.
In this instance, I made one a little thinner by changing the paint brush size to 3px before I did the Stroke Path bit of the process.

Step 12:
Here I’ve added some text in and applied the same layer style to the text layers.

Step 13:
Now we add some particles. To do this, create a new layer then select a tiny paint brush – size 3 – and just paint some dots on. It helps if they are clustered towards the center of the glow so that it looks like they are emanating from there.
Then paste the glow layer style on to that layer as well.

Step 14:
Now that’s looking pretty cool, but it will look even cooler if we give it some subtle coloring instead of this reddish gradient.
So create a new layer, and using a radial gradient, draw a blue to transparent gradient as shown.


Then set that layer to a blending mode of Color and change the opacity to 50%.
You’ll see that it turns the image kind of bluish. I think that’s looking much cooler already, but just to go that extra step I also created a couple of extra layers, one with some faint yellow and one with faint pink.I set each layer to blending mode of Color and thin opacity so that they all fade together.

Step 16:
Presto!! There you have it: Super Cool glow effects with a cool color blend and subtle smoky background combined make for a pretty great effect.

glowClick on the image for a larger view

Just remember to experiment with settings and try applying the glow to different things to see how it turns out. And try different color combinations, some surprising combinations turn out really beautiful. Have fun!!!

Thanks to PSDTuts for the wonderful tutorial. I have re created the entire tutorial. For the actual tutorial please visit : Advanced Glow effect

  1. dragovian Design
    December 13, 2009 at 9:32 PM

    this was stolen from a different tutorial.

    • December 14, 2009 at 2:21 AM

      If you look at the bottom of the article, I have mentioned that i have recreated the entire tutorial from PSDTuts 🙂

  2. random photoshopper
    February 23, 2010 at 5:55 AM

    Lol you should of played around with the colors like green 😀
    thats what i did i liked it better like that 😛

  3. uni
    March 26, 2010 at 6:18 AM

    yeh i saw that tut, this one is more in depth for beginners, thnx for the tut, keep it up. 🙂

  1. November 21, 2009 at 11:39 AM

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