How to Create a Glowing Effect in Photoshop

Creating a glowing effect in Photoshop involves adding luminosity and vibrancy to specific elements, making them appear as if they emit light. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

1: Open Your Image

  1. Open the image you want to work on in Photoshop.

2: Duplicate the Layer

  1. Duplicate the layer by right-clicking on the layer in the Layers panel and selecting “Duplicate Layer.” Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+J (Windows) or Command+J (Mac).

3: Set Blend Mode to Screen

  1. With the duplicated layer selected, change the blend mode to “Screen” in the Layers panel. This blend mode enhances the bright areas of the image and makes darker areas transparent.

4: Apply Gaussian Blur

  1. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Adjust the Radius to control the amount of blur. This blurring helps create a softer and more diffused glow.

5: Adjust Opacity

  1. Fine-tune the intensity of the glow by adjusting the opacity of the duplicated layer. You can do this directly in the Layers panel.

6: Create a New Layer

  1. Create a new layer (Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N) above the duplicated layer.

7: Use the Brush Tool

  1. Select the Brush Tool (B) and choose a soft, round brush. Set the foreground color to the color you want for the glow.

8: Paint the Glow

  1. Paint over the areas where you want the glow effect to be more pronounced. Focus on the edges of objects or areas where light would naturally hit.

9: Change Blend Mode (Optional)

  1. Experiment with different blend modes for the painted glow layer. “Overlay” or “Soft Light” are often used for a more subtle effect.

10: Add Adjustment Layers (Optional)

  1. If needed, add adjustment layers like “Color Balance” or “Hue/Saturation” to fine-tune the color of the glow and make it match the overall color scheme of the image.

11: Duplicate and Experiment

  1. Duplicate the glowing layers and experiment with different colors, opacities, and blending modes to enhance the variety and richness of the glow.

12: Refine and Mask (Optional)

  1. Use layer masks to refine the areas where the glow should be more or less intense. Paint on the layer mask with black to hide parts of the glow.

13: Final Adjustments

  1. Make any final adjustments to overall contrast, brightness, or color to ensure a cohesive and balanced look.

14: Save and Export

  1. Once you’re satisfied with the glowing effect, save your image or export it in the desired format.


  • Experiment with Colors:
    • Try different colors for the glow to create interesting and dynamic effects.
  • Use Outer Glow Layer Style:
    • In addition to manual painting, you can use the “Outer Glow” layer style for specific layers to add a subtle glow automatically.
  • Combine with Other Effects:
    • Combine the glowing effect with other effects like lens flares or light leaks for a more complex and visually striking result.

Creating a glowing effect in Photoshop allows for creativity and artistic expression. Adjust the settings based on your preferences and the specific requirements of your design.

How to Create a Glowing Effect in Photoshop
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