How to Make Glow-in-the-Dark in Photoshop

By Paul Kemp

Adobe Photoshop is a powerful tool for enhancing and altering your digital images. Included with the software is a variety of quick-apply effects tools and visual filters, but the power of the software really lies in knowing how to combine the various capabilities of Photoshop to create all-new effects. Users can create things such as objects that appear as glow-in-the-dark figures by combining Photoshop tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Digital image (preferably a darker composition)

Step 1

Open your photo in Photoshop by opening the program and selecting “Open” from the File menu.

Step 2

Click on the Layers palette at the right of the workspace and double-click on the “Background” layer to unlock it. Create a new layer by selecting the “Create a new layer” icon to the left of the trash can at the bottom of the Layers palette.

Step 3

Select the new layer and select the Rectangular Marquee tool from the Tools panel. Click and drag a rectangle around the object you want to appear to glow in the dark.

Step 4

Select “Edit > Fill” from the application menu and select “Color” from the “Use” drop-down menu in the “Contents” section. Select a color from the “Choose a color” for your glow. A yellowish-green is the classic color for a glow-in-the-dark effect, but you can use any color you like. Click “OK” to apply the fill to the rectangle.

Step 5

Apply a layer mask to the rectangle by clicking the “Add a layer mask” icon at the bottom of the Layers palette. The icon is a rectangle with a circle in the center. Select the layer mask in the Layers palette.

Step 6

Select the Brush tool and set the foreground color to black in the Tools panel. Select a Soft Round brush from the Tool options panel above the workspace and brush away the fill color around your glow-in-the-dark object so that the color left is a soft blob roughly following the lines of your object.

Step 7

Return to the Layers palette and set the blend mode to “Lighter Color” in the drop-down menu in the upper left-hand corner of the palette. Set the “Opacity” slider on the upper right-hand corner of the palette to about 65 percent. Right-click ("Ctrl" and click on a Mac) on the thumbnail for the layer mask and select “Subtract mask from selection” from the fly-out menu.

Step 8

Select “Select > Inverse” from the application menu to make a selection of everything outside the mask. Click on the original image layer in the “Layers” palette and select “Image > Adjustments > Brightness/ Contrast” from the application menu. Lower the brightness to darken the area outside the glowing portion of the image. This will make the glow-in-the-dark effect more pronounced.

Step 9

Save your image by selecting “File > Save As.”