In this effects tutorial we’ll have a look at how to create some fancy glowing lines and how to make it so that the end of the line will fade nicely. We’ll also have a look at adding glow to objects that are not created from a path.
This is what we will be creating:
Create a new image with size 600×400 and a black background layer.
First let’s make the background a little bit more interesting to look at, select the Blend tool (aka Gradient tool). Set the shape to radial, select the gradient called Incandescent, and reverse the gradient.
Drag the gradient from the exact middle of the image to the bottom edge. (look at the coordinates in the bottom left corner, the exact middle should be 300, 200) Hold Ctrl to get a straight line.
Our image should look like this now:
Go to Filters->Distorts->Ripple
Keep the default settings and just click OK.
Find Filters->Distorts->Whirl and Pinch
Set Whirl Angle to 360.
That should give us this result:
One more thing and the background is done, go to Filters->Blur->Motion Blur
Set Blur Type to Zoom and Length to 150. If you have an old computer like I do this might take 10-15 seconds.
Our background is done and it should look like this now:
Pick a nice color for the glow, it’s nice if the color matches the background. I chose fd4000.
Select the path tool. Create an S like shape similar to the one in the image below:
Now first create a new layer, and then choose stroke path. Make a line 6px thick.
Our image should look like this now:
Now find Filters->Blur->Gaussian Blur.
Set the blur to 12.
It should look like this now:
Create another layer.
Now we want a white line, so change the color to white and choose stroke path, this time we want a 3px thick line.
After you’ve done that give it a Gaussian blur of 1. (Filters->Blur->Gaussian Blur)
A little tip: Remember that if your path disappears at some point because you press a different tool, it’s not gone forever, just doubleclick on it in the Paths Dialog and it will reappear.
Merge the layer with the white line and the layer with the blurred red line together. (Click on the top layer in the Layer Dialog, then right-click->Merge down)
Add a layer mask to the layer. (right-click on the layer in the Layer Dialog and choose Add Layer Mask).
Make sure you set it to White(Full Opacity).
The layer mask controls the transparency of the layer, but unlike just setting the opacity of the entire layer, the layer mask allows you to set different transparency for different areas in your image.
So let’s put that layer mask to good use. Select the Free Select tool, and draw a selection around the end of the line as in the image below:
First, make sure that it’s the layer mask that is selected and not the layer itself. (just click on the layer mask once in the layer dialog to select it).
Now set your FG and BG colors to black and white, then select the Blend tool (aka Gradient tool).
Choose the gradient called FG to BG (RGB), the shape should be set to linear and the gradient should not be reversed.
Then create a gradient from just before the end of the line and all the way to where the selection ends.
The end of the line should fade nicely like this:
Repeat the procedure for the other end of the line.
We need more than just one line don’t we? Create a new layer and select the path tool. Draw a path similar to this:
Select that red color we used earlier (fd4000), stroke the path with a 6px line. Do a Gaussian blur of 12.
Create a new layer, stroke path with a 3px thick white line. Blur the white line with a Gaussian blur of 1.
Merge those two layers together, and add a layer mask. Make sure the layer mask is set to White(Full Opacity).
Grab the Free Select tool, draw a selection around the end of the line, and create a gradient (make sure your FG and BG colors are black and white first, and that you are working on the layer mask).
Likewise on the other end of the line:
Let’s add a third line, you probably know how to do that by now, so let’s make it challenging and make that third line thicker.
The red line should be 12px thick and have a Gaussian blur of 12, the white line should be 6px thick and have a Gaussian blur of 3.
Here’s what mine looks like:
As you can see we get a problem when the line is so thick, it doesn’t fade as nicely as the smaller lines. To solve this we’re going to use the Iwarp filter to make the end of the line thinner. First click on the layer with the thick line in the layer dialog so that it’s the layer and not the mask we’re working on, then find Filters->Distorts->Iwarp.
Set Deform Mode to Shrink and Deform amount to 0,10. Don’t click OK, we’re going to work with that window on the left.
We’re going to work on the bottom part of the line first.
Think of that part of the line as split into four small pieces like this:
To get a good result, you should click and drag from where piece 4 ends, to the end of the line. This will make our four pieces thinner than the rest of the line. Try to follow the line as best you can while you drag. It’s no disaster if you can’t follow the line exactly though, it’s just that it will move a little bit.
Not a big difference yet, so click and drag from where piece 3 ends, (right where piece 3 and 4 meet), to the end of the line. This will make piece 1, 2 and 3 thinner than piece 4.
Repeat the process for piece 2 and piece 1. Click and drag from where piece 2 ends and all the way to the end of the line. After that click and drag from where piece 1 ends and to the end of the line. Now you can click OK. You should get the following result:
Now do the same thing on the other end of the line.
Now you know a lot about adding glow to lines created by paths, but what about objects that aren’t created by paths? Let’s have a quick look on how that can be done before we finish this tutorial.
Create a new layer, set the color to white, select the Brush tool and grab a large Fuzzy brush and make it even larger. I chose Circle Fuzzy (15) and I set the scale to 10.
Now draw three dots so close to each other that they overlap considerably like this:
Next, change to a smaller brush (Circle Fussy 13, scale 1). Now draw small dots in random places, make sure they don’t overlap, and don’t draw them too far away from the center of the image.
Now do a ripple, Filters->Distorts->Ripple.
Do a Whirl and Pinch, set the Whirl angle to 360. (Filters->Distorts->Whirl and Pinch)
That should give us a strange stretched white dot thing and a bunch of white spark like things.
If any of the sparks look like blobs instead of sparks then just erase them. Sparks like these can also be made with the Path tool the same way we made the big lines, only you need to make them smaller.
Now let’s give them some glow. Duplicate the layer, then lock transparent pixels.
Set your color to that nice red color (fd4000), and color the duplicate layer red. (either by just dragging the color from the toolbox or by using the Bucket Fill Tool). Remember to unlock the transparent pixels afterwards!
Now do a Gaussian blur of 24, so it looks like this:
Now duplicate the layer with that blurred red on it, this will make the glow seem stronger.
Aftewards move the layer with the white dot things to the top.
That’s it, our image is done!
I personally think this image goes well together with glowing text, like the kind you learn to make in the tutorial about glowing text.