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Creating Your Own Glowing Text with Photoshop

written by: J. Edward Casteele•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 7/31/2010

Glowing text draws attention to titles and artwork, helping you to grab the attention of readers and viewers. There are multiple ways that you can create you own glowing text, ranging from simple filters to more advanced glowing text techniques.

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    Glowing Text Effects

    Glowing text can be used to draw attention to titles or artwork. Glowing text can be added to documents, websites and digital art, giving them an added visual punch which can draw the eyes of viewers and readers. While there are a number of pre-made glowing text expressions and online glowing text generators, it's possible to create your own glowing text with relatively little effort.

    There are actually a number of ways in which you can create glowing text, ranging from simple Photoshop filters to more advanced methods. Regardless of the method you use to add a glow to your text, it should take you only a few minutes to add the glow that you want.

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    Basic Glowing Text

    The easiest way to create glowing text is with a filter or layer attribute. The most basic way to create your own glowing text is through the use of a glow filter or layer attribute. In the pictured example, this is done with Photoshop CS4, but most graphics programs and some word processors have a similar function.

    In Photoshop, simply right-click on the text layer you have created and select the "Blending Options..." item from the right-click menu. A new window will open up, giving you a list of attributes that you can add to the layer.

    Click the "Outer Glow" item to select it, making sure that a checkmark appears in the box beside it. Once it is selected, a basic glow will be added to your text; you can tweak this by adjusting the specific settings of the glow attribute. Click the colored box in the "Structure" section to set the color of the glow, and adjust the opacity to make the glow stronger of softer.

    Adjust the spread and size of the glow in the "Elements" section to make the glow larger around the text. You can even adjust the contour of the glow in the "Quality" section to make subtle changes to how the glow looks. Once you've got your text glowing the way you want, click the "OK" button to apply the attributes then finalize the layer by using the "Merge Down" option in the "Layers" menu.

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    Advanced Glowing Text

    A second glow can be added using the Drop Shadow attribute. More advanced glowing text effects can be created by building on this simple principle. Once you've started to create your own glowing text by applying the "Outer Glow" layer attribute, you can add a secondary glow with ease.

    This secondary glow is created by selecting the "Drop Shadow" layer attribute, then making adjustments to the blend mode and other attributes to match those of your glow. You can then change the color to that which you want to use for your secondary glow, causing the "shadow" to appear in the glowing color of your choice.

    Decorators can be added to provide additional glow to the image. Adding a secondary glow isn't the only way that you can enhance your glowing text, however. Create a new layer beneath your text layer and start adding "decorators"... lines, images, or even small dots created with the brush tool in the same color as your text.

    Right-click on your text layer and select "Copy Layer Style" to copy all of the attributes you've set for your text layer, then right-click on the decorators layer and choose the "Paste Layer Style" option to set them for this layer as well. Adjust the opacity of the layer to give it a fade effect, or create multiple decorators on different layers so that you can fade them separately. This will not only add glow to your image, but if used properly may even add depth.

    Image Credits: All screenshots and images by J. Edward Casteele.