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Easy Soft Glow with Photoshop And Photoshop Elements


On a recent trip to Lanhydrock I came across what can only be described as my dream tray. To me, this is how tea is supposed to be served! The lack of room and other visitors meant I just about had time to fire off a quick shot before moving on. So, its up to Photoshop to help me make this photo all I wanted it to be, what I needed was a little dreamy effect, so here’s the technique I turned to;

Firstly I duplicate the background layer by pressing Ctl+J (Cmd+J Mac) and name this new layer Glow. Then I add a Gaussian Blur to this layer


This is quite a hi-res image so I’m going for about 25 to 30 pixels, its pretty blurred.


Now I need to blend it into the original layer, so I change the Blend mode to Soft Light


OK, its getting there but I’ve lost some detail, so a quick Curves adjustment layer should help.


That’s helped but it’s too cold. To warm it up I first add a Hue/Saturation layer above the Glow layer;


But, I only want it to affect the Glow layer, so I press Alt and bring the mouse between the Hue/Saturation layer amd the Glow layer. I know it’s going to ‘clip’ because the cursor changes to two interlinked circles.


Now I can fiddle about with the sliders until i get what I like;


And there we are, a quick glow effect


With a few more adjustments, and a little vignette I get an image that doesn’t look like a rushed, between people snap.

And, the good thing is, this can be done in Elements too. Instead of the Curves layer I used a Levels, but that’s the only difference.


About Eric Renno (435 Articles)
Eric’s background in video editing with Adobe Premier led to his interest, and then obsession, with Photoshop. Starting TipSquirrel.com as a hobby he is proud to have gathered together and be a part of The Photoshop Nuts. Known as only “TipSquirrel” for two years, Eric ‘went public’ when he was a finalist in The Next Adobe Photoshop Evangelist competition. He’s also been a finalist in Deke’s Techniques Photoshop Challenge. While still taking on some freelance work, Eric has recently become a Lecturer at Peterborough’s Media and Journalism Centre where he enjoys sharing his knowledge as well as learning new skills. This realisation that he loves to teach has made Eric look at altering his career path.

4 Comments on Easy Soft Glow with Photoshop And Photoshop Elements

  1. thetis // 23/02/2011 at 8:10 pm //

    i really don’t know how to use elements but i’m trying to do the easy soft glow effect featured on facebook. i’ve gotten as far as blending the layers…how do i blend the layers?

  2. linda // 24/02/2011 at 1:35 am //

    Can somebody please translate this to fit PS Elements, please.

  3. Hi Thetis,

    At the bottom of the tutorial is a picture of the Layers palette from Elements. Where it sats ‘Soft Glow’ in the picture yours may say ‘Normal’. Click this and a list will come down, choose ‘Soft Glow’.

  4. Hey Linda,

    Everything works exactly the same in Elements as it does in Photoshop for this tutorial, except the optional Curves layer. In Elements you’d use the Levels adjustment.

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