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How to add a glow to a Custom shape in Photoshop tutorial

how to add a glow to custom shapes in Photoshop

How to add a glow to a custom shape in Photoshop CC2017 2015 CS6 CS5 etc. How to add a nice glow / glowing effect to behind a shape in Photoshop ?? Probably countless ways and tools that can be used. You can use gradients to add a glow by adding a gradient behind the shape with white. You can use the camera raw filter to add a radial filter glow behind the custom shape in Photoshop. You can use the lighting filter to add a glow to the custom shape. You can add glow styles via the layer styles in Photoshop. This tutorial shows a number of methods of adding glows to the custom shapes in Photoshop

  1. Go to the gradient tool in Photoshop toolbar

  2. Click the gradient dropdown / presets picker

  3. Set a stop in white on the far left

  4. Set a stop in pink or red to the far right

  5. Set gradient style to radial

  6. Create a gradient extended beyond the image

  7. Select custom shape tool

  8. Select shape from presets picker

  9. Apply shape



Using Camera raw filter

camera glow and adding glow to Photoshop custom shape

Camera raw filter can be used to create a quick glow. Go to the background layer and then go to the filter menu and camera raw filter and select the radial filter (along the top bar of options for the filter) and click in the center(or behind where the item is) and drag outward to the edge of the document / preview


Set the feather option to 100 or so for the color and then set the exposure to and then tweak the temperature and tint settings as required.


  1. Apply a red shape layer on pink background

  2. Go to the background layer

  3. Filter menu

  4. Camera raw filter

  5. Go to the radial filter (in camera raw filter)

  6. Set color to the white

  7. Set exposure of the radial filter to the max (or as required)

  8. Feather set to 100%

  9. Feather inside

  10. Draw out a radial filter from the center to the edge

  11. Click OK

  12. Layer menu

  13. Flatten



Use the lighting filter


Go to the background layer and filter menu and render and lighting. Move the center of the lighting effect to behind the shape. If there are more than one or so lights you may wish to set the filter back to the default via the presets in the filter. You can then scale width and the hotspot angle to give more of less of a glow behind the shape


  1. Create shape as a layer

  2. Go to the background layer

  3. Set the background color by an edit / fill or gradient etc

  4. Filter menu in Photoshop

  5. Render

  6. Lighting Effects

  7. Set to a preset via the presets dropdown

  8. Select soft omni

  9. Move the center of the point behind the shape

  10. Change the intensity of the glow etc

  11. Change gloss etc

  12. OK


Of course, all kinds of variant lighting effects can be created depending on the background etc and the type of light etc



Glow style

style and photoshop shapes glow

Select the artwork and then go to the layer menu and layer style and then select the outer glow option. Set the spread to 0. Set the size as large as possible. You can select the contour setting to create different glows but the basic default contour is generally fine for the glow.


You can find many different glow items on the site in our styles set


  1. Edit menu and fill color background (pink etc)

  2. Create a shape using the custom shape tool

  3. Layer menu

  4. Layer style

  5. Outer glow

  6. Set color option to white

  7. Set spread to 0

  8. Set size to large

  9. Change the contour to create all kinds of different glows with the shape

  10. OK



Using gradients to add a glow

gradient glow to Photoshop custom shapes

Select the shape (as a layer) and then go to the background layer and set the gradient first stop to white and set the last stop in the gradient to the color of the background or a dark color then set the type of the gradient to the radial and then set the origin point behind the art and then drag out to the edge of the document. You can also create a similar glow using gradient themed plugins available on the web as well as on this site


  1. Edit menu and fill color background (pink etc)

  2. Create a shape using the custom shape tool

  3. Layer menu in Photoshop

  4. Layer style

  5. Outer glow style

  6. Set color option to gradient

  7. Click on gradient picker

  8. Set a gradient to white (opacity stop 100%) far left and white (opacity stop 0%) at the far right

  9. OK

  10. Set spread to zero

  11. Set size to the max

  12. Change the contour to create all kinds of different glows with the shape

  13. OK



Additional ideas

gradient glow behind and above with shape in PhotoshopYou can apply the above once but you can also apply them more than once. You can use them in different colors or perhaps combine the effect with filters to add even more weird and wonderful distortions and warping to the generated light effect.


Or perhaps distort the underlying layer (unlock it first) to create a glow that is going off at an angle and not added straight behind the selected object.


Or perhaps add the glow and then turn it into a smart object and duplicate that layer and re-position and blend (such as using blending modes and opacity) to combine the generated lights.


Or place the gradient in different positions such as above instead of just behind


Other resources

1. interstellar / space alien custom shapes

2. spiral curved custom shapes

3. rosette and flowery themed custom shapes

4. heart / romance brushes

5. Photoshop styles and layer effects collection

Other tutorials

1. how to use the Photoshop custom shapes with the shape blur filter

2. how to load and install the Photoshop gradients tutorial

3. how to use the gradients with layer effects / overlays

4. how to add multiple vector custom shapes into a smart object in Photoshop

5. how to export custom shapes as vector and raster images tutorial

6. how to use custom shapes with color channels and separate channels in Photoshop tutorial





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Updated: July 2017