Chrissy's Glowing Energy Photoshop Tutorial

In this tutorial I will teach you how to make awesome looking fireballs and glowing magical orbs. You will learn how to make sparkling pixie magic and Will-o'-the-wisps (Ghost Lights)! These make fantastic use for Anime style art with battles or images of Kitsune and their Foxfire! I'll even include how you can put them into an actual existing image! Something not usually seen elsewhere!

Step One:

First off, pick your background color. I'm using black here but any dark or medium color will work well.

Make a note, that light colors will work if you want them too. However, it's a better contrast to use dark or medium colors for the background. (Alternatively, if you wish to merge the energy into an axisting picture or photograph always use black.)
 

Step Two:

Make sure to keep your work on the same layer with the colored background. (I'll show you how to remove the background with an existing image later.)

Pick any size or style of brush you want; alternate brush styles and shapes will produce different effects. I'll demonstrate this with two different brushes. Make sure if the brush has a hardness option to bring it to 0%.

Step Three:

Choose the color you want your enrgy to be and pick it's darkest shade. Example: I want green energy so I'm choosing a dark green.

Poke once with your brush on the background to make the first spot.
 

Step Four:

Choose a shade lighter than the first. Lower the brush size by a few pixels (about 10 to 20 pixels) and poke over the original spot.

This will produce a faint glowing effect. If you're using a speckled brush it will look really unique!
 

Step Five:

Choose a shade lighter than the last one. Lower the brush size once again by a few pixels (keep it within 10 to 20 pixels) and poke the same spot again.

This makes the glow a little more defined.
 

Step Six:

This time choose white for the final spot and lower the brush size one last time.

Poke the same spot again to create the finished glowing energy effect.
 

Alternative Step Seven:

Put your existing image in a layer below the layer with the energy orb.

If you can't see the layers menu, go to Windows > Layers or press F7 on your keyboard to bring it up.

Select the layer with the orb and drag it above your image if it's not already there.

Right click the layer with your energy orb and select Blending Options.

In the menu under Blend if: choose Gray or Black. Hold down the ALT key on your keyboard and select the black arrow under This Layer. Holding the ALT key causes the arrow to split. Drag half the arrow to the right until the background of the orb is gone and the energy ball fits nicely in your image. Move the orb around until it fits where you want it on the layer below.


Model: My Daughter Victoria

Alternative Step Eight:

You can use the smudge tool and drag from the center to the outside of the energy orbs to create something else entirely.
 

Alternative Step Nine:

If you want your glowing to be a bit more defined, you may want to up the Highlights and Midtones in the color balance menu.

Go to, Image > Adjustments > Color Balance, to change the setting. Here you're in control. Work with them until you get a desired look.
 

Play around with it!

Use different colors and different brushes to get lots of neat effects! There's no end to the possibilities!

Luv,
Chrissy!