Learn how to create a glow effect in Procreate. You can either create a glow brush using the step-by-step tutorial in this article or turn an existing drawing into a glowing drawing, including text.
Keep reading to find out 3 ways to make anything glow in Procreate!
1. Select the layer you want to add glow to
Make sure the object you want to add a glow to is finished. Once you added the glow, you can’t make any changes afterwards or it will mess up the glow.
Select the layer you want to add glow to. Do this by selecting the layer, or by selecting a part of a layer. Click here if you’d like to know everything about layers.
To be completely safe, you can duplicate the part of your drawing before you add glow to it. This way, you always have a backup if something went wrong. Or, better yet, duplicate the entire canvas.
To duplicate the entire canvas, you:
- Go to your gallery
- Swipe left on your canvas you want to duplicate to bring up more options
- Tap duplicate
- Work on your duplicate canvas
If you want to add glow to text, you must first rasterize it. You do this by tapping the layer to bring up extra options and selecting rasterize.
2. Add glow by using the bloom adjustment in Procreate
If you want to create a glow effect in Procreate, you have to use bloom. The bloom adjustment effect creates a softened blur around your object, whilst highlighting the centre.
This effect is great to use with neon lights, the sun, any fire-related sources like a candle or campfire and more.
- Go to adjustments by tapping the magic wand icon
- Choose bloom and then layer
Choose ”Pencil” instead of ”Layer” if you want to manually paint where the bloom will appear.
pick 100% bloom to get predictable results.
To actually make the glow effect appear, you must slide your finger to the right of the canvas. You can see how much percentage of the bloom is applied at the top of your screen.
To accurately edit the settings, go for 100% bloom.
After picking the bloom effect you see 3 options:
Transition setting bloom adjustment in Procreate
The transition setting for the bloom adjustment determines which values the bloom is set to. When the setting is set to none (0%) bloom will be applied to every single value. This means that everything has bloom. The more you up the percentage, the more the bloom ignores the darker values.
|Amount of transition||Values that get affected|
|0% transition||Shadows, mid-tones and highlights|
|50% transition||Mid-tones and highlights|
The transition setting comes in handy when:
- You have a complicated design which only requires glow to the brightest part
Size setting bloom adjustment in Procreate
The size setting of the bloom adjustment adjusts the radius and blur of the bloom. The radius is how far the bloom spreads and the blur determines how sharp the glow is.
The size settings comes in handy when:
- You need to control how much light your light source emits
Burn setting bloom adjustment in Procreate
The burn setting in the bloom adjustment adjusts the intensity of the bloom. Some light sources have incredibly strong centres, like the sun. Instead of using Size, you use Burn to increase the intensity of the centre of the glow.
The burn setting comes in handy when:
- You need to create a strong center
- When you want to create an over-exposure effect
3. Apply all the settings to finish
Tap on your canvas and hit apply. Now you can select anything else, like your layers and work further on your project.
How to make glow brush/neon brush
Sometimes it’s easier to use a glow brush. A glow brush is great to use for neon signs!
Here’s how you make a glow brush in Procreate:
1. Create a new folder to hold your brush
To keep our brushes organized we create a new folder to hold our glow brush. To do this you:
- Open your brush library (brush icon)
- Tap the plus to create a new brush folder
- Name your brush folder
2. Hit the plus icon to create a new brush
Next, we hit the plus icon in the upper right corner to bring up the brush studio. This is where we start create our brush.
3. Adjust the Stroke Path Spacing and StreamLine
In the stroke path tab, set the Spacing to 0. This means your line will be smooth, without being interrupted. Next, up the percentage of your StreamLine. This way your strokes are stabilized and not wiggly.
On the drawing pad on the right, you can test your brush by simply painting on it. To erase the drawing pad, simply scrub the pad using three fingers.
4. Change the Shape Source
Let’s now select the shape tab. Hit edit to pick a new shape.
Now tap Import and then Source Library. This will bring up a library full of shapes.
You can either search the library for the shape called pen glow or type in ”Pen Glow” into the search bar. Make sure you’re on the Shape Source tab, and not the Grain Source tab.
After selecting the shape source hit done. If not, Procreate does not remember which shape source you’ve picked and you’ll have to do it over again.
5. Adjust the rendering settings
Go to the Rendering tab. Select Intense Blending and drag the flow to the max amount. Next, set your blend mode to Add and switch on Luminance Blending.
Flow adjusts how much paint comes from your brush. When set to max, the color of the brightest part turns white. If you still want to see color, turn Flow down a bit.
6. Adjust opacity in the Apple Pencil tab
Next, go to the Apple Pencil tab. Turn the Opacity completely down. When turned down, your pen pressure has no influence on the opacity. Your lines will be 100% solid each time you paint a stroke.
You want this if you are creating lights like neon lights.
7. Determine the size of your brush in Properties
Go to the Properties tab and set your maximum and minimum size. The minimum size is the smallest your brush can get when using it on your canvas.
The maximum size is the largest size your brush can get.
8. Name your brush and add further details
Go to the About This Brush tab and name your brush in the top centre of your screen. You can even add your own signature and name if you want to.
This comes in handy when you want to share your brush with someone else.
Hit done when you’re finished. Now your brush is ready to be used!
So some colors work better with glow brushes than others. Therefore it’s best to use colors that are about 50% in value (or brightness), and not lighter.
The lighter you go, the less color distinction there is between the brightest part and the glow part. This results in a fuzzy-looking stroke,
In the image below I’ve demonstrated 2 values of each color: a mid to dark value and a lighter value. Note how the lighter values produce a fuzzier look?
Tips when using bloom in Procreate
Keep the following tips in mind when using bloom in Procreate:
- You can always use a layer mask to mask out certain areas after using bloom
- To be completely safe duplicate your layer (or canvas)
- Add an extra layer of highlights by creating an extra layer and setting it to Add blend mode
- This has a similar effect to bloom’s Burn setting
Free glow brush download
If you don’t feel like creating your own glow brush, you can download the following glow brush for free. This is the exact same glow brush that we’ve created in this article. You can edit it to your exact preferences.
Simply type in 0 for the price if you want to download it for free (or type a different amount if you want to support me and my blog :) )
If you downloaded my glow/neon brush, please leave a rating if you have time! This will help support me and my blog :) Enjoy!
How to create inner glow procreate
Sometimes you want an inner glow, rather than a glow that’s applied to the outside. To do this, we use Alpha Lock.
- Select the layer or object you want to add inner glow to
- Tap the layer again to bring up more options
- Hit Alpha Lock
- Go to Adjustments > bloom > layer
- Drag your finger on the canvas to the right to set the bloom to 100%
- Set transition to max
- Play with Size and Burn to get the desired effect
- Tap the canvas and hit apply
- Select anything (like the layers panel) to get out of bloom
As you can see, Alpha Lock only allows changes to pixels that already have been painted. This way you stay within the shape that you’ve already painted without spilling on the outside.
Adding glow using the Add blend mode
So far we’ve only covered the first two was of creating a glow in Procreate. The third way is to use a blend mode called Add. Using this blend mode we can manually paint a glow. To do this, you:
- Create a layer on top of the layer you want to add a glow to
- Tap the newly created layer to bring up more options and select Clipping mask
- Tap the N on the layer to bring up the blend modes and pick Add
- Choose a color with a light value
- Choose a brush in the brush library with soft edges
- I used Procreate’s native Soft Brush in the Airbrushing tab
Note how in the image below the ring appears to glow? You can press harder and softer to get variations of glow.
The following steps are optional. If you also want to add an outer glow, you:
- Duplicate your layer containing your subject
- Select the bottom duplicate of your subject
- Go to adjustments > gaussian blur > layer
- Drag your finger on the canvas to the right to increase the blur
- To save and get out of the gaussian blur adjustment simply tap anywhere outside the canvas like on the layers icon
3 ways to make something glow in Procreate
So, there are three ways to make something glow in Procreate are:
- Using the Bloom adjustment
- Using a glow brush
- Use the Add blend mode
Which one is your favorite?
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Feel free to download my brush and have fun with it!
See you next tutorial,