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How to Create a Neon Glow in the Dark Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial we will learn how to combine a few easy Photoshop tools to create a glow in the dark effect.

What You Will Need

In order to complete this project, you will need the following resources:

  • Access to Adobe Photoshop; if you don't have the software, you can download a trial from the Adobe website.
  • The Historia font.

1. How to Create a New Photoshop File

Step 1

In Photoshop, go to File > New. Name the document Glow-in-the-dark. Set the Width to 1270 px and Height to 1600 px. Set the Resolution to 72 Pixels/Inch. Click OK.

Create a new Photoshop file

Step 2

On the Layers panel, click on Create a New Fill or Adjustment Layer > Solid Color and select black to use as a background color. Click OK.

Add a solid color layer

Step 3

On the toolbar, select the Type Tool (T) and click on the artboard. Type "YOU CAN DO IT!" On the Character panel, set the font to The Historia at 335 pt.

Using the text tool add your text

2. How to Create a Multiple Color Brush Effect

Step 1

Create a new layer. Press Command and click on the Text layer to select the text only. Then click on the new layer we created and click on the Add Layer Mask. This will create a layer mask with the selection as an object and not the text. Hide the Text layer.

Create a layer mask of the text on a new layer

Step 2

We will use the Brush tool to brush over different colors on the text. Make sure you are selecting the regular layer and not the layer mask. Using the Brush tool (B), double click on the foreground color and set it to #f600d4. Right click on the artboard and set the brush Size to 45 px and Hardness to 100%. Brush over parts of the text as shown in the image below.

Add color to the regular layer with the layer mask

Step 3

Let’s do the same with different colors. Don’t worry if it looks messy—we'll be fixing things in the next step. Feel free to adjust the brush size. I suggest even going down to 5 px as I did for the purple and blue colors. I am using the following codes:

  • Cyan: #00f0ff
  • Purple: #6017b4
  • Blue: #2300d7

Please note that we can repeat this step later to finesse some of the white areas.

Feel free to add other colors as well

Step 4

While on the same layer, head over to the toolbar and select the Smudge Tool. Right click on the artboard and select the size to be the width of the stroke of the letters—in my case, that would be 40 px. On the Options bar, set the Strength to 20%, but feel free to play around. Continue by brushing over the colored letters to blend them together. Try to follow the natural way of writing the letter. For instance, see the letter U on the image on the left side. 

Using the smudge tool brush over the areas following the natural direction of the font

Step 5

Repeat Step 4 to finesse the letters. This time, we will brush over the white parts to cover them with color. I added some green with the following color code: #0af59f. There’s no right or wrong for these steps!

Add more color on a new layer with a layer mask

Step 6

Let’s add some shadow to give the artwork a 3D effect. Create a new mask layer by selecting the layer and click on the Add Layer Mask button. Set the foreground to black and select the Brush Tool (B). Set the Brush Size to 40 px, Hardness to 0%, and Opacity to 10%. Brush over the sides of each letter where you want shadow. 

Create a new layer with a mask on the text to add shadow

3. How to Create the Glow Effect

Step 1

Duplicate all the layers where you applied the Brush Tool with the colors and merge them. Move this new merged layer under all the text layers to create the glowing effect. Head over to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the Blur to 200 px. Duplicate the blurred layer and merge it with the original.

Duplicate and merge all the layers where the colors were applied and use the Gaussian blur filter

Step 2

For a grungy look, select the blurred layer and head over to Filter > Noise > Add Noise. Set the Amount to 7.

Add noise to the blurred background

Step 3

I duplicated the shadow layer to create a stronger effect and repeated the step above to add noise. 

If you would like to create a stronger shadow simply duplicate the layer In this case I added a Noise filter for a grungy look

Step 4

Let’s add some final touches. On the Layers panel, click on Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer and add a Brightness/Contrast layer, adjusting to your desired settings.

Add a BrightnessContrast adjustment layer to adjust the look

Step 5

Remember that you can always go back and forth between Steps 4-7 until you find what works best for you. There’s no right or wrong! Below, I added a few more green color strokes.

You can repeat steps 4-7 to add more color There is no right or wrong

4. How to Save the File for Web

Head over to File > Save and save the file as you would normally. 

To save a JPEG file for the web, head over to File > Save for Web or Shift-Option-Command-S. Select the file type you want to save the document in—I am choosing JPEG and setting 100 for Quality. Under Image size, you can change the pixel size of the image if you have any size constraints. 

On the bottom left-hand side, you can have a preview of the size of the file. This is useful when there are size constraints on a website and you need to lower the quality or the size of the image. 

Click on Save… to choose the location in the new window and click on Save again.

Save the file for Web

You Are Done! 

Congratulations on finishing the tutorial! Today, we've learned to:

  • Create a multiple color brush effect to further enhance brush-style fonts.
  • Add a credible shadow effect to text.
  • Create a glowing effect by using simple tools provided in Photoshop.

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