Create an awesome glow effect with the Nik Collection


You definitely came across the awesome looking landscape shots with this shiny little glow effect if you watched the 500px.com popular page recently, almost every photographer uses it. In this tutorial I’ll show you how to achieve this using the Nik Collection Plug-In in Photoshop.

Take a look at the picture below I shot a few days ago. I guess you notice how the bright areas seem to glow, just like the sunlight is shining through a thin layer of haze. It is actually photoshoped, with the help of the beautiful Nik Collection Plug-In. Once you know how to do this, it is really easy to achieve, just follow this steps and vary the settings for your personal needs

Glow effect in action

Glow effect in action

 

Adding the glow effect with the Nik Collection

1. Load your picture in Photoshop (for the sake of this tutorial, I’m doing this with a already resized, non-edited picture – you should always post process your shots before scaling them down though)

2. Go to Filter > Nik Collection > Color Efex Pro 4. I guess you already know the big list of filters the plug-in offers you, most of them are kind of useless though

Step 1: Filter > Nik Collection > Color Efex Pro 4

Step 1: Filter > Nik Collection > Color Efex Pro 4

 

3. Now from this list select “Classical Soft Focus”. If you click it, you’ll see how your photo will be looking after you apply the effect. It’s pretty clear how the glow will effect your picture here.

Step 2: Select Classical Soft Focus

Step 2: Select Classical Soft Focus

 

4. From the menu on the right side of this window, you can select one of six presets (next to “methods”). I usually take one of the upper three, as the last three presets are adding a lot of contrast to the picture, which I do manually most of the times.

Step 3: Change Settings for your needs

Step 3: Change Settings for your needs

 

5. When you applied the effect, the plug-in will automatically generate a new layer with the effect active – don’t merge these two layers!

6. Now you have to apply a layer mask to the layer with the glow effect. Therefore select the layer and hit the “add layer mask” button.

Step 4: Add a Layer Mask

Step 4: Add a Layer Mask

 

7. What we are doing now, is erasing all the unnecessary glow around the bright areas. Therefore select the layer mask beside your glow layer, then select the brush tool with a big, smooth brush. Set the foreground color to black and start erasing carefully!

Step 5: Erasing unnecessary glow

Step 5: Erasing unnecessary glow

 

If you want to add more glow, just repeat steps 2 to 7. I usually do this up to three times until I have the glow I wanted to add!

Hope this tutorial was helpful to some of you, if you want to know anything specific, just right it in the comment section below, I’ll take care of it!

 

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Author Description

Christian Möhrle

Photographing landscapes since 2009, trying to help out the lovely photography community with tutorials, workshops and more

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