adding a “halo” in photoshop.

So sometimes, especially for those of us involved in student organizations or anything that involves PR, its important to know how to make a flier a little more than just a time and a place. Photoshop gives us the ability to do that. For example, we can take this ordinary picture and give it a sort of aura to it (kind of like what you might see in a video game I suppose), almost like giving it a full-body halo. Honestly, I can’t really think of a good word to call it; oh well. I first added a black and white layer so that the colors of the halo will stick out a bit more.

First take a new layer, then utilize the pen tool, and click point to point (it will automatically make a full line for you). On the 2nd point, hold down the mouse, and make a curve so that it effectively rotates around the body (“effectively,” because clearly, it isn’t; its still going in front of the body, but we can fix this later).

Then select the brush tool, and choose the brush size. Here I’ll choose a size of 9. What you’re doing is determining the future size of the halo with this. Now, go back to the pen tool, right click on the lines, and select “stroke path,” and then make sure its set on brush and click “ok.” Now, we have a full colored brush “path” on the line we created. Press enter again to remove the lines (because they’re ugly).

Next, create another layer, and with the brush key, we can now select sections of color for this “halo.” I’m using a brush size of 68, with a soft edge tool. Choose whatever colors you like. Clearly, I’m not being very precise with this, and it looks a little crappy; but that’s ok.

Now to clean this up, hold down the alt key, and click on the line separating your brush and pen layers. See? Now its cleaned up.

Double click on the pen layer (layer 1 for me); on the left side, click on outer glow. Set the opacity to 100%. Then on the left side again, we can add a stroke by clicking on (appropriately) “stroke.” Set the size as you like; I have selected 1, and have also selected the color for white.

Now for the final step. Zoom in a bit so we can get some more detail, and select the eraser tool. Pick a soft edge eraser, and gradually “clean up” the lines so that you create the halo effect. It will more or less fade away the lines, pixel by pixel as opposed to straight up erasing, and forcing us to take such strains in detail.

Ta-da! Now not only is your original picture a little more interesting, it is also glowing. I also messed around with the saturation and the brightness and such, but that’s up to you. Pretty cool ya?