Making a neon like glow

Making something glow is relatively easy. I tend to use layers a lot so I'll reference doing things to the layer, but you can use selections as well.

  1. First, duplicate the layer with the item you want to glow and rename the layer for reference. I usually keep the same layer name appending the word "glow small".
  2. Move the new layer just below the original one.
    1. Now repeat the following steps for each color that is being changed.
  3. Hide the original layer so we can see what we're doing.
  4. Find the color that you want to use, make it darker and set it as the foreground color. For example, using HTML codes of #F00 for a red neon look, I'd choose #C00 for the glow color.
  5. Select everything in the new "glow" layer that should glow with a particular color. I usually use the fuzzy select (U) and the shift key to get everything.
  6. Grow the selection by 2 pixels or so. (Select -> Grow)
  7. Fill the selected area with the FG color (Edit -> Fill with FG color or Ctrl-+)
  8. Duplicate this layer as well, moving the new layer below, preferably calling it "glow large"
  9. Clear the selection (Select -> None)
  10. Apply a Guassian blur of about 8 pixels to the "glow small" layer. (Filter -> Blur -> Guassian Blur). Note, if you hide the "glow large" layer as well temporarily, you'll see the initial glowing effect.
  11. Apply a Guassian blue of about 18 pixels to the "glow large" layer. (Filter -> Blur -> Guassian Blur).
  12. Show all three layers and you should have a nice effect going on.

Adjust the pixel amounts to tweak the effect to your personal preferences, but those should give a reasonable view.

This effect looks really nice with outlines as well. Basically use the Select -> Border menu option to get an outine on the initial layer. I'll have a detailed tip up for that soon.