Topaz Glow 2 is a clever and relatively affordable ($69.99*)Photoshop-compatible plug-in that’s as much fun to use and play with as a 100 pound box of Legos. At its simplest, Glow 2 lets you create different glow effects and adjustments with subtle enhancements can be made with blending modes.
The latest version has 50 new presets bringing the total up to 120 one-click ways to create impressive lighting effects. Glow 2’s new integrated masking technology lets you apply “luminous detail” to the image exactly where you want with a variety of masking tools including spot, color, luminosity, and brush masking. There are 28 blend modes and an opacity slider that offers even more control over the final effect. Speaking of sliders…Glow 2 has 12 of them.
Tip: One of my favorite tips is to grab each slider—one at a time—and move to each end to see what the extreme effects would look like. Then move it gradually in a direction where you like the effect to find the sweet spot for this particular image and slider. And don’t worry there’s that built-in Opacity slider to globally vary the effect’s intensity.
Tip #2:It seems to me that simpler basic shapes work better than more complex images. But give it a try anyway…you never know.
Tip #3: Apply the effect to a duplicate layer. This gives you two additional controls to manipulate the image after you’ve applied Glow 2:
- You can use the new layer’s Opacity control to apply even more subtle global effects.
- You can use the Eraser tool to selectively erase portions of the image you want to remain sharper and further temper the effect by using the Eraser’s Opacity control to erase a percentage of the effects.
It’s true that both of these changes/adjustments can be done within Glow 2 but by having Glow 2 on a separate layer (and saving as a PSD or layered TIFF file) you can change your mind later.
All of Glow 2’s sliders plus the ability to manipulate the image further by placing it on a separate layer provide what seems like an infinite number of possibilities, making this plug-in one of the most fun ways to play with your photographs that I’ve found in a long time.
*For a limited time: There’s a 30% discount off Glow 2. Use coupon code GLOW2 at checkout and receive Glow 2 for $48.99.