Friday, 9 December 2011

Put some glow into your Christmas designs!

Here's a quick and dirty (i.e. 'easy and fast'!) tutorial for making your Christmas designs really glow this year. It can be done in any graphics program, so grab your weapon of choice, and let's go!

It requires a basic knowledge already of your graphics program, such as adding drop shadows, changing their color and blurring them because that's all we're going to be doing (told you it'd be quick and dirty!).

Step 1: Grab any image you like of anything with a Christmas theme: a tree, an angel, a Christmas decoration - anything with a Christmassy feel. The only proviso is that it MUST have a transparent background already such as a picture tube, a Photoshop brush, a png file etc. otherwise you'll be deleting the background out first, but that's another tutorial!

Step 2: We're going to add a drop-shadow to your image, but first we need to change the color to: R:252 G:181 B:56. This will give your shadow (i.e. the glow) a nice golden tone, as you can see below in my image, however the ultimate color can be anything you like, a red, green and so on, but don't hit the OK button on your shadow just yet...

Sep 3: BEFORE you actually add the shadow to your image, we must change the blur to a higher setting (in Paint Shop Pro I've gone with a blur setting of 50) and give it an opacity setting of around 50-75% - or just play around with the controls until you see something you're happy with.

Here's what I started with (note even though this image is shown on a white background, it was used on a transparent background while I working on it):

The end result. As you can see, I've added a black layer beneath the tree and added a Christmas message below. I chose black (yes, I know it's not a very Christmassy color!) because the glow effect looks more dramatic on darker colors. If you'd like a copy of the Christmas tree to use in anyway you wish (i.e. commercial use is fine) click on the little zip icon below, with my compliments. Merry Christmas!


  1. Thanks so much, I will have a try at doing that.

  2. Wow that card looks really cool! I'll have to try that. I am following your blog, please make sure to check out my blog

  3. Wow, a beautiful effect. The trick is finding images with transparent backgrounds.

  4. Thanks Marian! Yes, I understand. I suppose I'm a little spoilt because I make my own (at I have some freebie downloads here: Unfortunately, there's not much there in the way of Xmas stuff (i didn't have time for that this year) but whatever's there you're more than welcome to grab and play with if it's of any use to you. :)