How to Add a Neon Light Effect to Your Photos in Photoshop

Hello everyone this is Chris from Spoon Graphics back with another video tutorial for Adobe Photoshop I've seen some cool images floating around on Pinterest lately, that combine everyday photos with neon lights to create contemporary art pieces that combine two contrasting themes

They will often feature illuminated words, or random shapes that stand out from the background with a vibrant glow In today's tutorial we're going to create a similar colourful neon sign effect that enhances a typical photo with an integral message, all tied together with a colourful glow that seems to illuminate the surrounding scene To begin we first need a background photo to use as the foundation of the piece Images of jungle foliage are pretty common, so I'm using this free photo from Unsplashcom

You can use neon shapes to draw attention to certain areas of a photo or art piece, or use a word or quote to give the image a core message To make the text look somewhat like a neon sign, it must be set using a mono-weight font Script fonts in particular look great I'm using Neonoir from the Adobe Fonts library Alter the size and layout of the text so it fits into the scene

Press CMD (or CTRL on Windows) + T to Transform, then right click and choose Skew Drag the handle on the right upwards by 10 degrees to give the text a rise effect Scale and position the text paying attention to the surrounding elements that could be made to overlap the text to give a sense of depth Let's add a bunch of Layer Styles to produce the neon glow effect Double click the text layer to open the layer style options

Begin with a Color Overlay and choose the colour of your neon tube Since this neon is being placed against jungle leaves, a vibrant green is a good choice Add an Inner Glow layer style next Change the colour to white, then check the Center option so the glow emits from the middle rather than the edge Bring up the opacity to see the effect more clearly, then change the blending mode to Linear Dodge

Zoom in and alter the Size figure so the green colouring can still be seen at the edges of the neon tubes In the Contour option, choose the Half Round profile to make the colour change more abrupt Add an Outer Glow next Set up the colour with a similar green to the original tube Change the blending mode to Linear Dodge, then bring up the opacity while the options are being set

Increase the size to take away the hard edge of the tubes Around 10px will do Bring down the opacity to around 60% to fine tune the appearance Add a Drop Shadow and change the blending mode to Overlay Set the Angle to 90 degrees so the shadow is placed directly underneath

Increase the Size to around 30px, then the Distance to around 10px so the shadow just creeps from underneath the text We've already used the Outer Glow option and it's not an effect you can duplicate Instead, we can add an extra Drop Shadow and convert it into a glow style effect Change the colour to a green to match the tubes, then set the blending mode to Linear Dodge Reduce the Distance to zero, then bring up the size to around 50px to layer up a slightly larger glow

Reduce the opacity to around 75% Add another Drop Shadow, this time bring up the size to around 135px and set the opacity to 50% Layering up glows like this helps retain the vibrancy nearer the tubes, while still having a large ambient glow around them OK these layer style settings to see the neon light effect Add a Layer Mask to the text layer and set up the brush tool with a round tip, and fairly high hardness

Make sure the Flow setting is at 100% Begin painting with black over the areas you want to erase to give the impression that they're hidden behind a leaf Pan around the canvas by holding the Spacebar while clicking and dragging Erasing these portions of the text helps make it appear part of the scene, rather that being overlaid on top of the image If you ever need to restore the neon text, switch the foreground colour to white and paint back in the mask

Carefully select the areas you want to conceal, you don't want to go too overboard and not be able to read what the text actually says Now let's continue adding some effects to the background to tie the neon glow with the scene In the Adjustment Layer menu, add a Photo Filter Choose Cooling Filter 82 from the preset list, then bring up the Density to 60% Currently this adjustment layer is affecting the background and the neon text, so click and drag the layer between the two layers in the layer stack

Add a new layer, which will be placed above the Photo Filter but below the text Use the ALT+Backspace shortcut to fill it with black Change the blending mode to Soft Light, then bring down the opacity to 20% Add a subtle vignette using a Gradient Adjustment Layer Using the default black-to-transparent gradient profile, change the Style to Radial, then click Reverse so it flows the right way

Increase the Scale to around 250 so it gradually flows in from the canvas edges Add a Gradient Map next We need to alter the colours using the eyedropper, but it won't work if the layer mask is selected Make sure to first activate the actual Gradient Map icon in the layer, then you can click the white swatch and eyedrop a green from the artwork Drag this gradient swatch towards the middle to add a bright green ambience to the photo

Change this layer's blending mode to Color Dodge, which will boost the colours in the highlights It can blow out the brightest parts, so reduce the Fill setting in the Layers panel to around 70% to tone it down Add one more layer, then change the foreground colour by eyedropping a green hue from the scene Grab the brush tool again and set up the tip with zero hardness Bring down the flow amount so you can build up the colour with multiple clicks

Dab spots of green around the neon text to add more ambient glow to the surrounding areas Change this layer to Overlay with 50% opacity so it acts as a subtle colour cast The final result is a colourful neon sign effect that combines two visual themes you wouldn't expect to see together Using Photoshop Layer Styles we created a vibrant neon glow effect, which was then tied in with the surrounding scene by simulating ambient glows and highlights If you enjoyed this tutorial or learnt any new tricks, a thumbs up on the video to help recommend it to others would be greatly appreciated

Subscribe to the channel to stick around for more content, and be sure to head over to my Spoon Graphics website to bag yourself my free design resources bundle As always thank you very much for watching, and I'll see you in the next one

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