How to Make a Stylish Glowing Box in Photoshop

How to Make a Stylish Glowing Box in Photoshop

In this Adobe Photoshop graphic design tutorial, we are going to create a magical glow effect coming from a box in Photoshop. This is a pretty simple effect that looks great and can easily be adapted for use in other ways.

Final Result

Here is what we’re going to try and achieve. See the large full-scale version by clicking on the image.

Final Result

Download and set up the stock photo

1 Lets go ahead and get our stock photo. You can download it here. Open it up in Photoshop.

No we want to straighten out the box so click and hold down the Eyedropper Tool in the Tools panel, and  then click on the Measure Tool (also known as the Ruler Tool).

Download and set up the stock photo

2 Now click and drag a line so it follows the bottom edge of the box. Go to Image > Rotate Canvas > Arbitrary. Don’t change the number, click OK. This will straighten out your box.

Download and set up the stock photo

Now go in and crop the document so there are no white edges showing.

Cleaning up the stock image

3 Since the light source is going to be from the inside, our shadow is going to be different that how it currently is. So, we are going to get rid of the shadow on the cover.

Use the Marquee Tool and select a part of the bright area, then bring that selection into a new layer (Ctrl + J). Bring it over to the left edge and fit it in the corner. (If you use Ctrl + T to transform the layer, then control and move the corners of the box it will skew them to get a better fit.)

Cleaning up the shadow

4 Add a layer mask by clicking on the Add a layer mask button at the bottom of the Layers panel, and use a soft black brush to mask out the right side of the highlighted area we just duplicated (the middle area of the box).

Layer mask

Play around with it until you get a smooth transition between the two layers and so there aren’t any duplicated areas.

5 Now link the two layers.

Merge layers.

Merge them together, Layer > Merge Layers (Ctrl + E).

6 Now we are going to take another selection, this time grab a selection of the entire width of the brighter area we just made. Bring the new selection into a new layer (Ctrl + J). Then blend the new layer like in step 4.

Duplicate layer.

Use the Clone Stamp Tool (S) by first Alt + clicking on an area you want to clone from, then painting the area that needs to be cloned.

Cutting out the box from our stock image

7 Now we are ready to cut out the box.

Go in and use the Pen Tool to cut out the box and bring it into a new document. Use 1680 x 1050 px for its dimensions. Size it down to around 30%.

Pen Tool.

Creating the background

8 Let’s work on the background. Pick a dark blue color and fill the background (Ctrl + Del).


9 Grab a lighter version of that color, create a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + N) and create a radial gradient.

Lighter version.

10 Transform the gradient (Ctrl + T), bring it under the box then stretch and squeeze it so it fits like so.

Glowing Box.

Darken the box

11 We are now going to darken the box. Open up the hue/saturation window, Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation (Ctrl + U). Change your setting like I have them below.

Darken the box.

Open up the Curves window, Image > Adjustments > Curves (Ctrl + M) and change your settings to something like what I have.

Putting in the glow

12 Let’s put the glow in the box now. Using the Elliptical Marquee Tools draw a circle so the side edges of the box touch the inside sides of the box.


13 Select the circle layer by using (Ctrl + Right-click) circle layer and create a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + N). Fill the area with a light blue. Make sure the white circle is the top layer. Click on the white circle layer and transform the circle using Edit > Free Transform (Ctrl + T). Hold down Shift + Alt shrink the circle.

Select the circle.

14 Now to give it a glowing look we are going to blur the edges of both the circles. First click on the blue circle layer and then go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian blur. Do the same thing with the white circle.


15 Link the two circles together (click the empty box to the left of the layer, then merge the layers, Layer > Merge Down (Ctrl + E) to merge the two layers.

Now use the Polygonal Lasso Tool to make a box around the bottom part of the circle that isn’t inside the box and delete it.

Link the two circles.

Creating the outer glow

16 Now we are going to add an outer glow to the circle. Click on the "Add a layer Style" button at the bottom of the Photoshop Layers Panel and select Outer Glow. Adjust the settings like I have them. The color is going to be R: 190 G: 239 B: 255.

Outer glow.

17 We are now going to make another radial gradient using white as our color. Put the layer behind the glowing circle and stretch it out so it covers the whole width of the box.

Radial gradient.

Change the Blending Mode to Overlay. Now duplicate that layer by right-clicking on the layer and selecting Duplicate Layer… in the dialog box (Ctrl + J) to make it brighter.

Adding in the details (floating particles)

18 Create a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + N).

We are going to create some particles floating off the glow. Click on the Brush Tool (B) and get a brush with 0% hardness, around 20 px. Pull up the brush settings (F5).

Particles 1.

19 Create a new layer and start painting on a few particles until you get something you like the following. You can adjust the size of the brush and experiment with its settings to get the desired effect.

New layer.

20 Now go into your layer styles and change your outer and inner glows to what I have below. Drag that layer just below the circle layer.

Inner glows.

Giving the box a drop shadow

21 We are going to give the box a little bit of a shadow. Click on the box layer and duplicate the layer (Ctrl + J). Use Ctrl + Right-click on the new layer to select it, and fill it with black #000000.

Drag it below the box layer.

Go to Filter > Blur> Gaussian Blur and change the setting to 12.4. Click OK. Now bump the shadow down a little bit.


22 Click on the Elliptical Marquee Tool, change the feather to 100 px and draw a circle around the box.

Make sure that your foreground is black (#000000) and the background is white (#FFFFFF), then go into Filter > Render > Clouds. Change the Blending Mode of the layer to Soft Light and the opacity to 70%.


There you have it, a magical glowing box. I’m going to put my logo in and we are finished!


If you do the tutorial, be sure to link to your version in the comments, we’d love to see your rendition!

About the Author

Tyler Denis is a part-time freelance designer from Ashland, New Hampshire. He is also the creator/writer of the design blog Denis Designs/blog, a website dedicated to bringing quality tutorials and inspiration. You can follow him on Twitter or at his personal site, Denis Designs.

This was published on Apr 28, 2009


Sam G. Daniel Apr 28 2009

Thanks for the tutorial. Easy to follow. Will try this later today.

Awesome tutorial, well explained and great concept!

Matthew Heidenreich Apr 28 2009

cool result, thanks for the share!

Kostya Apr 28 2009

I like it, thanx!! ;)

iskandar Apr 28 2009

Wow! This is totally coooooool! I just can see WOW! Great job man. love it very much.

wondering what will it look like if we have reflection instead of shadow ;-)

cool, thanks for this tutorial.

cah cepu Apr 28 2009

is like magician box…
thankz for the tutorial…

Jacob Gube Apr 29 2009

Thanks for all the wonderful compliments everyone! Tyler did a great job writing this tutorial and the effect is stunning. The techniques involved can easily be adapted into other things.

Chris Apr 29 2009

This is nearly a rip of the following tutorial, albeit with the image changed.

T-Law Apr 29 2009

Fantastic result, thanks for tutorial.

Mitesh Apr 29 2009

Thank for taking the time to make this tutorial. It was very helpful…


Joe Vains Apr 30 2009

Yeah ! Good job ! :) Thanks !

Tyler Apr 30 2009

Thanks everyone! I really appreciate the comments.

Karen Apr 30 2009

This is awesome,I can’t wait to try it!

Claire Web May 01 2009

You must have so much spare time! I just want to know how you think of so many different tutorials so often? It’s something very different, but can be applied to so many different things.

manga May 01 2009

this one is a amazing. like true effect.
i like this one.i really appericate the author.

MattyFo May 01 2009

Great tutorial, I just gave it a go (as a photoshop novice!) and this is what I came up with

I had trouble with step 17 and step 20 but I feel I learned something.

Also, if anyone wants a psd of my photo, it’s available by following the link.

Jacob Gube May 02 2009

@MattyFo: That was pretty awesome, thanks for sharing! Well done!

MattyFo May 02 2009

@JacobGube Thank you for the compliment, most appreciated.

Also, I really appreciate these tutorials as it makes learning so much more accessible and practical. I hope my feedback helps to improve the work done here!

Franky May 02 2009

Great Tut!

Fuad Ahasan Chowdhury May 05 2009

@Tyler Denis : thanks a lot for this. :) Great tutorials.

Kakasab May 09 2009

ohh great… pretty awesome

fatheadsuk May 13 2009

Really nice result, many thanks for the share

Selvam May 16 2009

nice & easy tutor to follow :)

krike Jun 08 2009

nice tutorial :D Not to many instructions in each step is really nice, easy to follow.

here my version:

Jacob Gube Jun 08 2009

@krike: That’s very stylish! Awesome job and thanks for sharing it here, it should give people some encouragement to try the tutorial out!

krike Jun 08 2009

Thanks :D I might make various versions

I have a small question, can I publish it on my deviant account (and facebook)?

Brian Jul 09 2009

Well the glowing is very unrealistic..

I mean, if a box glowed up like that, you dont think that there would be glow in the front of the box? I think..
It’s good tutorial though..

Lynnette Aug 30 2009

Great instructions. I made the box and it looks fantastic!

Christara Sep 25 2009
thanks for the great tutorial..
here is my effort,.hope ya like it,..
and thanks again for the lesson,..
byeeeeee 4 now..:)

Jacob Gube Sep 26 2009

@Christara: That’s pretty cool! If you have Flickr, please help us fill up the Six Revisions User Group by adding your awesome rendition of Tyler’s tutorial. You can go to the group via this URL:

Matt Reid Nov 13 2009

A brilliantly put-together tutorial. Thank you

Great tutorial!!!!
I used it to do my magic ad!!

hope you like it!

Ciao from Italy

christara Feb 11 2010

hello jacob gube.
am really sorry but i don,t have a flickr but i am more than happy for any of your friends or yourself on there to upload and enjoy the work.
and i would also like to say a big thanks for the tutorial.
learnt a few new tricks from it.
thankyou very much for the invite and maybe one day when i have more time i,ll get that flickr account set up and join you on there.cheers
have a lovely day.
byee for ..:)
Jacob Gube
September 26th, 2009

@Christara: That’s pretty cool! If you have Flickr, please help us fill up the Six Revisions User Group by adding your awesome rendition of Tyler’s tutorial. You can go to the group via this URL:

Sarah Feb 14 2010

This tutorial was fun. Thank you. Here is what I did with it. Again, thank you.

Mahmudur Rahman Mar 18 2010

Awesome tutorial. Very nicely explained. Thanks for sharing this nice post. :)

free71 Jul 21 2010

Great instructions.
I made the box and it looks fantastic!

halley Dec 29 2010

this tutorial is great..i myself tried it also..tnx

JUST what I was looking for. Excellent tutorial.

i lost at step 17. can u explain more. tq, new user here ^_^V

Murugesan.J Jul 01 2011

really super….

Thank you. I am fairly new at this and I was able to follow what you were doing. I am very happy with the result I have and am now trying it in other ways!

ifliandry Oct 30 2011

Good tutorial. I like it a lot.

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