We all have that one image that we love. It’s almost perfect, but it just seems to be missing something. Maybe what’s missing is that perfect touch from Topaz Labs Glow 2. Adding a subtle effect or a more radical enhancement can create that statement-making photo you’ve been seeking to achieve.

This tutorial is great for beginners and pros. Using Glow 2, I will show you how to add subtle radiance or extreme luminance to your photos. Glow 2 is a fun way to create beautiful images that can be artistic and romantic or loud, statement-making photos. Turn your photographs into masterpieces with the use of various presets that are already provided for you. By simply adjusting the blending mode or opacity, you can change a very extreme effect to a subtle enhancement.

In this tutorial, we will discover how to enhance images using presets. We will also explore how adjusting blending modes and opacity can change a photo from radical to subtle. This tutorial will showcase how one effect can be manipulated to achieve the exact enhancement you desire and add that extra flare your photo is missing!

Learn how to get started with Glow 2, how to create an effect using a preset, and how to change opacity and blending modes to achieve a desired effect.

In this tutorial, I’ll be using an image of a flamingo, which you can download here. Glow 2 will help turn this already breathtaking photograph into a work of art with the perfect added pop!

Step 1: Getting Started

Glow 2 can run as a plug-in or as a stand alone application. What this means is you do not need a host editor such as Photoshop to run this program. For this tutorial, open Glow 2 as a stand alone application. When you open the application, Glow 2 will immediately give you a preview of the featured presets with the featured image.

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Step 2: Open your Image

1: Once the application is open and ready you can go to the Topaz Glow 2 Menu (top of your screen), select File, select Open Image…, and then select your desired image. After you have selected your image, click Open.

Use JPG, TIFF, or PNG images as these are the files Topaz supports in stand alone mode.

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2: If you are following this tutorial using the flamingo photo, it will appear like this in Glow 2. If you chose your own photo, it should be open in the application with numerous preset previews on the right side. If you do not see a similar view on your screen, try closing the program and repeat step 1 and step 2.

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Step 3: Creating a Subtle Photo

To easily locate an effect, you can filter collections visible by clicking on the drop down menu (red circle). It will make finding filters a lot quicker!

version 2

For this tutorial, we will be using an effect from the Liquid Designs Collection. (There are more that one hundred presets that were created for Glow 2, so feel free to explore and play around with other presets).

1: Select the Liquid Designs Collection from the Effects Menu.

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2: To achieve a subtle effect on the image of the flamingo, I used Squiggly Lines I (blue square) from the Liquid Designs Collection. (If you’re following along with the flamingo photo, this is what it should look like so far).

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3: After you have applied the desired effect, we are going to change the Blending Mode (red square). To achieve the subtle effect, I chose Color Burn as my blending mode. Feel free to play around with the other blending modes to find the perfect look! You can create some really cool effects by only changing the blending mode.

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4: After you have successfully changed the blending mode, change the Opacity (or the strength) of the effect on the photo (red circle). I didn’t want the effect to be too overpowering, so I have the opacity set to 0.35 for a nice subtle enhancement. I love how this effect really brought out the color of the flamingo, but doesn’t create an unrealistic effect.

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You can change the opacity by moving the slider (red circle) left or right or by inputing an exact numerical value between 0 and 1 into the box (blue circle).

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Step 4: Saving your Subtle Photo

When you’re satisfied with the effect on your photo, save it! Click File>Save As…(ctrl/cmd + shift+ s) and choose a name to save your image and then select the appropriate file format.

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Step 5: Creating an Extreme Photo

To achieve an extreme effect on the image of the flamingo, I used the same effect Squiggly Lines I from the Liquid Designs Collection. I’m going to list the steps again just in case you need reminding!

1: Select the Liquid Designs Collection from the Effects Menu.

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2: Select Squiggly Lines I (blue square) from the presets.

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3: After you have applied the effect, you are again going to change the Blending Mode (red square). To achieve the extreme effect, I chose Dissolve as my blending mode.

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4: After you have successfully changed the blending mode, change the Opacity (or the strength) of the effect on the photo. I have the opacity set to 1.00 for a more radical effect on the flamingo. I love how this effect really highlights the texture of the flamingo and adds a splash of color, but doesn’t completely overwhelm the photo.

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Step 6: Saving your Extreme Photo

When you’re satisfied with the effect on your photo, save it! Click File>Save As…(ctrl/cmd + shift+ s) and choose the appropriate file format.

Don’t forget to save under a different file name!

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You can choose how drastic or subtle this effect can be! Glow 2 is extremely versatile. If you can dream it…you can make it! Feel free to play around. Make your photos a completely new image. Try using multiple effects and see the result you get. If you followed this tutorial we want to see your photos! Share them with us on Facebook and Twitter or by emailing the image to gallery@topazlabs.com.

Flamingo

Here is the link for the flamingo again.

Chameleon

To download the Chameleon, click here.

Here are the presets for the Chameleon:

Subtle:

  • Preset: Liquify II
  • Blend Mode: Color
  • Opacity: 0.9

Extreme:

  • Preset: Liquify II
  • Blend Mode: Normal
  • Opacity: 1.00

Coloful windows

To download the colorful windows, click here.

Here are the presets for the colorful windows:

Subtle:

  • Preset: Squiggly Lines I
  • Blend Mode: Soft Light
  • Opacity: 0.9

Extreme:

  • Preset: Squiggly Lines I
  • Blend Mode: Normal
  • Opacity: 1.00

Orchid

To download the girl in the orchard, click here.

Here are the presets for the girl in the orchard:

Subtle:

  • Preset: Fur and Feathers II
  • Blend Mode: Overlay
  • Opacity: 0.75

Extreme:

  • Preset: Squiggly Lines I
  • Blend Mode: Multiply
  • Opacity: 1.00
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