Do you have a night sky photo that just isn’t as amazing as it appeared through your viewfinder? This tutorial can help add an artistic flare to your photos. Topaz Glow 2 allows you to turn your photographs into masterpieces with the use of varying glow effects. Glow 2 allows you to create images that really pop! 

Today, we’ll cover how Glow 2 can be used to enhance starry night photos. This tutorial will show how varying glow effects can exaggerate those beautiful night sky photos. During this tutorial, the starry night effect will be applied selectively throughout the photo. All this means is some of the image will have the effect applied while other parts, such as mountains or water will be the original. Since we will be masking parts of the image, it is important that you use Glow 2 through a hosting application like Photoshop so that we can properly use the masking functions. If you aren’t familiar with using Glow 2 as a plugin, don’t worry. I will explain all of this in depth in latter steps.

Learn how to accomplish the following in this tutorial:

  • Getting started with Glow 2
  • How to create an effect from start to finish in Glow 2
  • Use ReMask to enhance details such as mountains and water

In this tutorial, I’ll be using an image of a starry snow covered mountain, which you can download here. Glow 2 will help turn this already amazing photograph into a work of art with the perfect focal point or extra flare!

Step 1: Getting Started

Glow 2 can run as a stand alone application or as a plug-in. For this tutorial, we will be using Glow 2 as a plug-in. So start by opening your image in Photoshop (or other compatible host editor that supports layers, like Photoshop Elements or PaintShop Pro). For this tutorial, I used Photoshop CC 2015.5.  

Once Photoshop is open and ready, you can go to the Menu, select File, select Open, and then open your desired image. After your image is open, unlock the image by double clicking on the layer and rename it Original.

Step 1 copy

Step 2: Glow

1: After you’ve renamed your image, duplicate the layer (ctrl/cmd + j) and rename the duplicated layer Glow 2.

step 1a

2: While having the Glow 2 layer selected, open Topaz Glow 2 from Photoshop’s Filter menu by clicking:

Filter> Topaz Labs> Glow 2

Step 2

3: Choose what effect you wish to use that will achieve the illuminated night sky effect you seek. (For this particular tutorial, I used the effect Eternity from the Fantasy Collection).

Step 3

4: Further illuminate your photograph by clicking on the sliders. Feel free to play around! This is your photo, so achieve the look you feel like looks best. There is no right or wrong way to do this. If you really like how my mountain turned out, below are the exact values I used (leave everything else in Primary Glow to its original, effect value). The effect is just a starting point!






Glow Type: Dark

Glow Strength: 0.20

Effect Sharpness: 0.35

Electrify: 0.80

Simplify Details: 0.10

Edge Color: 0.20

Detail Strength: 0.03

Detail Size: 0.07

Brightness: -0.07

Contrast: 0.49






5: Now for Finishing Touches, click on the drop down arrow on the right hand side (red circle) to expand. Here are the exact values I used:

Step 5








Effect Coverage: 0.00

Coverage Transition: 0.50

Smudge: 0.00

Sharpness: 0.15

Sharp Radius: 0.00

Vignette: 0.00








6: If you are following this tutorial using the mountain photo I provided, this is what your photo should look like so far!

Step 6a

7: Click OK in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen to input your photo back into Photoshop (or other compatible host editor).

Step 3: ReMask

Here’s the edited photo in Photoshop CC 2015.5

Step 7

1: Duplicate the Glow 2 layer (ctrl/cmd + j) and rename it ReMask.

Step 8

2 : While having the Remask layer selected, open ReMask 5 from Photoshop’s Filter menu by clicking:

Filter> Topaz Labs> ReMask 5

Step 9

3: When you open ReMask 5, this is what your image should look like (all green with tool bar on the left-hand side). If your image does not appear like this in ReMask 5, double check to make sure you have the proper layer selected. If that is not the issue, try quitting the application and redoing step 3.

Step 10

4: Click on the Compute Brush (red circle) and carefully create an outline around the mountains. This brush (blue brush line) creates the path of what where the masking will take place. So this doesn’t have to be perfect (ReMask 5 does all the hard work for you), but make sure that where the cut will occur is in the blue.

Step 11

5 : Use the Flood Fill to CUT tool (yellow circle) to fill the inside of the mountain. Whatever is red will be cut away and whatever is green is going to be left behind (your image should now look like this).

To ensure you are satisfied with your mask, click on the mask/keep icons in the top left-hand side of your screen (blue circle). Don’t worry. Not everyone gets it perfect on the first try. If you’re not happy with the mask, go back with Compute Brush or the Flood Fill to CUT tool to clean it up a little more.

6: After you are satisfied with the mask, click COMPUTE MASK (red circle).

Step 12

7: After you are completely satisfied with the mask, click OK in the bottom right-hand side of the screen.

8: You should now have 3 layers in Photoshop named Original, Glow 2, and ReMask. Toggle off (red circle) to reveal the mountain below.

Your layers must be in this order to achieve the effect we are seeking. This of this like layers of a cake. You wouldn’t put the icing underneath the cake or the cake underneath the plate. If for some reason they get out of order, just drag a and drop them into the correct order.

Step 13b

8: This is what it should look like. If you are satisfied with the outcome of the image so far, skip down to step 4 and save your work. I feel like the mountain is just a little dull for the bright night sky that’s behind it. So now, let’s edit that mountain!

Step 14

Step 3: Adjust

1:  Duplicate Original (ctrl/cmd + j) and rename it Adjust.

Again, the layers must be in this order. Don’t forget that you can drag and drop layers to reorder if needed!

Step 15

2: Open Adjust 5 in Photoshop’s Filter menu by clicking:

Filter> Topaz Labs> Adjust 5

Step 16

3: Now to brighten the mountains. I chose the Relative Contrast effect (red circle) from the Vibrant Collection. I adjusted the effect to the following values in Global Adjustments (red rectangle).

Step 17

Here are the values I used in Adjust 5:

  • Adaptive Exposure: 0.70
  • Regions: 4
  • Contrast: -o.50
  • Brightness: 0.00
  • Protect Highlights: 0.02
  • Protect Shadows: 0.02

All other values remain unchanged. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Try different adjustments such as a dark mountain or a more dramatic effect from the Stylized Collection!

4: When you’re satisfied with your mountain, click Apply and then OK (bottom right-hand side) to apply and import the changes into Photoshop. You will now have a bright, drastic mountain against a beautiful starry night. What does everyone think… pretty cool right?


Step 4: Saving Your Work

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. If you ever want to edit this image in the future, save a copy as a Photoshop (.psd) file.

You can choose how drastic or subtle this effect can be. This is only limited by your imagination. Try using different blending modes and reduced opacities. 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

Before PhotoAfter Photo






before 2

after 2












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