Luminar NEO: How to use the Glow Tool

luminar neo Feb 07, 2023
Luminar NEO Glow Tool

The Glow Tool is an excellent option for creating a glow effect on photos. It offers different types of glow, and it works especially well in the bright areas of the image, such as the sky or street lights. Although the use of the Glow Tool may be a little complex, when used in combination with Masking, it can create beautiful results.

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In this article:

  • What is the Glow Tool
  • Introducing the Glow Tool sliders
  • Getting started with the Glow Tool
  • Video tutorial
  • Luminar NEO



What is the Glow Tool

The Glow tool is useful for creating a lighting effect in photos. It’s especially useful for bright areas in your image such as streetlights or the sky.



Introducing the Glow Tool sliders


Standard Settings

Type (Soft Focus)

This drop-down menu allows you to choose from four different glow effects: Soft Focus, Glow, Orton Effect, and Orton Effect Soft.


This slider sets the overall strength of the tool. If the Amount value is 0, the tool is not applied. Move the slider to the right to apply the tool and increase the Amount.

Soft Focus

Adds a diffused, soft look that is much stronger in the bright areas of a photo. This is often a good choice for portraits, or to create a mysterious quality in the brightly lit areas of a scene, such as street lights in a cityscape.


A classic glow, adding softness to brighter areas and, to a lesser degree, darker areas. The level of softness is less aggressive than Soft Focus.

Orton Effect

This look simulates a double exposure film technique, producing a dreamy quality for a photo. Contrast is strong in this look and shadow areas get very dark. I like a tempered version of this look for many of my landscape photos. It is also good for portraits.

Orton Effect Soft

A less contrasty version of Orton Effect. By default it has more of a matte look to it, with shadow areas being more of a slate gray.


Advanced Settings


This slider controls the softness of the Glow effect. A higher value creates a gentler blend between the affected and unaffected areas of the image.


Use this slider to control the brightness of the effect.


Use this slider to set the contrast in the areas of the image to which the Glow tool is applied.


With this slider, you can make the hue of the Glow effect warmer or cooler. 



Getting started with the Glow Tool

To start with the Glow Tool, you have to decide which of the glow effects is suitable for your edit. The options are Soft Focus, Glow, Orton Effect and Orton Effect with Extra Softness. The best way to decide is to increase the Amount slider to 100% and try each of the glow styles. Once you are happy with the focus style, you can then adjust the Amount slider to create a natural edit and move into the Advanced Settings, where you can play around with the Softness, Brightness, Contrast and Warmth of the glow.

Glow Tool: 

  • Open the image in Luminar NEO using the Add Photos button (Cmd/Ctrl + O) in the Catalog module (L).
  • Move to the Edit module (E).
  • Apply basic developments with the use of essential tools.
  • Open the Glow tool in the Creative section of the main toolbar.
  • Start by selecting the glow style and adjusting the amount slider.
  • Move into the Advanced Settings and fine-tune the glow effect with the available sliders.
  • You can also use the Masking tool to apply the effect in specific image areas. 



Glow Tool video tutorial

Watch the full video tutorial covering all sliders in this tool.




Luminar NEO

Luminar Neo is the latest editing software from Skylum. It was announced in September 2021 and has been highly anticipated since.

Luminar Neo is an AI-powered photo editing software. Skylum has said that Neo isn’t replacing their previous release—Luminar AI. But Neo sets out to fix some of the issues users faced with Luminar AI.

We were impressed with the AI tools in Luminar AI. But like many others, we encountered performance issues. Luminar Neo uses the same AI tools, but the new high-speed core engine improves speed and performance.

Luminar Neo isn’t just more of the same. We’re happy to see Skylum has taken Neo in a different direction, adding layer and mask AI tools to the program. This broadens Neo’s appeal, taking it in an Adobe Photoshop direction.

Learn more about Luminar NEO here.

Use one of our discount codes: CPNEO10 will give you a 10% discount - CP10 will give you a $10 discount.


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