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Like depth of field, glow is one of those effects that's I think is better to put on in post. Here's why. Glow is an increase in brightness and a blur, and if it's baked into an image, it's very difficult to get rid of or composite around because of the softness on the edge. Putting it on in post then is as easy as adding an effect and adjusting where that glow should sit. And again, like depth of field, this allows us to very interactively tune that final look. I'll use my same Adjustment layer that I had added on to put on the depth of field.
Under Effect, I'll choose Stylize, and Glow. The default glow is rather harsh. We need to adjust where it sits and what colors it's using to really make it lay down a little bit in the image. Remember that professional photographers will really try to minimize glow very heavily. And so just a little bit is acceptable, but an excessive glow like this makes the image look, well, frankly, terrible. The first thing I'll do is pull up the glow threshold. This is the point and luminance at which the glow starts, what brightness the glow begins with.
Because I've got a great deal of white in here, the hot stairs and the white wall in the background, I'm going to pull this up to nearly white. Now I've got a glow just kissing the stares and it's still a little bright on the back wall. And so what I'll do is back off the glow intensity, pulling it down to maybe 0.3. Now there's just the tiniest bit of hot glow on the white wall on the glass in the upper right in the image. And lastly, I'll back off the glow radius to maybe seven or so. Every different image is going to require different settings and glow.
So don't be afraid to play with them to really get it to look right. We also have a choice here in the glow as to what operation we're using. We can choose in here any of our standard blending modes. It defaults to add, and add as the name suggests adds together the luminescence of the images. So it blows out to white really quickly. You may want to try it at screen. And so it's going to mute back that glow. Believe it or not, the little subtle glow here is much more acceptable. What we want is just the idea that, that sun is really warm and bright on that back white all.
And there's just the littlest bit of bloom around the glass. And the other part is that we want to make sure those stairs treads have that bright, white, concrete, luminescence look without being, well, excessively on fire. Remember, as with all of your effects, play with them don't just stick with the defaults. Push them around to get the artistic look you're after, and really fine tune it. And then pull it back a little bit. It's too easy and too tempting to run these full strength, and take what was a good image and really make it kind of garish.
Depending on how the glow sits and what the colors are in the image, you may want to change around color as well. We can see in here that the glow colors default to the original. That is if, for example, there's some orange on the stairs from that bounce off the warm tile wall, that glow will go in yellow and orange. We can change over, instead of original colors, to A&B, or an arbitrary map. I'll choose A&B, and it gets rid of some of that hot pink that's blooming on those stairs. Once you've chosen some different colors, you can start to play with the intensity again.
I'll try 0.6, and now we get just the littlest bit of warmth on those stairs, and a little fuzziness, as if they're nice and bright and white, and soft in the sun, without that excessive red and yellow on it. If there's a color that works better in here, you can always use the eyedropper for a and b colors to find one. For example, I'll pick the B eyedropper and go grab one of the deep browns from my wall. This puts in just a little bit of warmth for my glow. We can see it right here on the stairs, and it's just a nice soft, subtle effect.
Again, experiment with it. You can play with all kinds of different properties to really fine tune it. So, don't think for a minute that those are set in stone. Make it really come across with the look you want. In this case that the sunlit lobby has the light flooding in and showing off all the crisp modern architecture, and really making that tile sparkle and shine.
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