Glow and Monotone Effect

You may have wondered how I make some of my graphics have this eerie/intense glow effect, especially in those that are duotoned/monotoned in color. This tutorial will give a gist of how it’s done and the basics of having your graphic’s end result look less like the original scan- Flat and lifeless…

Using the above image as example, first duplicate the image:
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The top/second layer is now active (As its layer is highlighted a darker grey on the layer palette) and so set that layer’s Blending Options to OVERLAY:
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NOTE : You can use SOFT LIGHT as an alternative to Overlay in some cases. Try both to see which one you like better.

Click back to the bottom/background layer on the palette and go to IMAGE-ADJUSTMENTS>BRIGHTNESS/CONTRAST:
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Now depending on how it’s adjusted, the effects will be different. (Obviously) I prefer having the Brightness adjusted POSITIVE and LOWER than the Contrast. Let’s first set it to Brightness +11 and Contrast -25 to see what I mean.

Now have that same bottom layer FILTER>BLUR>GUASSIAN BLUR to 4.0:
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Back to what I was talking about the results being different. With a higher positive Brightness and lower negative Contrast, we see the lighter portions obviously go brighter, but due to its lower number negative Contrast, it’s a bit too bright. (example- look at the blonde hair) With a positive Brightness and positive Contrast, we get super brights and super darks at the same time. To level this out, I like the middle version the best- balanced in its bright spots and nicely fading to dark- Positive Brightness and Higher Number Negative Contrast:
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This result of this basic effect makes the original image seem cleaner, smoother, and not as paper flat. This next part is to get the monotone colored feel.

Create a new layer and fill it the solid color of your choice. Remember it will create a new layer above your active layer, so be sure to click on the top layer of the palette first before creating a new layer, or simply drag the new layer up in the Layer pallet:
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Now set its Blending Option to HUE:
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YOU’RE DONE!

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