Giving a body an inner glow is a very interesting graphic effect. A green/blue colour can be used for "ghosts", "aliens" and X-Files-esque wallpaper, a red/orange one for a "hot" glow. Here's how you do it with The GIMP.

1. First, cut out the person you want to apply the effect to. (See the previous tutorial.)

Feel free to add a background layer at this point, but DO NOT merge the two layers. (Personally, I like to have a black layer underneath because it makes the glow more obvious to the eye, and this is what my screen shot would look like at this point.)

2. Select the layer you want to work on (ie: not the background layer!) You want just your person to be the active selection, not the whole layer. Do this by right clicking on the layer and clicking once on "Alpha to Selection". Marching ants should immediately start crawling around the person, not the window - showing your selection is active.

3. Now that your person is selected, Go to the Select menu at the top of the window, and click Select-->Shrink. (For this image, I chose 2 pixels. Fiddle and work out what is best for your image.)

4. Now click Select-->Feather. I used 15 pixels.

5. Select-->Invert the image. This means that the person is no longer selected, but the feathered space around them is. This is a very important step!

6. Now choose your "Foreground Colour". This will be the colour of your glow. For this example, I used a shade of blue (HTML 00c4fd). You may prefer a warmer orange or yellow, or a freaky acidic green. Go nuts.

7. Go to the Edit menu, and click Edit-->Fill with FG colour. (Don't use the bucket tool, whatever you do! It gives a completely different result!)

8. Click Edit-->Cut. Then click Select-->None to get rid of your marching ants. You're done.

9. Try different colours and sizes of glow, and different backgrounds.


  1. Almut on July 24, 2007 at 4:20 PM

    ahhh... dribble. Sorry, missed the tut - the guy is just tooo cute! It might be better to stick to pink cubes...:)

  2. CJ on July 24, 2007 at 7:23 PM

    Ah... then you may wish to start watching Stargate...

    ;) xx

  3. Almut on July 25, 2007 at 3:29 AM

    I am afraid... I will get addicted...:)

  4. Anumodh on August 6, 2007 at 12:59 AM

    thanks for this blog .. it realy helped me ... i needed something very similar ! great :)

  5. CJ on August 6, 2007 at 4:02 PM

    You're very welcome.

  6. Anonymous on May 14, 2008 at 2:09 AM

    Not quite a year since you posted this tute and it is still helping folks :0) My Gimp program gave me some issues because it is probably different then the version you used for this tute but I was able to figure things out enough to create a glowing image! Thank You for this step by step with graphics.

  7. Anonymous on January 16, 2009 at 1:23 PM

    Hello! Thankyou this tutorial was a GREAT help! Thanks a lot ;)


  8. Anonymous on January 22, 2009 at 3:47 AM

    Thank you so much,i really wanted this kind of tutorial but i couldnt find any.Thanks again!

  9. Anonymous on April 28, 2009 at 8:27 AM

    Hey thanks!!!

  10. miscreant on July 3, 2009 at 7:26 AM

    Isn't that MacGyver?

  11. Gimp Lover on July 4, 2009 at 7:01 PM

    Yup. :)

  12. dawn b on September 19, 2009 at 11:22 PM

    You know what all I can say about these TUTORIALS is ooooooooooh my GOD AMAZING!

    there just so dang awesome...

  13. Gimp Lover on September 20, 2009 at 6:46 PM

    Aww, thank you. Glad it helped. :)

  14. dawn on September 20, 2009 at 11:03 PM

    Hi there I need help figuring out how to add a background color or I think its called background layer please if anyone can help by explaining it to me e-mail me at

  15. Dylan on November 3, 2009 at 12:57 AM

    thanks for throwing these tutorials together!