GLOW EFFECT explained in 5 minutes (2023)


Ever wondered how to paint glow effect or object source lightning for your miniatures? Whether you are painting glowing plasma for warhammer miniatures or glowy magic effects for Marvel: Crisis Protocol miniature, I got you covered!

Glow effect or object source lightning is definitely something that many miniature painters struggle with and no wonder - there are so many mistakes that you can make! In this video, I am offering you blueprint tutorial that will explain to you under 5 minutes how to paint this glow effect easily without going too deep on the topic. Building such glow effect can take you from 30 minutes to multiple hours depending on how good you are and how big of the surface are you covering.

Note, that you might select slightly different approach when you are painting glow effect for plasma coils for warhammer as opposed to painting something like fire or magic effects - it all depends on the surface that you are going to cover. Either way, basic principles of painting OSL (object source lightning) that are covered in this video, should work the same.

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If you have clicked on this video, congratulations, you are gonna learn how to paint glow effect like this or this.

And you are gonna learn in just under five minutes.

So let's do this.


So the idea for this video came up when I posted this photo on my instagram.

And as far as you can see quite many people liked it and asked me how to do this now I have done this in just 30 minutes.

And honestly, it was just an experiment.

Anyway, the recipe is quite simple.

And if I had to describe it in just one sentence, you paint the whole light source with white and glaze over it with whatever paint.

You want most likely some blue orange pink or green.

But, but for it to look really good, you have to go a little further than that.

So let's start with painting, the light source with pure white paint.

Now if I'm not painting my sons of the phoenix space, marines I, usually start off with black spray.

So as you can already, guess it will take you multiple white layers to cover the light source properly.

And while each individual layer cannot be super thick, otherwise you will get miniature like this.

It cannot be super thin, transparent layer.

Either I cannot really tell you how much water you should add to your paint since every paint brand will need a different amount.

But it should take you about three layers.

So just aim for that when you get a nicely, covered source of the glow, it is time to think about what is the single brightest spot on this light source in a case of this marvel? Crisis protocol, Hela miniature the whole orb thing or whatever that thing is is the source of light.

And as such the middle part should be the brightest, and you should leave it mostly white.

In a case of the plasma weapon for warhammer.

It should make sense for the light source to be inside of the gun.

And as such, we will treat bottom of the coils as the light source.

Of course, you might treat the top of the plasma coils as the light source.

And you should get results like this.

But I guess it depends if the weapon is prepared to fire or not, but I don't know either way once you know, what is the brightest spot on your light source? You should glaze all of your layers towards it.

There is no definite consensus, whether you should start off with dark glazes or light ones instead.

But honestly you will have to go back and forth between the two anyway.

I am starting off here, really dark with glaze of Khorne red.

Once again, I do not have exact ratio of paint and water.

But if you are not sure apply thinner layer and wait for it to dry and apply another one over that, it is way better to proceed.

Slowly here once I got it I can take Vallejo model, color, vermillion, red or any other quite vibrant red paint and apply another glaze aiming towards the light source since it is something between glaze and wash I let it spill over the recesses here since that is where the light source is, in fact, the recess itself is the light source with pure vermillion, red I have covered still quite broad surface.

But now I will progressively add ivory to the paint and cover less and less surface with really controlled glazes.

Of course, the more ivory.

You add the less surface, you will cover with the center of the light source being the brightest.

If you are not sure whether any part is too dark or too bright, you can simply take a picture and apply black and white filter over that.

If you are still not happy with what you get decide, which part should be brighter or darker and apply thin glaze of corresponding paint over such spot now getting back to Hela, you can see that the same applies here.

The center of the light source is really bright and light.

And the further you go the darker.

It gets okay.

We got the light source itself.


There is more to really sell the glow effect.

You need some additional reflections.

So what we are gonna do here is that all around the light source, we are gonna paint some more dim light.

Now, don't pick the brightest paint that you have since only the light source should be as bright, but you should pick some of the mid-tones for the plasma.

You should mostly use pure vermilion red.

And you might combine it with a little bit of corn red for the darker parts and just a little tiny bit of ivory for the parts that are near the light source.


Am taking this vermilion red with corn, red and just lightly glazing all the area that is supposed to be exposed to the light source, mainly the shoulder pad.

And the area around the plasma coils.

The closer I get to the plasma coils.

The lighter the paint I use is use here even thinner glazes since you want to build up this dim light without having any hard separation.

In the case of Hela from marvel crisis protocol, I use mainly Moot, green combined with dark green and combined with white for those parts that are really exposed to the light source, keep in mind that in every case, the edges should be exposed to the light source the most.

So, you can almost highlight them with the brightest layer that you have dedicated for the dim light.

But once again be reminded that this layer has to be less intense than the light source itself okay.

So I think that this covers it before I go I just want to mention that it is way easier to build up this dim light on darker surfaces or at the very least for me it is and that is because I find it much more easier to build there some nice volume for example on pure white surface I find it really difficult to build up and I don't even mention that you are gonna have a hard time creating contrast between the white and the light source okay so that's the video if I have missed anything or if you have any sort of, feedback, go ahead and leave it down in the comment section of course if you want to see more content like this, go ahead and subscribe to this channel and if you want to help others get better at painting.

Miniatures, go ahead and give this video.

A thumbs up, because that way youtube will know that it should take this video and recommend it to them and see you guys in the next video bye.


What does the glow effect do? ›

Glow effects can be defined as an effect that graphic editors use for applying glowing texture in any object, text, or image with the help of some important tools and techniques of this software and also for enhancing the light effect on that object.

What is the glow effect on miniatures? ›

OSL (object source lighting) is the process of painting a light effect on your miniature to create a glow effect. The source of that light could be an object your miniature is holding, like a lamp, torch, or even magical flames.

How do glow and the dark things work? ›

Photoluminescent products contain phosphors, that when energised by light, glow in the dark. The phenomenon of photoluminescence is created by the absorption of visible, UV or Infra-red radiation and is a non-radioactive process. The pigments absorb and store photons or 'particles' of light from the light source.

What activates glow in the dark? ›

Glow-in-the-dark toys have phosphorescence. That means they contain special substances called phosphors. Phosphors give off visible light after being energized.

What makes objects glow? ›

When you have something like a toy that glows in the dark, it can glow because it contains materials called phosphors. Phosphors can radiate light after they have gotten energy from the sun or another source of bright light. The phosphors soak up the energy from the light, and then they radiate this energy as light.

How are glow in the dark toys made? ›

During the manufacturing process, phosphors are mixed in with plastic resulting in a phosphor-plastic compound that is molded into the shape of the toy (or toy part). When this toy is exposed to light (either natural or artificial), the phosphors contained within the toy absorb the energy from the light.

What makes glow paint glow? ›

luminous paint, paint that glows in the dark because it contains a phosphor, a substance that emits light for a certain length of time after exposure to an energy source, such as ultraviolet radiation. Zinc sulfide and calcium sulfide are such phosphors.

What chemical makes paint glow? ›

Phosphorescent paint is commonly called "glow-in-the-dark" paint. It is made from phosphors such as silver-activated zinc sulfide or doped strontium aluminate, and typically glows a pale green to greenish-blue color.

What are the benefits of a glow up? ›

Why Glow Up?
  • Feel healthier and stronger.
  • Learn more about yourself and your health.
  • Develop good habits (and minimize bad ones)
  • Feel and look happier (a smile always glows!)
  • Be more focused on giving.
  • Grow more confident.
Mar 7, 2022

How long does it take for glow in the dark to work? ›

Glow in the dark materials DO need a charge

3-4 mins of ultra violet (black) light. 7-8 mins of direct sunlight. 21-23 mins of fluorescent light (strip lighting or energy saving bulbs) 24-26 mins of incandescent light (standard filament bulbs)

Why do people glow when they're happy? ›

Feeling happy will stimulate the release of dopamine, and give you a more youthful, glowing appearance—naturally! I also recommend that we: “Smile often; frown infrequently.” Research has found that genuine smiles contribute to healthy, glowing skin by releasing the body's feel-good hormones.

Do glow in the dark stars help you sleep? ›

Simply expose the stars to light for a few minutes and then turn off the lights to see them glow brightly in the dark. With their long-lasting glow, these stars will keep your room lit up throughout the night, providing a soothing and calming environment that is perfect for relaxation or sleep.

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