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How can I create that glitter tears effect and the sparkles?

  • That's a photo... not some effect added afterwards. Most likely the only real post processing is the little lens flares. Chances are it's actually something like glitter glue molded and dried, then applied to the model's face. -- but if you want to create it digitally -- what have you tried? Where is that failing?
    – Scott
    Jan 27, 2021 at 20:39

2 Answers 2


Quite a complex case, I say - if it must be fully artificial. But you can mix glitter polish to transparent colorless gel. With it you can paint areas and make real drips. Grey underpainting is possible. You can paint onto face or paper. The latter must be clipped off from the background and placed (=scale, skew, rotate, warp) in Photoshop into a face photo.

There are some effects even in case the glitter material is real and placed on the face for photographing:

  • grey halftoning pattern on the face to make it darker and thus making the glitter more apparent
  • painted lens flare effect resembling white stars. A star shaped brush makes them easily
  • glitter in the eyes

Creating the trickling glitter painting fully in software is a hefty task, but not impossible. You must learn how to

  • paint drips and bend them to stand perfectly on the face
  • make the drips transparent; the problem is in principle same when one needs a bottle placed onto a new background, but the glitter makes the through seen background much less critical.
  • make glitter
  • make lens flare stars
  • make shadows
  • darken the face to lift up the glitter

A midway process is possible. The gel on the face can be real, inserted parts are the glitter, flare stars and the skin darkening pattern. I believe it's used here, because the drips look real and the stars & glitter seem to be quite same in the eyes, altough not as dense.

The total effect only -process is beyond the scope of this answer, but I add something about glitter:

Glitter is actually noise. It can be colored or white. White is easy because there's no color plausibility problems. It presents local overexposure in cameras due the mirror-like light reflecting particles in the target. The stars become from complex reflections in lenses when they are strong enough to cause overexposure.

Here we have a 75% bright grey background and about 50% bright grey random shape in the other layer. That shape will become glitter:

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Noise is inserted with Filters > Noise > Add Noise

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We need white, so the noise is tresholded. The shape is tresholded with three different selections.

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In the left the treshold is quite high, well over 50%, so the black is the major result. In the middle the treshold is lower. In the right the dialog is still visible, but before tresholding Filter > Pixelate > Crystallize is applied to make the grains bigger

All black is selected with the Magic Wand and deleted:

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It's too sharp to be glitter. There's no "glow". A good way to insert controlled blur which doesn't destroy the definition totally is to use layer style Outer Glow. Different parts need different amount of it. The coarse grains are cutted and pasted to new layer to make possible different setting for it. Leftmost and middle versions have same effect:

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NOTE: All grains could as well be painted with a scattering brush.

The stars need a brush. I drew a shape in Illustrator for it and pasted it to Photoshop:

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It has the blue stroke only to show it during the drawing work.

In Photoshop it's defined to be a brush and white stars are added here and there in different sizes:

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That was the glitter + flare stars only. The effect is more apparent if there's some environment where the glitter occurs. Here's a coarse attempt to make an artificial glitter gel drop:

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The layers are moved apart to show them, TOP=LEFT. The blending modes are normal and the opacities are 100% in this presentation, used blending modes and opacities are written under the shapes:

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NOTE: the thickness of the drop is an illusion, It's created with internal light and external shadow. One cannot apply normal shading because it would destroy the glitter.


Lense flare or paint brush or or or or....lots of ways.

Paint the dripping glitter on another layer. Add an effect or three to it..smooth bevel, shading, texture....play with colors and curves...

Add a layer of white paint brush over it(default brushes include a simple star/shine brush) or you could use some lense flares

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