From this tutorial video, there is a brush in Procreate, called "Light Pen", that has an effect that I haven't been able to find or replicate easily in Photoshop. The brush essentially applies the foreground color ONLY to the softer outline, while leaving the inner part of the stroke unaffected by the color.

The person in the tutorial selects orange, and when painting over the skin, the "fully lit" part of the skin remains its original unlit color, (confirmed it's the same color via eyedropper) but the soft outline of the brush stroke is changed to be more orange.

I followed everything else the same, it just seems like this brush is not here. None of the Blending Modes seem to create this exact effect, and I couldn't find another way to do so in Photoshop (2022). Does anyone know how I could recreate this brush in PS?

2 Answers 2


There's no brush that will do this on its own, however it's possible to do something similar with a little bit of setting up first. Beginning with a normally lit image, do the following:

  1. Increase the size of your canvas, say by around 100 pixels all around

  2. Add a new layer above the original artwork, and fill it with black, then reduce the opacity to make the original image look dark

  3. Using the crop tool, crop the image back to its original size, but make sure you disable the Delete Cropped Pixels option.

Note: Steps 1, 2 and 3 above are to avoid the following effect from affecting the edges of the drawing

  1. Add an Inner Glow layer effect to the black filled layer, with settings like this. You can tweak them later if they're not quite right

enter image description hereClick to see larger

  1. Now use the Eraser tool, and select a brush maybe around 50% hardness. Use the Eraser on the black filled layer to reveal the light.

Please ignore the size and position of the brush cursor here, as my screen recording software seems to mess it up a little.

enter image description here

  • Thank you! Will try this out next time i'm working on it
    – Foosic17
    Jan 20 at 4:00

The old trick to paint light is to add a darkening overlay or adjustment layer and remove the darkening at the highlight areas. It's in practice the winning strategy because images generally have a good light and the common RGB system doesn't have room to insert it without blowing the image colors towards the colorless white. Increasing the contrast of an originally dark image is also useless because the result will be banded; there's no way to guess right the missing intermediate shades. Your linked example is not an exception, it uses the "start from a bright image" trick.

An example (a randomly selected news photo)

enter image description here

If the person has something to be envied, it's the perfect light where the photo has been shot. There are large areas which have nearly the maximum RGB brightness, so no more light can be added without stepping out from the RGB color system or spoiling the colors.

In the next image he has the original light only here and there.

enter image description here

The image is darkened by adding a curves layer with a full white layer mask. The light has been got back by painting black to the mask. As you see, the brush had a soft edge. To prevent the light spreading over the edge I made with the quick selection tool a selection. The selection can well be made to the image. It works also for the mask if the mask icon is selected in the layers panel just before painting.

You wanted the orange glow. I see it as an error in the linked video. It spreads there in many cases over the edge of the lit item because it's generated automatically at the edge of the lit area and the glow spreads also on the background which doesn't get any light.

But if you want it, you can add at first an adjustment layer which colorizes all: enter image description here

I would in this case make the layer mask full black and paint to it some white only to carefully selected edge zones of the lit areas. It can be semi-automated by copying the layer mask from the light insertion layer and by applying curves to the mask to leave only the transition zone white in the mask:

enter image description here

This looks wrong for me, because the sharp edge has also got the orange line due the antialiasing. It can be fixed by painting black to the mask. The result:

enter image description here

For more subtle effect reduce the opacity of the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Having that orange elsewhere than on the half-shadow zones on the skin, for example on the dark suit is questionable. If we consider the orange to be some glow through the tissue, it should be removed from the clothes. If it's considered as chromatic aberration in the lens of a not so finely directed stage spotlight, it should stay also on clothes and background items.

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