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How To Create LIGHTS and NEON Effect in Procreate + Free Brush!

Updated: Jun 8, 2023

Today, we’re going to learn how to create really nice hanging lights and neon signs. And there's even a free brush for you to use, but I'm getting ahead of myself 😉

Full video tutorial available on YouTube:

Part 1: Background

1. First, find a picture to use as a background behind our lights. You can use any picture of your choice I personally will use this wooden background I found on Unsplash.

2. Then, either open a canvas that you already have or create a new one.

3. Go in your wrench icon menu at the top and select insert a file (if you downloaded a picture from Safari) or insert a photo (if the picture is in your camera roll).

4. Resize your picture it as needed using the arrow tool.

5. Create a new layer above the picture.

6. Fill in this layer with a dark color. The color is really totally up to you, it depends on the vibe you want in your piece.

7. Set the blending mode of this layer to linear burn or multiply

8. Lower the opacity until you get the desired effect.

Ta-da, your background is ready!


Part 2: Regular Lights

The first effect we’re going to look at here is hanging lights. You can create this effect with any brush of your choice, but there is a brush from my 3D bundle that just works really well for that so I decided to make it available as a free sample:

Note: If you already have the 3D bundle, it's the Metal Dots brush from the 3D Materials pack.

This brush and the other brushes in the set as well are a bit special in the sense that you need to set two colors to use them.

1. In the color menu here at the top, set the color on the left to white.

2. Set the color on the right to the color you want the light to be.

Note: If you are using a regular brush that only has one color, only set the bright color, no need to first select white.

3. Create a new layer and rename it to Lights.

4. Paint your lights.

5. Duplicate your layer by swiping it towards the left with one finger and then tapping duplicate.

6. With the top layer selected, go in the adjustment panel here at the top and select bloom.

7. Swipe with one finger towards the right all the way so that the bloom is at 100%

8. You can play with the settings until you find something that works well. For regular lights, like fairy lights or glow lights or hanging lights, I recommend leaving Transition at maximum, adjusting the Size based on your own preferences, and maybe increasing the Burn around 45%.

9. Once that is done, exit this menu and go back in the layer panel to change the blending mode of the top light layer to add.

Now the last little thing we have to do is to add some sort of a cord so the lights are not just floating.

10. To add a cord, create a new layer below the lights and rename it to cord

11. Set your color to black.

12. Select the Monoline brush from the Calligraphy pack that comes with Procreate (in French: Ligne Simple)

13. Draw the cord!


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Part 3: Neon

The neon effect is pretty similar to the regular lights, but there are a few little things that you can adjust to make it look even more like neon.

1. Create a new layer and rename it to neon

2. Select the monoline brush from Procreate, making it as big as you want.

3. Pick whichever color you want your neon to be, making sure that it’s really quite bright and saturated.

4. Draw whatever you want. Note: you could also apply this effect to text

5. Duplicate your neon layer

6. With the top layer selected, pick Bloom from the Adjustment panel

7. Increase Bloom to 100% just like we did before.

The difference with neon is that you are also going to increase Burn to 100% percent and you might want to lower the transition a little bit

8. Adjust the Size as needed

9. Set the blending mode of this layer to Add.

10. Select your bottom neon layer

11. In the Adjustment panel, pick Hue, saturation, and brightness. Set the brightness between 80 and 95.

12. Double-tap on the bottom neon layer and create a layer mask.

13. With the mask selected, set your eraser to the Soft Brush from Procreate's Airbrushing set

14. Use the eraser to just add a bit of distinction between the different pieces of your neon

14. You can also add a cord to your neon (see steps 10-13 of the Regular Lights effect)

Full neon effect in procreate video tutorial available on YouTube:


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How did you do the hanging light bulbs on the thumbnail?

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