How To Create A “Glowing Outline Effect” For Free, Quickly. Better Thumbnails!

This post was most recently updated on February 9th, 2021

Hello, Neil Shearing here from InternetSuccess. In this video I’ll show you how to create a cool glowing outline thumbnail effect for YouTube videos. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel for updates about new videos by clicking here.

Thumbnails are very important on YouTube. People often decide whether or not to watch a video based on the thumbnail alone! They ignore the text description next to the image! The content of your video is vitally important. Having good audience retention is an important metric at YouTube. Another important metric is “clickthrough rate” (CTR) from your thumbnail. A great thumbnail will have a high CTR, and a glowing effect makes your thumbnail “pop”!

In this video, what I want to do is show you a couple of thumbnails. There they are. What I want you to see basically is the difference in the picture of me.

Comparison thumbnails, before and after cool glowing thumbnail effect is added.

So I’ve got an image here, which is just a flat image, and I’ve changed it over here for a more dynamic image with a glowing outline thumbnail effect to it. And in this video, I want to show you how you can do that rapidly online for free. You don’t have to download anything, you don’t have to install anything and it won’t cost you anything. In the next couple of minutes we’ll just go rapidly through this and how you can do it for free.

So check it out.

OK, so I want to show you this tool, RemoveBG, I’ll show you another tool in a second, which I think does a better job, but anyway, I’ll show you this one first which is quicker as long as you’re happy with its limitations when it comes to downloading the image you’ve removed the background from.

So you got the choice of two. This one’s RemoveBG.

RemoveBG – A Free Online Background Removal Tool

RemoveBG, a quick, free online background removal tool.

What we need to do is upload an image and remove the background because whenever you take an image, if you want to cut out the background, you can either do that in Photoshop and take ages or pay someone to do it, or you can come to a tool like this and do it really quickly.

So just click on “upload image” and find the image that we want to use, which in my case is this one. Click to open the image and it uploads and removes the background, then you can compare it to the original with the background to see how good a job the actual software has done.

Okay, so there we go. It’s removed the background. See the original and comparison with removed background below.

Removal of the background from an image, leaving a transparent background.

No problem at all. I’m happy with that. It did a really good job of removing the background.

Unfortunately with this tool you can then download a preview image of only 666 by 375 pixels, or you can download the full image of 4624 by 2604 pixels, which is an awful lot bigger, an awful lot higher definition, but that will cost you credits.

So if you download the preview, it downloads instantly as a PNG file with the background removed. Perfect. If that’s the only size you want to use it’s done in a few seconds.

If you want to download the full image, it costs credit. I haven’t gone on to look at how much credits are because there’s another tool where you can download the full sized image for free after removing the background.

So let me show you that tool.

Adobe Express Online – A Free Photo Editing Tool

Photoshop express, an online background removal tool which requires you to have an account.

OK, so this tool is at If you don’t have an account, they will ask for some details such as your name, your email address, stuff like that. Sign up for free account. It just takes a few seconds. I think they may also get you to validate your email address, something like that.

So you come to this tool and click to open the file you want. Again we’ll go with the same file and if you want to, you can click to remove the background.

OK, so again, it’s done a really good job.

Unlike the other tool, though, there’s two different sides to this Photoshop tool. First of all, you can play around with things like doing touching up, which will allow you to do the basic Photoshop stuff. I’m not going to demonstrate here because I’m trying to keep this rapid, but I’m just showing you there’s a lot of other things you can do with this tool. For example, there’s Contrast, Desaturation, Aged and different colour effects, vivid, matte, black and white, vignette, plus artistic effects if you want to play with them such as oil paint, canvas, pop art, colourised and stylize.

The important thing, though, is that you can download the actual file where you’ve removed the background full size so you don’t have to worry about credits as you do with the other service. So just click the download and the dimensions are full sized… 4624 by 2604 you can download as a PNG file and that downloads without a problem.

So there you go.

You can run around quickly to RemoveBG with just a couple of clicks if you only want a small image, but if you want the full size image at RemoveBG, you would need to pay a credit.

Whereas with this Adobe Photoshop Express you can remove the background and download the full size image, almost exactly the same service but also there’s a bunch of other tools that you can play around with.

Adding the Glowing Effect In Canva

OK, so the other tool we need is Canva, which I’m sure you’ve heard of., a free graphics creation and editing tool.

What we’re going to do is we’re going to create a new design custom size and I’m going to use 1280 by 720. Then we bring in our uploaded image, and apply an effect.

So you click on effects, and what we want to apply is the duo tone.

If you don’t have duo tone installed or connected at your Canva, you will need to click on one of these different effects. It will say duo tone and you say to connect it and then you’re ready to go.

What you need to do is first of all, come to the image, click “control+C” and “control+V” to make a duplicate of the image and then come to duo tone, click on see all and choose a colour that you like.

This is going to be the blur effect colour that you’re going to use. I’m going to go with Amber. The next thing to do is to play around with increasing the size of the duplicate image slightly. Next, click to position that “backwards” so you’ve put the actual duo tone image behind the main image.

Click on adjust to adjust the blur effect to blur the background of the image.

The next thing you need to do is select both images. You click for the background image and then you click again and hold shift for the foreground image. You then click on group and it turns into one image.

Putting The New Glowing Image Into A Thumbnail At Canva

OK, so as you can see in Canva, I already have my thumbnail, because this is where I create my YouTube thumbnails. You would need to upload your thumbnail if it’s from your PC. I’m going to make a copy of this thumbnail to show you how I incorporate this glowy image.

The first thing I do is click to visit the glowing image select it, press “control+C” at the same time, come back to “home” and open up the new copy of the old thumbnail. Then delete the photo of me, which I’m going to replace by pressing “control+V” to paste into that image and then it’s just a matter of positioning it.

So like I said, I wanted to use just the top left hand corner, so I’m going to enlarge it, move my head into the corner, and then “position” the glowy outline image where I want it in the image composition by moving it “back” behind objects until it’s in the right place.

Positioning the new image within the old thumbnail visually, including layer adjustment.

That is how I replaced the flat photo image with this image, with the glowing outline thumbnail effect.

So that’s how you go from the thumbnail on the left to the thumbnail on the right

Please let me know in the video comments which one you prefer, which one you’re more likely to click on. If you like this one quick YouTube video, please leave a thumbs up, subscribe and share the video.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your day and I’ll talk to you again very soon.

Thanks for watching.