Best way to achieve an outer glow effect on a geometry?

I am trying to achieve this effect:

There have been threads similar to this question likes this:

I have tried using a bloom filter and the custom shader mentioned in the aforementioned thread but since they are both post processing effects they both have the problem of the bloom covering geometries that move in front of them.

I have also tried adding just a solid color geometry with alpha but it didn’t have the glowing effect.

I have also tried particle effects to some extent but am not very skilled in creating them and it has been a long time since I tried this.

With all that said, can you recommend what you would do to create an effect like this where objects in front of the geometry will occlude the glow? In my program it’s safe to assume all geometries that will need this glow are rectangular like the card shown in the example.

I haven’t tried any other methods to compare, but for achieving this effect so far I’ve been using the particle emitter route (mainly for my GUI elements), and then I scale the particle emitter’s X and Y value to match the object size and set the particle emitter to face the correct direction. I personally like to use particle emitters like crazy and I’ve found a lot of cool things you can do if you mess around with them for a while.

The difficult part for the card example would be getting the emitter to follow the card as it moves around the screen and to get the emitter to scale to the cards size if the card shrinks or grows, but that could still be done.

Here’s a snippet of my attempt so far at doing something kind of similar to the card example.

You can use this line of code to set which way the particle’s face, that way it always lines up with the edge of its associated object.

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If it’s not animated then I’d use a quad behind the card (large than the card) with a glow border painted on it. (I do this in lots of places.)

If it is animated then I’d do the same thing only animate it… either by combining it with noise or some other method as desired.

That effect looks pretty close, I remember when I worked with the particle emitter i had trouble getting them to work the way I wanted them to, what tools do you use to edit the emitters or do you do it manually in the code?

Hey thanks again pspeed it’s been a while. When you mention glow border painted on it do you mean just an image texture that looks like a glow bound to the geometry’s material? And with respect to it being animated, do you have an example of applying this noise to the material or texture? That could get very close to what I’m looking for.

No, I mean a Quad with its own geometry sitting right behind the card with its own material and texture. A totally separate geometry. As in:

A quad… behind the card. Card is separate. Quad is separate.

Easiest way to animate it would be a custom shader with a noise texture that slides with time… then just multiply the noise with the glow. I did something similar in Mythruna’s glowing plot borders… static image can be seen here:

Those glowing borders are smoky-animated. Not sure I have a video of that… it’s a simple sliding noise texture that does it, though.

Edit: here is the halo.png I use for my own glowing borders around UI elements. Add noise to taste:


I manually code them, I find that gives me the most control

This link was really helpful for me when I was first trying to learn how to do stuff with particles and wasn’t as familiar with the essential methods for the ParticleEmitter object:

Here’s the code for that effect if you’d want to look at that as a starting point if you decide that particle emitters are the way to go for doing something like this

       ParticleEmitter  selectionEffect = new ParticleEmitter("Emitter", ParticleMesh.Type.Triangle, 30);
        Material mat = new Material(app.getAssetManager(),"Common/MatDefs/Misc/Particle.j3md");
        //change texture image based on the resolution width
        mat.setTexture("Texture", app.getAssetManager().loadTexture("Interface/MenuImages/selectionEffectFinal.png"););


        selectionEffect.getParticleInfluencer().setInitialVelocity(new Vector3f(0, 0, 0));


        selectionEffect.setStartColor((new ColorRGBA(.042f,.105f,.662f,.91f)));
        selectionEffect.setEndColor(new ColorRGBA(.037f,.298f,.662f,.04f));


//these three lines make the emitter face forward and show up on infront of GUI elements

I think for a 2D menu element particle emitters would work alright, but for world objects with a Z depth @pspeed’s method looks way better than particle emitters could ever do. I’ve yet to learn how to do much with writing shaders, but the more I see what can be done with custom shaders, the more excited I am to learn :grinning:

You can see the unanimated version of what I’m talking about here:


Perfect guys I’ll give these a test and report back.

Feel free to post more screenshots such as this one :slight_smile:

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Those are really cool plot borders.

Been busy but here is an update for posterity.

Here is an image of the selection effect (I feel like we used to be able to upload larger files, wanted to make this an animated gif but only allowed 50kb):

Here is the code that achieves it:

public static Geometry createSelectionGeom(AssetManager am, Geometry baseGeometry, Vector3f scale, ColorRGBA color, float origWidth, float origHeight, boolean glow, boolean front) {
    Geometry selectionGeometry = baseGeometry.clone();

	String texturePath = null;
	if (glow) {
		texturePath = "Interface/General/glow.png";

	Material cardSlotMaterial = MaterialUtil.create(am, texturePath, color, false);

	Vector3f v = selectionGeometry.getLocalTranslation();
	float xDiff = origWidth * scale.x - origWidth;
	float yDiff = origHeight * scale.y - origHeight;

	if (front) {
		selectionGeometry.setLocalTranslation(v.x - xDiff / 2, v.y - yDiff / 2, v.z);
	} else {
		selectionGeometry.setLocalTranslation(v.x + xDiff / 2, v.y - yDiff / 2, v.z);

	return selectionGeometry;

Here is the glow image I’m using:

It’s supposed to be turned off completely but we had to allow small files because discourse is totally stupid with respect to avatar images.

Use to host images and post them to the forum.

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