Glowing Eyes is a photoshop meme in which the eyes of various people, characters and animals are edited to appear as if they are glowing with bright energy, mimicking a common trope found in various animated films and television shows.
On January 26th, 2010, the game Mass Effect 2 was released, in which the enemy Reaper ship Harbinger causes Collector enemy units eyes to glow yellow when “assuming direct control” of them. Over the next several months, images of various animals and characters photoshopped with glowing eyes and variations of the caption “assuming direct control” began circulating online (shown below).
On January 30th, 2011, a page titled “Glowing Eyes” was created on TV Tropes, describing the use of glowing eyes in media as a way to “show off someone’s Life Energy” or indicate “someone’s just triggered their Super Mode.” On May 13th, 2013, Tumblr user maohshounen posted and edited picture of a skeleton in a rocking chair with glowing eyes with the description “ah yes my throne” (shown below, left). On August 13th, 2014, a thread mocking a newspaper headline about American doctor Kent Brantly “growing stronger” following his contraction of the Ebola virus was submitted to 4chan. In the thread, a user suggested someone edit a photograph of Brantly “so he has glowing eyes,” leading to several photoshopped pictures of the doctor (shown below, right).
As Deep Fried Memes grew in popularity, the glowing eyes effect was incorporated into the the set of distortions used for the deep fried filter. Later, the effect was used in memes such as Gordon Ramsay’s Lamb Sauce, Whomst and Begone, Thot. Additionally, the effect gained widespread usage on the /r/dankmemes/ subreddit.
On February 15th, 2017, YouTuber Bubway uploaded a photoshop tutorial for creating red glowing eyes (shown below, left). On March 16th, 2017, YouTuber PolarSaurusRex uploaded a similar tutorial titled “How to Make Lens Flare Memes” (shown below, right).
- In Iris, Giffany, Dark Magician Girl and Azura cartoons, Custard's close-up shot of his eyes are shown.