Glowing materials are very useful to create light effects. For example a neon-light effect.
This kind of material is a light-emitting material. It will create light and shadows like an Omni Light. (For this material you must use Mental Ray).
Let's see the steps to do:
a) Change in the material editor the Standard material to an Architectural
b) Choose the color of your glowing material in the diffuse color slot.
Now go to the setting "luminance cd/m2". This setting allows you to create a material which is able to emit light. This setting is very similar to the standard "self-illumination" slot. But in the architectural material you can add a value which is much more higher than 100. The higher the value, the brighter the material's light emission.
It is very important that you enable Final Gather (in max 9 the option "SAMPLES" is called “rays per FG point”) since the glow effect and the emission of light will be possible only with this setting. The higher the number in FG Samples/ FG point the better will be the quality. Put 1 for low quality (for test renderings) and 250-400 for good quality.
If you go to increase the value in MAX BOUNCES (in Max 9 it is called DIFFUSE BOUNCES) in the Final Gather panel, you will be able to give more energy to your light effect. It is possible to illuminate an entire room by using the MAX BOUNCES setting: the indirect light that comes from the light that bounces on the walls will add more realism to the scene. But it takes much more time to render the scene. You should have additional lights anyway to achieve a perfect illumination of your interior (this kind of technique and all light settings are explained during the lessons of the Florence Design Academy).