photoshop creative
Feb
25

How to create fire effects in Photoshop, part 1

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by The Photoshop Creative Team

Make a bold statement by adding the searing power of fire to your Photoshop artwork using filters and brushes

How to create fire effects in Photoshop, part 1

Download all the files you’ll need for this tutorial here

STEP 01

How to create fire effects in Photoshop, part 1

Create a new document that’s at least 1000×1000 pixels set to 300 pixels per inch. This is a good enough quality to print your finished artwork later.

STEP 02

How to create fire effects in Photoshop, part 1

To start creating our fire texture, we need something malleable. Let’s call upon the Clouds filter. Press D to set your colours to black and white, then go to Filter>Render>Clouds.

 STEP 03

How to create fire effects in Photoshop, part 1

Now that we have some texture to play with, let’s tweak it further to make it look like fire. Go to Filter>Distort>Polar Coordinates. Tick Polar to Rectangular, and click OK.

STEP 04

How to create fire effects in Photoshop, part 1

Let’s invert the colours by going to Image>Adjustments>Invert, or you can simply press Cmd/Ctrl+I. This will make the top darker, making the bottom area more flame-like. In just several steps, we already have the foundation for fire.

STEP 05

How to create fire effects in Photoshop, part 1

To accentuate the flames, we’ll boost contrast by applying a Levels adjustment. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels. Click OK. Drag the three sliders so the input levels are 67, 0.52, and 204.

STEP 06

How to create fire effects in Photoshop, part 1

Let’s now start adding colour to the fire. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/Saturation. Click OK. Tick Colorize, then set Hue to 32 and Saturation to 100. The fire is too monochromatic, so we’ll add more colour next.

STEP 07

How to create fire effects in Photoshop, part 1

Create a new layer. Click on the foreground colour and enter the hexadecimal code #FF7F32 at the bottom of the Color Picker dialog box. Click OK. Make sure the background colour is still white.

STEP 08

How to create fire effects in Photoshop, part 1

Go to Filter>Render>Clouds. We’ll use this randomized mass for extra coloring. Set the Blend mode to Overlay. You should now see more believable flames. Save the file as Fire.psd.

STEP 09

How to create fire effects in Photoshop, part 1

With the same file, we’ll create an inferno effect. Press Cmd/Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E to stamp visible layers. Go to Filter>Distort>Polar Coordinates and tick Rectangular to Polar. Click OK. Go to File>Save As and save as Inferno.psd.

STEP 10

How to create fire effects in Photoshop, part 1

Open Start.psd. This contains a black background and some lines adorned with a few layer styles. Use File>Place to bring Inferno.psd below the Lines layer. Enlarge to cover the whole image before pressing Enter to confirm.

STEP 11

How to create fire effects in Photoshop, part 1

Apply a Layer mask to the Inferno layer using the icon at the bottom of the Layers palette. Use black and a soft, round brush at 100% opacity to paint out the top left area. Soften the transition with a brush at 20% opacity.

STEP 12

How to create fire effects in Photoshop, part 1

Now choose a photo, you can download the one we’ve used from www.sxc.hu and use your favourite tool to extract. Why not make yourself the central character by striking the pose yourself and have a friend photograph it! For this image, we simply used the Quick Selection tool to select the surrounding colour, then inverted the selection (Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+I).