photoshop creative

Make digital fireworks

Posted in:
Magazine, by The Photoshop Creative Team
April 7, 2011

Discover a quick way of adding drama to a night shot

This is a Quick Fix sample taken from issue 73 of Photoshop Creative

Fireworks are always fantastic to watch but they are slippery customers when it comes to taking quality photos. If you haven’t got a tripod you can forget about it but even if you have, you aren’t guaranteed a perfect shot. You have to get the timings just right, if there is pollution in the air you will just capture lots of smoke and if there are usually crowds that you have to contend with.

A far easier way is to create fireworks in Photoshop and then apply to your photo. And the easiest way of all is to use fireworks that somebody else has made! We are using files from the Photoshop Daily site to add pizazz to our sky.


We are going to be copying and pasting the fireworks into a photo, using selections to control where the fireworks appear. The first task is to make that selection – the sky of our photo is pretty uniform in colour, so we just need to select the Magic Wand and click in the sky.


Go to and download the free firework files. These are .png files, with all of the transparency intact. Open one up, Select All and then Copy. Click on your firework photo (making sure the selection is still intact) and go to Edit>Paste Into.


The firework will appear on a new layer, only in the area that was selected. Go to Select>Deselect and use the Move tool to place where you like and the  Edit>Free Transform command to alter the size/angle of the firework. To add more, Ctrl/Cmd-click on the layer mask thumbnail in the Layers palette to reselect. Open another firework file, Copy and Paste Into as before.