photoshop creative

Create a flaming bird in six steps!

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
October 6, 2015

Combine filters, adjustment layers and blend modes to create a flame-filled effect


1. Apply effects


Open your bird image. Duplicate the layer, and press Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+U to desaturate. CS users go to Filter>Oil Paint, set Brush Stylization: 10, Cleanliness: 10, Scale: 10, Brush Detail: 10, Angular Direction: 360, Shine: 0, and hit OK. CC users go to Filter>Unsharp Mask, set Amount: 500%, Radius: 3.0, Threshold: 40 and click OK.

2. Add new tones


Now go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Gradient Map. Click to open the Gradient Editor and create four colour stops. For the first, use #ffffff, for the second use #fda804, the third enter #a41a08 and fourth #511414. Hit OK and clip the gradient layer (Layer>Create Clipping Mask).

3. Create a mask


Go to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal all. Set Foreground to black and with a round brush (B) paint in the mask the eagle’s head, tail and claws. Click on the Eagle layer, grab the Rectangular Marquee tool (M) and select the head. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate, and name the layer Head.

4. Adjust the gradient


Hold Opt/Alt and drag the Gradient Map layer over the Head layer. Click to open the Gradient Map properties and check Reverse. Choose the clip option in the palette. Open the Gradient Editor and adjust the colours as before. Select the Eagle layer and repeat these steps for the claw and tail.

5. Place the flames


Hold Shift and select all layers (exclude the background layer). Hit Cmd/Ctrl+E to merge. Grab the Smudge tool and paint the feathers and the head. Place the flames around the eagle. Ctrl/right-click and choose Rasterize Layer, and then set the blend mode to Screen.

6. Final touches


Use the Eraser (E) to rub out the extra flames to create a nice blend between the layers. You can also select and cut out parts of the flames and cut out parts of the flames and use the Free Transform tool (Cmd/Ctrl+T) to fit them around the eagle.