photoshop creative

How to create fire effects in Photoshop, part 2

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by The Photoshop Creative Team
February 27, 2014

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

Follow part 1 of this tutorial


Drag the selected model into the composition. Go to Filter>Stylize>Glowing Edges and play with the settings (I used Edge Width-3, Edge Brightness-14, Smoothness-5).  Click OK. Apply an orange Outer Glow layer style (I used 65% Opacity, 19% Spread, and 117px Size).


There are many free smoke brushes on the Web. The one I used is from: Once downloaded, the brush set can be loaded from the Brush palette’s fly-out menu.


Create a new layer below the model. Select a smoke brush preset, set foreground color to white, and click to place an instance near the feet. Free Transform (Cmd/Ctrl+T) and rotate. Apply a Gradient Overlay and use the Orange, Yellow, Orange preset.


Go to Edit>Transform>Warp and reshape the smoke, tugging here and twisting there until you are satisfied. Duplicate the layer several times and warp each to create the base flame shapes. If your Photoshop doesn’t have Warp, try using the Smudge Tool.


Use File>Place to add Fire.psd above the model layer. Free Transform (Cmd/Ctrl+T) and rotate to align with the trajectory. Add a Layer mask and paint out the edges with a soft, round brush at 100% opacity. Set the Blend mode to Screen.


Duplicate the layer multiple times to build up the fire. Warp as needed to reshape and twist the forms. You can also try using the Liquify filter. Set some of the layers to Color Dodge instead of Screen to vary the colouring.


Load Stars.abr from the Brush palette’s fly-out menu, then select that preset. Set your colors to #E69700 and #9E3600. Use a soft, round brush at 100% opacity and 60px size to create a minor trail. Increase to 300px and create the larger stars.


Let’s intensify the fire and improve overall contrast with Levels. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels. Click OK. Drag the outer dark and light sliders inward. Fine-tune with the midtones slider.


Go to Layer>New Fill Layer> Solid Color. Click OK. Enter the hex code #C31212 and click OK. Set the Blend mode to Soft Light. On the attached Layer mask, use a soft, round brush at 80% opacity to paint black on the model, removing the coloUring.


Create another Color Fill layer, but use #F0FF00. Set the Blend mode to Overlay and drop the opacity to 50%. On the attached Layer mask, use a soft brush at 80% opacity to paint black on everything outside the model to add an aura.


As a finishing touch, let’s create a vignette effect to help draw the viewer’s eyes inward. Use a soft, round brush at around 20% opacity to paint black around the edges of the composition.