Photoshop tutorial: Use Render Flames to add realistic fire in Photoshop CC 2014

Learn to use Photoshop's Render Flames tool to add fire to your photos and illustrations.

Intro


Adding flames to your images has never been easier thank to the recently added Render Flames tool in Photoshop CC 2014. 

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In this tutorial, photographer and illustrator Tigz Rice shows you how to use the Render Flames tool to add a fire to an unlit fireplace in a digital composite.

Tigz also provides a wide range of tips and techniques to blend the flames into your artwork and create a realistic glow.

Software used

Photoshop CC 2014

Step 1

STEP 1

Open your chosen image in Photoshop and select the Pen tool (P). Ensure the tool is set to Path in the top left drop down menu in the Options bar.

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Step 2

STEP 2

Create a new layer and call it 'Flame 1'. Using the Pen tool, click and drag on the document to create an S-shaped curved path in the direction you want the flames to appear, from x to x.

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Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

STEP 5

Now you have the option to fully customise your flame including Width, Complexity, Turbulence, Opacity, Colour and even how the flames taper from their source.

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These settings will be dependent on the type of flame you want to create. Experiment with the parameters to see how they work. I want flames that flow upwards like those in a real fireplace, and you can see the settings I chose to get that here. 

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Step 6

STEP 6

Press OK to confirm and use the Move tool (V) with the arrow keys on your keyboard to nudge the flames into place.

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Step 7

STEP 7

n the Paths panel, click on the Add New Path icon to create a new path layer, which will allow us to work on a second flame.

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Step 8

STEP 8

Create a second layer and rename this 'Flame 2'.

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Once again, use the Pen tool (P) to create a new S-shaped curve that complements the fire on the 'Flame 1' layer.

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Step 9

STEP 9

nstead of going through the Render Flame options again, we can create a flame with matching settings to our first flame by pressing Cmd/Ctrl + F and using the ‘repeat last filter’ feature in Photoshop.

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Step 10

STEP 10

Repeat the previous two steps a couple more times until you are happy with your flames.

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Then, highlight all of your flame layers and Shift + Click on the Add New Group layer to bring all the flames together into one group. Rename this group to 'Flames'.


Step 11

STEP 11

Lets now start to blend these flames into their environment a little more. First, lets add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer above our 'Flames' group.

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Hover over the line between the adjustment layer and the group while pressing Alt, until a white box with an arrow appears and then click to clip the two together. This is known as Clipping.

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Step 12

STEP 12

Select the adjustment layer and go to the Properties panel. Reduce the Saturation of the flames to match their environment.

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For more control, click on Master to access a drop down menu of colours. Select Yellows and reduce the saturation so your yellows are less saturated than the reds in the flames.


Step 13

STEP 13

Back in the Layers panel, click on the Create New Fill icon and choose Solid Colour.

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As the environment has a greyish-blue tint, we’ll pick a similar colour for our fill. Once you’re happy with the colour, press OK.


Step 14

STEP 14

In the Layers panel, change the blending mode of your Color Fill layer to Overlay, and clip this layer to the Hue/Saturation layer below - following the same process as in Step 11.

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Step 15

STEP 15

Still in the Layers panel, change the opacity of the Color Fill layer to 35% to reduce the tonal effect on the flames.

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Step 16

STEP 16

Highlight the 'Flames' group and click on the Add Layer Mask icon. On the new layer mask, use a soft black brush to carefully brush back in the fireplace grate.

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Step 17

STEP 17

Duplicate the Background Layer and go to Filter > Convert for Smart Filters to turn the layer in to a Smart Object.

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Next, go to Filter > Camera Raw Filter… to bring up the Camera Raw dialog. Click on the Radial Filter icon and add +0.5 Exposure and +50 Temperature to create a glow for the flames. Once done, press OK.

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Step 18

STEP 18

Using a soft black brush on the Smart Filters layer, mask out the warm glow around the fireplace to finish.

See also: 86 Best Photoshop tutorials