Learn The Secret To Create A Stylistic Burning Effect

Software: Photoshop Cs6

Difficulty: Intermediate

Completion Time: 30 min.

Just like we have  “The Girl Who Played With Fire” – a bestselling novel by Swedish writer Stieg Larsson, today we are going to recreate the fire burning effect with a male figure.  You don’t have to use a human image for this, it can even be used on alphabets or basically anything that depicts a sense of style and mystery! Enjoy=)

Image Used For This Tutorial:

BEFORE

STEP 1:

First, we need our fire. Find several different fire images that are on black backgrounds – it’s better to have options. Set all your fire images layer modes to “Screen” to remove the black background.

1How and where you place your fire is 100% up to you. I suggest starting with the edges of the person or object. I chose a stock image of fire that looks like it’s on the edge of something, and angled it onto the inner arm.

2Then, I added a layer mask to the fire image and masked out parts of the fire that’s not on the inner arm.

3I repeated this step, using the same fire over and over again, but I made sure to flip it horizontally sometimes, and use different sections of the fire.

4Next, we’ll add our “filler” fire. Find larger pieces of fire images to cover large areas. Again, set all the fire layers to “screen”.I used the same fire image twice. Try to shape and mold many different small fire images as opposed to using one giant one.

I used a layer mask once again to remove the fire on the overlapped arm. This is important so that we do not lose the shape of the arm amongst the fire.

5Here’s another example of more fire. Again, find an appropriate fire image, set it to screen, angle it appropriately, and then mask away any piece of fire you don’t want.

6Repeat this step until you’re happy with your fire. I also added very tiny images of fire onto his eyes. Here’s what mine looks like:

7Once done, group all your fire layers together and name the group “Fire”.

STEP 2:

Usually, most tutorials stop here – but really, we’re only halfway there! Now, let’s make the fire appear more solid so that it looks more realistic. Right now, it’s much too transparent.

  • Create a layer below your “Fire” group and name it “fire background”.
  • With a semi large round brush set to a medium dark red-orange (#8b2c0d), paint behind the fire.

Focus on the areas that look too transparent. Use a soft round eraser brush to get rid of any hard edges. This is what my layer looks like with and without the fire:

8

  • Create a new layer above your “fire background” layer – set it to “Soft Light”.
  • With a large soft round brush set to orange, paint anywhere on your subject where there’s fire.

9Now:

  • Create a new layer above that layer and again, set it to “Soft Light”.
  • With a large round soft brush, paint a giant blob of an orange-red color (#dd4e05) where the fire is and on the surface of your subject.

Try to keep in mind where the light from the fire would be hitting. In my case, I keep all the light and orange colors to the left side of the man’s face. I set layer to 70% opacity.

10Next, create one more layer above that layer and again, set it to “Soft Light” and bring it down to around 70% opacity. Paint another large blob of color, this time a lighter red-orange color (#ff894f).

 Now, let’s use the “Blend If” function:

  • Double-click on the layer thumb to open up the “Layer Style” panel. At the bottom, you’ll see a “Blend If” section.
  • Go to “Underlying Layer” and hold the Alt key to move around the individual toggles.

 How you set them is up to you; experiment and find what looks best. This is what mine looks like:

11Group the 4 layers you’ve just created together, and name the group “Fire Fill”.

 STEP 3:

Create some highlights. You can either paint them using a tablet, or use the pen tool like what I’ll do.

  • Select the brush tool and set it to 0% Hardness, 100% opacity and around 2-5 px in size. The size will depend on how large your image is. I went with 2px.
  • Select your Pen Tool and create single paths outlining the various edges of your subject. You can hide your “Fire” and “Fire Fill” group to help you see better.

Here are what my paths look like:

12

When you’re satisfied with the amount of highlights you have (I also added some to the face):

  • Create a layer above the “Fire” group and set it to “Screen”. Make sure your foreground color is set to the color you want your highlights to be – I chose a light yellow-orange.
  • With the Pen Tool selected, right click > Stroke Path. Make sure “Simulate Pen Pressure” is checked. Click “OK”.

13

  • Duplicate the layer and set it to “Overlay”.
  • Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and blur it a couple of pixels – just enough to give your highlights a slight subtle glow.
  • Group the two layers together and name the group “Highlights”.
  • Make sure to turn your “Fire” and “Fire Fill” groups back on.

 STEP 4:

Next, we’re going to add glow to the fire.

  • Create a layer above your “Highlights” group.
  • Using a large soft round brush, paint a medium red (#d00f00) over your subject.

14Now again, use the “Blend If” function. This is my setting:

15Set the layer mode to “Screen”.

Create a new layer and repeat the same steps, only this time with an orange color (#dd4900). This is my “Blend If” setting:

 16Create one more layer above that layer, set it to “Screen” and cover the whole portion of your image where there is fire.

 For me, it’s the whole right side of the image. I used a very large soft round brush set to a darker red (#9e0000). Make sure it is very soft; blur it out if you need to.

 Set the layer opacity to around 27%.

17Group those three layers together and name the group “Glow”.

 Step 5:

  • Next, we’re going to increase the intensity of the fire by adding a complementary dark color to the opposite side of the image. Since our fire is red, we’ll add a blue color.
  • Create a new layer and set it to “Color”.
  • With a large soft round brush, paint blue ( #0e28df) on the opposite side of the fire. In my case, it’s the whole left side of the image.
  • Set the layer opacity to around 27%.

18Step 6:

To add and even out color, we’re going to create a few adjustment layers.

  • The first layer is a Color Balance adjustment layer. Set Cyan to +15, Magenta to -20, and Yellow to -9.

19

  • Next, create a Curves adjustment layer and set the red curve to what you see below. Make sure to switch to the “red” curve.

20

  • Select the layer mask of the curves layer and, using a large soft round black brush, mask out any area that isn’t on the fire.
  • Finally, create a second Curves adjustment layer and click in the middle of the RGB curve. Bring it down to darken up the image.
  • Using a large black round brush, mask out any area around the fire.

21And you’re done! Have fun creating fires and blazes in your own design!

Comments

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      Photo Chick

      Hi Joshua,

      Great hearing from you! That would be yes to CS3 but of course, the newer software version would enable you to add on effects. Also, you can always customize the effect, regardless of fire or ice, as long as you use the same technique. Hope it works out well! Do share your results here=)

  1. Amelia

    Okay.. In your tutorial, you said, “Group the 4 layers you’ve just created together, and name the group “Fire Fill”. What layers are we grouping? I tried making one of these and this is where I got lost.

    You also stated, “Create some highlights. You can either paint them using a tablet, or use the pen tool like what I’ll do. Select the brush tool and set it to 0% Hardness, 100% opacity and around 2-5 px in size. The size will depend on how large your image is. I went with 2px.
    Select your Pen Tool and create single paths outlining the various edges of your subject. You can hide your ‘Fire’ and ‘Fire Fill’ group to help you see better. When you’re satisfied with the amount of highlights you have (I also added some to the face). Create a layer above the ‘Fire’ group and set it to ‘Screen. Make sure your foreground color is set to the color you want your highlights to be – I chose a light yellow-orange.
    With the Pen Tool selected, right click > Stroke Path. Make sure ‘Simulate Pen Pressure’ is checked. Click ‘OK’.” After doing this, the image still showed the paint of the image. It looked nothing like the glow. It still was just an image of yellow paint.

    What did I do wrong?

    Thank you! Great artwork! It is truly amazing!

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      Photo Chick

      Hi Amelia.

      It’s greeat that you are asking questions, always a learning process!

      In step two you are creating 4 new layers total. The first is set to “normal” and named “fire background”. The second layer is above that layer and is set to “soft light”. The third is above that layer and also set to “soft light”. The fourth layer is above that and also set to “soft light”, and has a Blend If effect applied to it.

      For the second question, you have to make sure the layer is set to “screen”. If the image behind the lines are very dark/basically black then they will appear more solid. If that is the case lower the opacity of the layer with the lines, and add an Outer Glow layer effect. Or duplicate the layer with the lines and give it a slight Gaussian Blur.

      Hope this helps! Let me know how it goes!

      1. Amelia

        Thank you so much! I will try this as soon as I can and let you know asap. Thank you for giving a response! I wasn’t expecting any.

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  2. Amelia Saam

    Hi there Photo Chick!

    I need your help again 😮

    This time for your steps, ”
    STEP 3:
    Create some highlights. You can either paint them using a tablet, or use the pen tool like what I’ll do.
    ◦ Select the brush tool and set it to 0% Hardness, 100% opacity and around 2-5 px in size. The size will depend on how large your image is. I went with 2px.
    ◦ Select your Pen Tool and create single paths outlining the various edges of your subject. You can hide your “Fire” and “Fire Fill” group to help you see better.
    Here are what my paths look like:

    When you’re satisfied with the amount of highlights you have (I also added some to the face):
    ◦ Create a layer above the “Fire” group and set it to “Screen”. Make sure your foreground color is set to the color you want your highlights to be – I chose a light yellow-orange.
    ◦ With the Pen Tool selected, right click > Stroke Path. Make sure “Simulate Pen Pressure” is checked. Click “OK”. Duplicate the layer and set it to “Overlay”.
    ◦ Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and blur it a couple of pixels – just enough to give your highlights a slight subtle glow.
    ◦ Group the two layers together and name the group “Highlights”.
    ◦ Make sure to turn your “Fire” and “Fire Fill” groups back on.

    I have gotten stuck. 🙁 Again. With your previous help, I managed to do it correctly, but now these steps are the problem. In my photo for Step 3, I get this: ( I do not know how to use the Pen Tool, so i used the Free Transform Pen Tool, However, i cannot change it’s hardness or size, ‘May be the issue.’) http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=5yt54y&s=8
    Once done with that step, it told me to use the Gaussian Blur. No matter what meter i put it on, I received this: http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=kajzg3&s=8 ( I had redo the FreeStyle Pen over again because i lost the data)

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      Photo Chick

      Hi Amelia!

      Sure thing! When you are done creating the paths with the pen tool, you right click > Stroke Path. A window with pop up. “Tool” should be set to “Brush” and “Simulate Pen Pressure” should be checked. That is what will make the lines go from thin to thick.

      Hope this helps! Good luck in the tutorial=)

  3. Amelia

    Hi Photo Chick!

    I have already done this step, however I tried it again. It didn’t work at all! 🙁
    Maybe, is there a way you can show me how to use the Pen Tool directly with this picture on the left side of the shoulder perhaps? Maybe a video or a Kindergarten like step by step on how to use it with this photo with exactly the steps of this tutorial? I can’t seem to get the pen tool to actually make marks on the shirt. I’ve only been able to do it with a Free Form Pen type. Which is completely different with this image; In other words, it will not work. A tutorial on how to use it with this image, but on the left side (Instead of right) The way i’m doing it with MY image, would be very nice.

    Let me know if you need the full image. Forgive me on the slow replies. I can only get a hold of photo shop at a school. Perhaps it would be best to email each other instead. Up to you. Let me know if you make a decision please.

    Thanks for all your help! 🙂

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      Photo Chick

      Hi Sara, you can download the images at 123rf.com but you will need to purchase credits before downloading. Good luck!

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