Friday, September 17, 2010

How to create flames using PSE 8?

Here is my first attempt in creating flames :

1. Open a blank document with black background.

2. Create a new blank layer and paint the lower bottom area as white with brush tool as shown below

3. Now rotate it right by 90 from Image>Rotate > 90 Right.

5. Filter> Stylize> Wind . Repeat it thrice using Control+F to achieve the following result

Rotate it back by 90 Left from Image>Rotate > 90 Left.

6. Now create another blank layer and use hard  brush to paint the area with red, orange and yellow as shown in the figure below. Select topmost layer and go to Filter>Gaussian Blur. Set the radius to 8. Here is how it looks like after this step.

7.  And now change the blending mode of this layer to Overlay (from Blending modes dropdown in layer palette). The output looks as shown below :

8. Now select the layer below(with wind effect, 2nd layer from bottom) and select Smudge tool from the left toolbar and start smudging it from bottom through up. It looks like this :

9. Now select the gradient tool and click on Edit button on topbar to define three gradient colors as shown in figure. Move the color stops such that left most is yello, middle stop is at Orange and right most at Red.

10. Now select the topmost layer in the layer palette and strike the gradient from bottom to middle.

11. Now Control+click on  the middle layer(Wind layer) and go to Enhance> Adjust Color> Replace Color. Replace the white color with yellow by selecting respective colors from the color swatches in the dialog.

12. Click Ok and here is the final output which I got.


  1. I get to Step 7 and can't get it to look anything like yours, Step 8 is even more drastically bad. What setting should smudge be?

  2. Thanks, very interesting. Can I ask why do you do step 6? You replace it afterwards. Even if you want to do step 6, it might be easier to just use a soft brush instead of a hard one and Gaussian blur.

  3. @Susan : Thanks for your nice words.

  4. @HD : After step 6, did you paint the three colors on a new layer? They need to be painted on a new layer. I would like to see the output once you change the blending mode of the layer to Overlay. You could send me the screenshot @

    I reduced the strength of the smudge tool to 50% from options bar and kept changing the brush size using [ and ] keys while I was smudging. So you may also try the same.

    Let me know if this works for you.

  5. @Aaron : You could use soft brush as well. I first tried that only but however the blurring was not even throughout when I used that. So I thought to use hard brush and then follow it with Gaussian blur.
    It is always good to tweak it your way. Let me know how it works for you.

  6. Great tutorial. I'm kinda new to the photoshop scene but i managed to create some sweet blue flames with this. Thanks Vaishali.

  7. I actually started to dive straight into this topic around 2003, and got traumatic experiences back then, losing a lot of time for nothing. I stopped when I did not comprehend much about it making myself buried within other things. Now I am back again. Your site is a great motivation to me and I may let my granddad know about this.

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  8. How much amazing!! very professional and creative tutorial, thanks for sharing your technique with us. Please keep it continue for help us.
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  10. How do you strike the gradient from bottom to middle