Sep 20, 2016

How to Add Fire to Photos in Photoshop

How to Add Fire in Photoshop

The ability to harness fire separates mankind from all other animals, take it one step further and learn to create digital fire.

How to Render Flames in Photoshop

A new addition to Photoshop CC 2015 brings the power to render flames with a surprising amount of control.

To create flames, first, create a new layer and make a path you want the fire to follow using the Pen Tool. This pen path can mimic that of regular fire or make a shape for special effects.

After selecting the path, go to ‘Filter – Render – Flame…’ Here you can choose from a variety of options to create different types of flames.

We suggest using a reference image to model the flames after. In this example, we add rendered flames to an existing campfire, making it look larger.

How to Make Fire Look Realistic

After rendering flames in Photoshop, convert the flame layer into a smart object. Change the blending mode of the fire layer to ’Screen’ or ‘Lighten’, fire will never make a photo darker.

The flames may benefit from a little blur to make them more realistic. Because we converted the layer into a Smart Object, we can use smart blur filters. Go to ‘Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur’ and choose a blur radius to match the photo. If you need to change the blur radius at any time, double-click on the filter in the Layers menu and adjust the slider.


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  • user image

    Thank you for your teaching. You are really good sharing your knowledge & skill with others. You are greatly appreciated!!!

  • user image
    William Kaufman

    Thank You for showing me how to use Flame in photoshop. I couldn’t figure out how to use before.

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    Leslie Saber

    Thanks for the tutorial, straightforward and it looks easy to create a flame. One huge frustration I have with photoshop is when a tool is greyed out, but no clue why. So in my case, the “flame” filter is not accessible. Time to buy a new computer again?

    • user image

      it has to do with your graphics processor or card. If you use a tower you may be able to add or update the graphic card.

  • user image

    I have done the same thing, and used Pixel Squid for content to make something from nothing.

  • user image
    Rob Fielding

    Great tutorial Aaron. I never knew it existed!
    P’m going to be a fire starter now!

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    Hans van Veelen

    Hallo, thanks for all this free Photoshop trailers, I follow it with thanks.
    But I use Photoshop 6 and cc have new thinks, I hope sometime
    you will give the way how to do it in Photoshop 6, if possible, thanks Hans.

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    Don Funderburg

    Watched and loved it. I have a need to use this method but mine is a little bit more complicated. I have fixed the blue light on the top of the lantern but the glass is dirty and the flame is not very good. Can I just design my flame and for best results put over the top of the original? I compete
    in photography and so fixing these kinds of things sometimes is very important.

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    Jean Easton

    OUCH! HOT! Thank you Phlearn, another great one. Have you seen the software that you can make fire, cloud or anything have movement in a photo, its about $300.00 a year. I would love to be able to do that in Photoshop CC, how about you, can you do it in Photoshop CC?