This is article was originally written as a multi-page and is 4+ years old, but I’ve left it intact for your reference. Please ignore references to there being more pages, as this second part of this tutorial has now been structured into this one page. Related : Part One of the Man of Fire.
Adding Depth to our Fire
Now that we have our fire base, we need to add some depth and color variation to it. This will make our fire look more realistic. This can be achieved in many ways (layering – saturations etc…), but we’ll approach it the fastest by using some lighting techniques.
You should have your guassian blurred image open, and only two layers at this point – a background – and layer 1. What you need to do now is make a copy of layer 1 by pressing Ctrl+J or by selecting Layer > Duplicate Layer. Now you should have a layer called Layer 1 copy.
Select layer 1 copy s your working layer. Then click on Filter > Render > Lighting Effects. We want to apply a 2 oclock spotlight, with an intensity of 32 and the widest focus (100). You can copy the rest of my settings from the image below.
On the next page we’ll be using the same layer to construct our flames with the liquify filter. If you want to mess with it in advance, you’ll be able to see where we are headed. We’re almost there! But read on to learn how to add bone structure and a more solid presence back to your man.
Now we need to manipulate our image to create some realistic flames. We’ll use the liquify tool in different brush sizes to manually add our effects. You should have your image open, and working with Layer 1 still for this part of the tutorial.
Click on Filter > Liquify to open the liquify tool. Your initial brush settings you want larger, and then you’ll gradually get smaller as we adjust tje fine details of the image. Here’s what mine looks like , along with my initial settings. I started with a brush size of 37, then went down to the 25 you see below :
If you really wanted to, you could be done. However, I suggest going smaller in size with the brush to work out the small details. Remember, you don’t want to downstroke your fire, or upstroke the inside of the arms too much. This will cause a bleed of black into his arms.
You could fiddle with your layer by copying it, adjusting the saturation and the opacity to bring in some more reds etc.. If you want to add more structure to your man, you can read the last page of this tutorial to learn what I came up with to do just that.
If you would like to add more structure to your man, and make him look a bit more realistic, we can do that by working with the background layer. (Almost forgot we had one didn’t you?)
Copy your background layer by making it the working layer, and pressing Ctrl+J. You should now have a layer called Background Copy 2 (or 1 depending on which steps you followed.)
Click on Layer > Arrange > Bring to Front to make background layer copy 2 your working layer. Your image should be back to this by now :
Next select Layer > Layer Style > Blending Options. Slide your layer Opacity all the way over to 5 or 6. (Or wherever you like it best) Merge your layers – and this is what we get in the end :
As you can see, this Photoshop project is fun and can vary quite a bit depending on small settings. Here is what my second attempt came out as, using minor setting changes. It’s a little bit different :
If you enjoyed this Photoshop tutorial, be sure and check out some of our other areas. While not a strict Photoshop based site, I think you’ll find some other good webmaster tutorials you can use.