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Photoshop Candle Flame Tutorial

One of the objects that many artists use frequently is a candle flame. If you continue to use the same flame in each project, it becomes obvious over time. It's better to use different flame shapes and, to save production time, you can create a group of stock flame graphics in PhotoshopR that you can use for any project. Our first step is to create a basic candle flame image.

  1. Start a project file at 72 dpi, 500 x 500 pixles.

  2. For the purpose of this tutorial, we will set the background color on Layer 1 to black and name the layer "bg". However, we will be creating each flame variation on a transparent layer so that we can drag the flames in to any project.

  3. Start a new layer and name it flame_shape. Set the Foreground color to ff0000 and the Background color to f8f66e. Using the Custom Shape tool and the Raindrop shape, draw a thin raindrop to create a flame shape. Select this shape with the Magic Wand tool.

  4. Start a new layer and name it flame_glow. Turn off the visibility for the flame_shape layer but do not deselect the flame shape. You should still have the flame_glow layer selected. To feather the selection on the new flame_glow layer, click Select Modify Feather and set the Feather Radius to 10 pixels.

    Fill the selection with the Background color. Deselect the selection.

  5. Double-click on the flame_glow layer to open the Layer Style dialog box. Add the Color Overlay style and set the color to fcf302 and the Opacity to 100%.

  6. Let's add the Outer Glow style and set the color to ff0303, the Blend Mode to Screen, the Opacity to 100%, the Spread to 0, the Size to 35 and the Range to 38. Depending on the size of your flame, your settings might be different. The result you want is a soft red-orange glow around the flame and just a little yellow in the center.

  7. Duplicate the flame_glow layer and name the duplicate layer "back_glow". Drag this new layer below the flame_shape layer. Right-click the back_glow layer and Clear Layer Style.

    Double-click on the layer to open the Layer Style dialog box and add the Inner Glow style. Set the color to fcfcfc, the Blend Mode to Screen, Opacity to 100%, Size to 21 and Range to 50. This should add a little white to the center yellow.

    Add an Outer Glow style. Set the color to fc9005, Mode to Screen, Opacity to 70, Size to 90, Range to 55 and the Half Round Contour.

  8. Use the Free Transform tool to reshape the back_glow layer until the white color is at the base of the flame and the outer glow spreads a little wider than the flame.

  9. Turn on the visibility for the flame_shape layer and set the layer's opacity to 35%. Click Filter Blur Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 2 px.

  10. In the Layers panel, group all three layers and name the group "flame_start".

This group of layers will be our starting point for creating several variations of the flame in different sizes and shapes.

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