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Creating Flames

Lesson 7 from: Creating a Cinematic Campaign with Special Effects

Lisa Carney

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Lesson Info

7. Creating Flames

Next Lesson: Creating Lens Flare

Lesson Info

Creating Flames

♪ Ah ♪ Let's talk about flames. I love flames. I love doing this stuff. And I'm gonna talk to you about how to do some of this, maybe a little easier than you thought. I am gonna say the dirty word, channel pulling, because I'd like to have everyone know how to pull a proper channel. It's old school. It's an old school way of masking, if those of you at home who don't know what channel pulling is. Let me open my files. Alright. So, this, first of all, oof. That's a lot of flames. This is for reign of fire. Look at all these. I'm gonna do this really quick like, so I'm gonna show you a technique pretty soon. So, it's just a bunch of flames, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Nothing exciting here. This is kinda the base. But this is where it gets interesting. This is where the paper, the white paper had to be put. The white paper's masked out. Right? The white paper's masked out. And then I had to put some page edges in. These page edges, I'm gonna pull this out. I'm only gonna spend a minut...

e on this, 'cause this is flat out, this is a flat out build. That means this is actually taking photos and masking them and building a flame thing. As opposed to like a trick, let's just say. So, the thing about this is, I often find folks are a little hesitant to make their own stock. You know, they'll search and search and search on Stock. Well, go out to your driveway, get some paper, light it up, and burn it. You can do it. That's what we do. There might be a fine for that, I don't know. Be careful in your neighborhood. Like, I live in L.A., so you want to be a little careful about this in L.A., especially in fire season. But, think out, stop thinking that you have to go get some stuff. You can make some stuff. And it's relatively easy. Okay? So, let me show you some blending techniques, without using this. I'm just gonna show you just a little bit what's stuck inside behind. This is sausage making I like to say. You know, I found you could shoot that with your iPhone, and use it in the flame. And it's just masked in. Okay? I have to admit, I think I'd build this a little differently with the skills I have now, versus then. But it's a, fire is all pretty much done the same way. That fire is on screen. I'm gonna show you this in just a second, outside of this file. So, it's a lot of little layering to get color and color, deeper and deeper, okay? So, let's talk about some techniques here. In my line of work, we do a lot of fire. Well, yeah, (mumbles) if we do a lot of fire. So, let's say I have that background scene, and I wanna put this torch flame in. And I wanna mask this. I don't wanna hand paint this mask, because it'll suck. It'll be blurry, it'll look nasty, and it'll take me forever. So, instead, what I'm gonna do, is go to the channels in Photoshop, and I'm gonna say, hey, are any of these gonna help me mask out these flames? Ooh, look at that. Aww. Green channel. Red channel, mm, probably not so much. Too broad. So, I'm gonna grab the green channel, and heck fire, I'm just gonna command click on the channel. So, I am, take your hands off. Anyone at home, freaking out. No big deal. Look what I'm doing. I'm on the layer of my torch flame, copy seven. Fantastic name. I've got my channels palette open. I'm literally clicking on the name of each color so I can see it. I would like to use the green channel, please. I'm holding my hand down on the command key. I'm putting my cursor over the icon for the green channel. Command, click. It has now loaded that as a selection. Going back to my RGB. And I'm saying, I would love a mask for that please. That's it. Now, did you see that blue channel? That blue channel was kinda cool. That's kinda cool. What if, I copy that first, I do a command L, 'cause Lisa loves some levels. Command L. Lisa loves levels. And I just make that just a tiniest bit contrast here. Is that a word, contrast here? More contrast, hmm, don't know. And then I command click on that one. I go back to my fire. I go ahead and put its regular mask on. But now I'm on the paint layer of that fire, and I hit command J, and I just add another little tiny bit of flame. I'm gonna put a black layer here underneath so you can see it, or gray. Black would be better. So, I just copied the tiniest little bit of yellow fire. And look how much richer that just made it. And that's two seconds. Flames in two seconds! You have to have the shot though. Minor problem. So, there's some flames. Really easy. Masked out channel pull. Cool? What if you do not want to do the channel pull? What if that scares you or you found a better way? Do you remember that boy on the, sorry, I've already, have it on here, so, I kinda blew the climactic show there. Do you remember the boy on the white, that we put on the wall? We moved his white sliders. Well, if we're logical thinkers, we know we can do the same. If I pull this slider over, the black's gonna disappear. That is chunky monkey, and looks awful. Chunky monkey looks awful. But that key she kept pressing all day. What the hell was up with the option key? Split your house. You're never gonna forget it now. There you go. There's gotta be a woo out there somewhere. No channel pulling. No nothing.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Cinematic Effects Presentation & Notes
Cloud Brush
Dust Brush
Light Ray Brush

Ratings and Reviews


Watching Lisa work her creative magic is so fun! This was such an incredible class, I can't wait to watch it over and over again while I practice using the tools and techniques that are covered. It's enough to make me want to move away from portrait work and into creative commercial art. Such an awesome class!


Lisa is a great teacher! She does move quickly, but I have found her instruction to be very precise, and focus. So I think the time she spends on each topic is very efficient, and thoroughly covered. I love her teaching style. Thank for for another great course Lisa!


There are so many ways to accomplish the same thing in Photoshop. But I always love to learn new ways. This is a great class if you are already comfortable with Photoshop. It is not a beginner class.

Student Work