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Creating Lens Flare

Lesson 8 from: Creating a Cinematic Campaign with Special Effects

Lisa Carney

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Lesson Info

8. Creating Lens Flare

Next Lesson: Water Effects

Lesson Info

Creating Lens Flare

So, let's say you were doing the Jack Ryan piece and you had very little time. But you wanted to give him a lens flare. There is a stock option, as always. So I've got the stock shot. I use a lot of stock. I like it. It's good, it's different, it's not canned. And I drag it in here. And I move it wherever I want. I stuck it in a color folder. That wasn't very nice of me. Let's stick it out. Here's my stock. And, what if I just put it on screen mode? There you go. You've got a flare, you can move it. You have to pay for it though. At least once. And you've got a flare. The only nice thing about it is they are often different than what the canned flares are in Photoshop. But, let's go ahead and talk about the canned flares. So that's flare number one. Flare number two, I'm gonna just flatten this for ease. This is a render flare. When I make a render flare, I make a brand new layer. I never put a flare on a flat file ever. Like a copy merge. Make it flexible, put it on its own layer. Fil...

l it with black. Put it on screen before you start. Just, let's start with it on-screen. That means you see nothing. Why do you see nothing? Because on the mode called screen, black disappears. On the mode called screen, black disappears. And then I'm gonna pick render. And flare. It's been around for a hundred years. We all know we like it. Some of us like it. I'm a little tired of it, to be honest. There's his lens flare. The telltale sign it is a Photoshop lens flare is that red in it. So why don't you just desaturate it? Put a, hold the option, key of the day, option key down. Make sure you've got it clipped to the layer below. And just take the saturation down. Cool? All right, easy peasy lemon squeezy. And then I like to actually, when we do these lens flares, take the, put a mask on it. Take the gradient tool on radial and just pink a little out closer to the face, so it's no just so white. It's just a nice thing to do, mask it in a little bit. So, while that is all nice and good, I wanna show you something else. You guys doin' all right? Not bored? Learnin' a few things? All right. Oh, I forgot to show you the fire render. I'm gonna skip it 'cause I don't have time. Do you know how we just did the lens flare? Inside Photoshop there's also a flame render. Y'all know it, it's been around forever. You can also use this. I use this all the time. All right, so we just did flares and we did a stock shot or filter render. And the key you have to remember is your layer mode needs to be put on screen. On most of these effects, we have to go onto a screen. (gasps) What is this? What is this? Lens Flare Studio. I'm gonna ask you to spend some money. We're gonna say a little prayer to the gods that it runs because sometimes when I do demos, my plugins or my third party products, don't work. I am totally panicking to see what you guys are gonna see on my computer right now too. I didn't clear everything off. Lens Flare Studio is a free-standing application. It costs $29 and they have their own... Pardon me, it's $29 and they have a free trial, a free trial you can do. Holy guacamole, look what's in here! Oh, look at that. And you can edit 'em. You can change the opacity, the size, the color tint, the blur, the rotation of individual parts in here, saturation, the source light, the artifacting, you can change all this. And that was just one flare. You can add flares to each other. So you can add multiple flares on top of each other. And you can save 'em out. You save them out, this is not in Photoshop. This is its own file, its own document. And then you can save it out. You can export, save project as, export image. This is how I tend to do it. I will call it Jack Ryan flare 75, Jack Ryan Carney flare. And I save 'em in the job folder. 'Cause you know you have to do 75 of them, you can't decide which one you want. You can save a png, a jpeg, or a tif. I'm gonna save a png. You can also open this, open a file in Photoshop. Pardon me, take a Photoshop file and drag it in here and put a flare smack on it. I never do that. Why? Because I need it to be flexible. Right? But, here's what you could do. You could take a flat Photoshop file, open it inside this freestanding program. Right, just open your Photoshop file? Figure out the flare you want, don't save it, and then redo the flare with nothing on it. And then, I'm just gonna quit outta here. There's my Jack Ryan flare, not labeled. I wish it labeled the flare with the name you gave it, but that's all right. Put it on screen mode. There's my flare that I've done. Oh, look, do you see that little box around it? You're not panicking because you know Lisa loves levels. And why is it showing? When you're on the mode called screen, black disappears, but anything lighter than black is gonna show. So you just go to your levels, move, you can see it. Look on this chart. Do you see this little, tiny area? That's your black. Woo hoo, it's gone. Slide this cursor over. And now you're free to warp, scale, do whatever you want to do to this flare. It's 30 bucks. That's all it is. Please no one complain about me always telling you to buy stuff. If you're a working professional and you want it, buy it. If you're not, forget I said it and move on. Curvature of the earth, can you see it right there? You just do that, it's in two seconds. So, if you want it, it's 30 bucks. They have a free trial. I'm sure they're lovely people. I don't know them. All right, and so this would be done on something like this. What is this one? I don't know. X-Men, X-Men who? I get so confused, these names. There's so many names. It's not the Avengers, it's not the friends of the Endgame. I don't know who these people are, I'm too old.

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