[GFX] Flame Tutorial

Hi all,

A couple of people wanted to know how to make something similar to this:

So I thought I’d made a tutorial. It’s a really easy and very simple thing to create and useful for all sorts of bits and pieces. It’s the same technique I used in a logo.

This is a very basic tutorial but it’s a good base to start from. You can easily manipulate the flame to suit how you need it, and enhance it with textures, extra lighting effects and anything else really.

Things you need:

Okay, without further ado, let’s get to it. I have put instructions in bold.

*If you want to use Paint.NET, you’ll need to install the “smudge” tool by PyroChild. Thanks to Budweiser for that.

Firstly, create your new file (or new layer if you’re working on an existing project). For this tutorial, I used 500x500, but it’s up to you, it doesn’t make any difference.

Once you’ve got your file, create a new blank (transparent) layer. It’s always best to work on a transparent layer for things like this as you can then use it on other things.

Select the paintbrush tool:

The brush you want selected it just a round one with a low hardness (I used the default one in Photoshop) so that the edges fade nicely.

You’ll then want to select a darkish colour, depending on the colour of your flame. I used a red.

Then just place a dot in the middle of your canvas, but slightly down (to accommodate for the tongues):

Once you’ve done this, select a slightly lighter colour and a smaller brush size and draw another dot so that the edges of the previous dot are slightly visible:

Now repeat that step. Decrease the size of your brush and select a lighter colour still:

Do it again:

When you’ve got enough colours (I did 4 dots), select the smudge tool:

Now you just use the smudge tool to draw the tongues of the fire- drag the mouse upwards:

And keep going until you end up with something like this:

Ta da! Easy, right?

A couple of tips:

  • Flames are darker on the outside and lighter on the inside. Do the darkest colour first.
  • Flames aren’t one shade of the same colour! I went from a red to orange, to yellow. For a blue flame you might go from purple, to blue to cyan. If you do it all the same hue it won’t look as good.
  • Start smudging from the outside of the flame and from the base upwards. I.e. follow the direction of the flame.
  • Vary the smudge strength to vary the tongue length (weak = short, strong = long). However, generally, the flames in the middle are longer than those around the edges.
  • The tongues aren’t straight! They wiggle. Do the wiggle. BE THE WIGGLE.
  • It helps to look at pictures of flames to get an idea of the shape.
  • Always make sure you’re happy with each tongue before continuing. If you don’t like the shape, just hit CTRL+Z and try again.
  • You don’t have to drag the mouse quickly. It took me a while to realise that.
  • A graphics tablet will make this much easier.

I hope some people find this useful. If you have a go at it, post your examples here. I’d like to see what people come up with.

Wow, very nice, I will try it out in CS6, nice to see a GFX tutorial 😄

Awesome! Have you experimented with flattening several layered balls before smudging? Could look even more realistic.

Nice, this is my attempt :) http://prntscr.com/13z7ce This is my blue one (better imo) http://prntscr.com/13z8a8

Awesome! Have you experimented with flattening several layered balls before smudging? Could look even more realistic.

I haven’t, but you’re right, it might look great. I wanted to keep this as simple as possible though. :)

Nice, this is my attempt :) http://prntscr.com/13z7ce This is my blue one (better imo) http://prntscr.com/13z8a8

They look good - you might want to try a wider variety of hues. :)

Man’s Red Flower*, “Give me the power of man’s red flower.” Great tutorial by the way.

Edit: Found a Smudge tool for Paint.NET. http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?/topic/7291-pyrochild-plugins-2010-4-01/

Man’s Red Flower*, “Give me the power of man’s red flower.” Great tutorial by the way.

Edit: Found a Smudge tool for Paint.NET. http://forums.getpai…gins-2010-4-01/

Fix’d. And thanks. :)

Also, I’ve updated OP with a link for using Paint.NET. :)

Thanks for the tutorial. It’s very simple and not rocket science, GJ!

Thanks for the tutorial. It’s very simple and not rocket science, GJ!

Very welcome, and thanks. :)

I’ll try it out later today. And please more.

Cool

nice tutorial, too bad mine came out ugly

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