How to Create Realistic Fire in Photoshop

Are you tired of using generic, clipart-like fire images in your designs? Do you want to add a touch of realism to your digital artwork or photography? Look no further! In this blog post, we will guide you step-by-step on how to create realistic fire in Photoshop. Whether you want to enhance a fiery sunset, create an explosive effect, or simply add a subtle flame to your artwork, we have you covered. With the help of some ingenious Photoshop tools and techniques, you’ll be able to produce impressive flames that are guaranteed to captivate your audience. So, let’s dive in and unlock the secrets of creating lifelike fire effects!

How to Create Realistic Fire in Photoshop


Hey there and welcome to Phlearn! My name is Aaron Nace, and today I’m going to show you how to create realistic fire in Photoshop. Fire is a light source, meaning that it brightens the objects around it. To make it look realistic, it’s important to choose an image that already has a light source where you want to place the fire. In this tutorial, I’ll guide you on how to composite and manipulate stock photos to create realistic fire effects in your images.

Step 1: Importing Fire Images

In Photoshop, go to File > Scripts > Load Files into a Stack. This feature allows you to add multiple images together. Download the fire stock images from Phlearn’s website and add them to the stack. Arrange the images so that your main image with the light source is at the bottom, and the fire images are stacked above it. Change the blend mode of the fire images to “Screen”. This blend mode will eliminate the dark parts of the images, leaving only the light parts.

Step 2: Cropping and Adjusting Levels

Crop the image using the Crop Tool (shortcut: “C”) to focus on your desired final image. Sometimes, there may be slight outlines or inconsistencies in the background. To fix this, adjust the levels by pressing Ctrl/Cmd + L. Make the darks a little bit darker to blend the fire seamlessly into the image.

Step 3: Transform and Position the Fire

Use Ctrl/Cmd + T to enter the Transform mode and resize, rotate, or position the fire to fit your image. Experiment with different fire images to achieve the desired effect. Combining different fire images can create more complex and realistic fire patterns.

Step 4: Fine-tuning with Layer Masks

To control where the fire appears and ensure realism, create a layer mask on the fire layer. Paint with black on the layer mask to hide the fire in areas where you don’t want it to show up. Take care to blend the fire edges with existing objects in the image, as fire always has a defined shape.

Step 5: Adding Glow Effects

To enhance the realism and add more detail, create a new layer above the fire layers. Use the Brush Tool (shortcut: “B”) with a sample of the fire color, and paint over areas where you want the fire to emit a glow. Change the blend mode of this layer to “Color Dodge” to achieve the desired fire effect. Adjust the opacity of the layer if needed.


Creating realistic fire effects in Photoshop is a matter of selecting a suitable image with a light source, compositing fire stock photos, and using layer masks and blending modes to achieve a seamless integration. Experiment with different fire images and apply precise adjustments to create an impressive and believable fire effect in your photographs.

How to Create Realistic Fire in Photoshop – FAQ

1. What are the essential steps to create realistic fire in Photoshop?

To create realistic fire in Photoshop, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Open your desired image in Photoshop.
  2. Create a new layer and name it “Fire.”
  3. Choose the “Brush Tool” and select a brush with a soft edge.
  4. Select the color palette and choose a vibrant orange or red color.
  5. Start drawing the flames and shapes of the fire using the brush tool.
  6. Adjust the brush size and opacity to add depth and variation.
  7. Add additional layers for different flame details, such as highlights or embers.
  8. Apply the “Gaussian Blur” filter to soften the edges of the fire.
  9. Adjust the blending mode of the “Fire” layer to “Screen.”
  10. Use the “Transform” tool to resize or rotate the fire as needed.
  11. Finally, tweak the overall colors and tones to achieve a realistic fire effect.

2. Are there any useful tools or filters for enhancing the fire effect?

Apart from the basic steps, Photoshop offers various tools and filters to enhance the fire effect, including:

  • Smudge Tool: Use the smudge tool to create fire streaks or blend the flames seamlessly.
  • Overlay Textures: Apply texture overlays like fire sparks or smoke to give more depth and realism.
  • Color Grading: Experiment with different color adjustment layers to achieve the desired fiery look.
  • Gradient Maps: Applying a gradient map with warm colors can add richness to the fire.
  • Distort Filters: Filters like “ZigZag” or “Wave” can create dynamic fire shapes or distortions.

3. Are there any recommended resources or tutorials to learn more about fire effects in Photoshop?

Yes, there are several great resources and tutorials available to further enhance your knowledge and skills in creating fire effects in Photoshop. Here are a few recommended ones:

Remember, practice and experimentation are key to refining your skills in creating realistic fire effects in Photoshop. Enjoy the process!

I hope you find useful my article How to Create Realistic Fire in Photoshop, I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.

If you need help with anything join the community or do not hesitate to contact me.

Best of luck! and follow your passion.

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