Recipe 4.5. Adding fire and flames

It's a natural phenomenon that has fascinated mankind since time immemorial. Fire! There are a few, sadly rather expensive plug-ins that can be used with Photoshop to recreate fire and flames, but here we'll look at a technique using Photoshop exclusively, without any add-ons.

The most difficult aspect of recreating fire is its essentially random quality. For this, we'll use the Clouds filter as a starting point, which has a great degree of randomness built in. Color is all-important when it comes to fire, so we'll use a customized Gradient Map to add this vital component.

So, fire up Photoshop, and feel the heat!

1 To begin, we need to isolate the saxophone from its background. Hit Q on the keyboard to enter Quick Mask mode, choose the Brush mode, choose the Brush tool and paint with black over the entire saxophone, taking to follow the edges precisely. This will result in the whole object being covered with the red Quick Mask. Now hit Q again, to exit the mode and generate a selection.

2 Soften the selection a little via Select > Refine Edge, using a Feather Radius of 5 pixels. Paste a duplicate copy of the instrument by going to Edit > ...

Get Photoshop CS3 Photo Effects Cookbook now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.