Photo Manipulation Tutorial for Adding Fire or Flame to a Portrait

Combine different images and brushes to create an outstanding or photo manipulation with this tutorial. The Final image would be similar to the image below, where we have used Kristen Stewart as our portrait which we we will modify upon.

add fire effect

Step 1: Setting Up

Setting Up

Open the image on which manipulation is to be conducted. Open a new document in photoshop. Fill the background with #535a5e and place the model pic as shown.

Step 2: Background


Add some texture to background of your choice. Try to give cloudy effect.

Step 3: Editing the model picture

Editing the model picture

Duplicate the model picture twice. And then use Filter > Oil Paint effect on the top model layer. Use Mask Layer to show the effects on the hair and the dress only. And name it “Hair”. On the model layer use Dodge and Burn tool [D] to bring out more highlights and shadows. Group the Layers and within the group create a new layer and Image >Apply Image. Select the same layer and go to Filter>0ther>High Pass and choose where the lines become blur and “glow”
This will put more details then using just sharpen filter. After that Change the blend mode to Overlay at 100% Opacity.
Also create a mask to have the effect on the model only not the background. Notice that the duplicated second model layer is masked too.

Step 4: Editing the background

Editing the background

If you switch off the 1st model layer you will see that the model doesn’t fit into the background because of the glow. We are going to use the first model layer to blend the model into the background to fit right in. Create a layer mask and fill it with black. Select a white soft brush and just paint the model and the areas around her. Be careful not to paint over the head because that will show a line. Create a new adjustment ‘colour balance’ layer above the model layer and set the values as shown. Now we have finished editing the model picture and the background. Time to put more elements into the composition.

Step 5: Make it rain

Make it rain

Download rain and water splashes brushes. You can find them at deviantart. Create a new layer below the grouped model layers. Select the rain brush and set the size to small since it’s the raindrops behind the model. Brush around the canvas till you get the desired result. Create a new layer above the group and do the same thing but with middle size brush. Create another layer and then this time set the size to bigger. And select the layer and Gaussian blur it. The raindrops don’t look realistic because we cannot see splashes on the model’s body. Create a new layer and choose a water splash brush and brush on the hair, the face, and shoulders to show the splashes.

Step 6: Burned skin

Burned skin

Open burned skin texture. Desaturate the layer [Shift + Cmd + U] and use levels to make it darker. Set the blend mode to overlay and use layer mask to set it on the model. Duplicate the texture layer and move around to put more texture if you wish.

Step 7: Fire


Open Fire image. Change the blending mode to linear dodge and use warp tool to change the ‘flow’ of fire. Erase the borders. Duplicate the fire layer and place it around the model. Create a new layer, choose a soft brush and paint with #ee8c4d on the right side where the ‘scar’ and the fire is. After that, change the blending mode to overlay. It will create the glow of the fire and make it more realistic. We are nearly done dealing with fire but we have to create smoke to show the interaction between fire and rain. Download a smoke brush. Create a new layer and brush lightly on the ‘scar’.

Step 8: Details


Create a new layer and name it “sparks”. Download free falling sparks brush set. Set the colour to #ee8c4d and change the blend mode to linear dodge. Again, brush around the ‘scar’ to create fiery sparks. Create another layer and download free dust particle photoshop brush set. Set the colour to black and brush around to create ‘ash’ and particles being blown away.

Step 9: Enhancements


Create a new layer and select a soft brush and choose the colour #ee8c4d and brush on the right top side of the canvas. Set the blend mode to linear dodge to create a fake light source. Create a new layer beneath the grouped model layer and paint with big soft brush with black colour around the corner to create a vignette. After all, create a hue/saturation adjustment layer and set the settings. After it put in some noise texture to create grudge effects. And you’re done.


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