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Photoshop tutorials » Special effects » Ring of fire Photoshop tutorial

Ring of fire Photoshop tutorial

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Ring of fire tutorial created by loopKamel

Final product:

ring of fire

Step 1: Start off by creating a new image, because details are the most important, the document must be large, make sure it forms a perfect square. For this I set my image size to 2400x2400 px. Set background color to black. Now create a new layer, fill it in black too and name the layer "Base". Make sure you have the default black and white as foreground and background colors, go to Filter > Render > Difference Clouds, apply it 5 more times.


For better results open Image > Adjustments > Levels and click on Auto, and shift the midtones to the right a bit. Hit the Ok button.


Step 2: Now, go to Filters > Render > Lighting Effects and enter these parameters:
Light Type: Spotlight
(Make the light shape a perfect circle as its shown in the image below)
Color: #FFF001
Intensity: 20
Focus: 45

Color: #C80002
Gloss: 40
Material: 100
Exposure: 40
Ambience: 40


Step 3: Now, open Image > Adjustments > Levels again. Go to the red channel controls and set the dark side in output levels to 100.

red levels

Now, go to the green channel controls and set the Input level for midtones to 0.90.

green levels

Now in blue channel controls set the dark slide in output levels to 50. Hit Ok.

blue levels

Step 4: Create another layer, fill it with white and name it "Fibers". Go to Filters > Render > Fibers, set variance to 6, and strength to 47, hit Ok. Now apply Filters > Distort > Polar Coordinates, choose Rectangular to Polar and Hit Ok. Still on the same layer, go to Filters > Blur > Radial Blur, set parameters to Amount to 100, Blur Method to Zoom and Quality to Best, and hit Ok. Finally for this layer, select all, copy and paste in another new document, flatten it, save wherever you want as: deform.psd and close it.


Step 5: Now go back to the "Fibers" layer and set it to Hard Light and its opacity to 65%, go to Image > Adjustments > Levels, make sure you are in RGB Channel controls and set the White Output Levels to about 165. This makes the image a little bit more dramatic.

photoshop levels

Step 6: Select the layer named "Base". Go to Filters > Distort > Displace, Horizontal and Vertical scale must be 10, leave the other parameters as default, hit Ok. In the next window you must choose a file, then, select the file deform.psd and hit Ok.


Step 7: Still the "Base" layer, go to Filters > Distort > Glass, and set distortion to 9, smoothness to 12, Texture to Frosted and Scaling to 130%, also check invert. hit Ok.


Step 8. With the eyedropper tool, take a sample from the very brightest yellow of the image, then go to Select > Color Range, set Fuzziness to around 80 and hit Ok. Keep the resulting selection active and create a new layer, fill selection with White color. Deselect and apply Filters > Blur > Radial Blur, set amount to 35, Method to Zoom and Quality to Best. Hit Ok.

color range

Step 9. Now we need to shift colors a little on the layer named "Base", select this layer and go to Image > Adjustments > Levels, select Channel Green and set its midtone Input Levels to 1.50 or until you see a nice warm orange appear in the fire ball.


Step 10. Now select the upper most layer, hit (Cmnd+Shift+A) to select all. Then go to Edit > Copy Merged. Now we need to go to the channels palette and create a new Alpha Channel. Paste the clipboard contents in this new channel. Make sure you are not pasting it in a new layer instead of this channel.

Load this channel as a selection, to do this select it in the channel palette and press the button with the dotted circle shape in the base of the channels palette, then invert this selection by hitting cmnd+shift+i (or you can go to Select > Inverse).


Create a new Layer, name it "HardLight" and fill the selection with a burned red color, I used for it this #3C1111. Set the transfer mode of this layer to Hard Light and keep its opacity at 100%.

color picker

Step 11. We need to mess with the shape of the fireball, in order to be more natural try to get this shape as natural as you can, like a fire cloud or something. Use the brush tool for this, painting gently the borders with black and blend tones with the burn tool at 50% opacity, make sure you fill with black all the borders of the image, keeping the fire cloud in the middle of the canvas but not to much.

Step 12. Merge all layers but Background and rename the layer to "Burn", here is where all of the work pays off. Go to Filters > Distort > Polar Coordinates and set it to Polar to Rectangular, hit Ok. If all worked as expected and you followed all of these steps, you are probably saying something like whoooaa!, exactly like me when I got to this point for the first time, Nice... right?

polar coordinates

Step 13. Rotate the image 180 degrees and reduce it as you want, set the layer transfer mode to Lighten, burn the flames edges that reach the borders with the burn tool set it up at 50%. Duplicate this layer a couple of times and resize them in order to refine the shape of the fire image, do it as you wish. Check the layers in the next step image to get an idea of what you can do, that is up to you.

photoshop flames

Step 14. When you are satisfied with the result, you can enhance the fire effect, make a Merged Copy of all layers and paste it in a new layer, go to Filters > Other > High Pass, apply it with a 6-8 radio and set the layer transfer mode to Soft Light. Paste again and apply a 15 radius Gaussian Blur effect. Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue Saturation and set parameters to Colorize, Hue to 0, Saturation to 40 and Lightness to -5. Hit Ok. When you are done duplicate the background layer, link with all the other layers but the background and hit cmnd+E (or you can choose merge linked).

photoshop layers

Step 15. Turn the image -90 degrees. Hit Enter key to apply.


Step 16. Go to Select > Transform Selection, make it wide as shown

select flames

Step 17. Go to Filters > Distort > Shear. Do as shown in the image.


Step 18. Now Create a new layer and make a circle filled with black, on its Layer Styles add a nice halo effect, use a Drop Shadow for it, Outer Glow and even Stroke to do this. Make it as you wish.


Step 19. Deform the Burned layer until it fits the circle as shown. Hit cmnd+T and drag the lower left handle of the bounds while you keep pressed alt+Cmnd+Shift keys. Hit enter to apply deformation.

fire ring

Step 20. Duplicate the Burn layer, scale vertical to almost 45%, set the horizontal to 100%.

scale fire

Put the fire just below the circle layer and go to Effects > Distort > Polar Coordinates and mark Rectangular to Polar. Hit Ok. Use the image result to enhance the halo in the planet. Set this layer transfer mode to Lighten.

polar coords

Also you can add another copy of this layer to complete the halo at the top, just turn it around -150 degrees.

-150 degrees

Step 21. For the smoke clouds behind make a selection based on circles as shown,


fill this with white in a new layer, apply a large amount of gaussian blur. Now you need to lock the transparency of the layer, (a little check box in the layers palette below the transfers mode menu).

lock transparent pixels

Go to Filters > Render > Difference Clouds and apply over three times. Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation and check Colorize, set Hue to 5, Saturation to 85 and Lightness to -49.

hue / saturation

Voila! You're finally finished!

photoshop ring of fire

Tutorial created by loopKamel

This Photoshop tutorial was originally posted on DQS.

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