Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Adding lens flare

From: Photoshop Creative Effects Workshop

Video: Adding lens flare

Admittedly in most case you're likely trying to avoid the appearance of lens flare in your images. However, at times you might actually want to add lens flare to accentuate dramatic lighting. My preference is to add lens flare that only exhibits a lighting variation, not a color variation. In fact when I capture a photo that actually contains lens flare which often happens when the sun is included in the frame for example. I often remove only the color effect, and not the actual flare effect. Let's take a look at how we can add a lens flare effect to a photo. In this case, I'm going to use a separate layer, so that I protect my original pixels.

Adding lens flare

Admittedly in most case you're likely trying to avoid the appearance of lens flare in your images. However, at times you might actually want to add lens flare to accentuate dramatic lighting. My preference is to add lens flare that only exhibits a lighting variation, not a color variation. In fact when I capture a photo that actually contains lens flare which often happens when the sun is included in the frame for example. I often remove only the color effect, and not the actual flare effect. Let's take a look at how we can add a lens flare effect to a photo. In this case, I'm going to use a separate layer, so that I protect my original pixels.

So I'm going to add a new layer, but one with special properties. So instead of simply clicking on the Create New Layer button. I'm going to hold the Alt key on Windows, or the Option key on Macintosh while clicking on the Create a New Layer button. That blank sheet of paper icon at the bottom of Layers panel. Doing so will cause the New Layer dialog to appear. I'll give this new layer a name, I'll call it lens flare since I'm using it to create a lens flare effect, and I'm going to change the blend mode to the Hard Light Blend mode. This is a contrast blend mode which will increase contrast in the underlying image, but it will do so with a very strong effect. I'll then turn on the Fill With Hard Light Neutral Color check box so that this layer will be filled with 50% grey.

Now when I click Okay you'll notice that that 50% grey does not appear in the image. And that's because with the hard light blend mode, middle grey is effectively invisible. Now I'm ready to apply the actual lens flare effect. I'll chose the Filter menu and then go to Render and choose Lense Flare. This will bring up the lens flare dialog which is relatively straightforward.I can choose the particular type of lens. Each lens will produce a different type of flare. And in this case I think I'll go with the 35 millimeter prime option. And I can also adjust the brightness, the overall intensity of the effect. I'll keep it a little bit strong so we can see a little more exactly what's going on here.

I'll click Okay to apply the effect and you can see I now have a lens flare effect within the image. Of course you can also see that I have some color effect here. I've got a green element in this foreground bit of lens flare and in the background, a little bit of magenta and some other colors going on there. I'd like the lens flare to only affect the luminosity, the overall tonality of my image, so I'm going to add an adjustemnt that will cause this lens flare layer to be gray scale only. In this case, I'll use a hue saturation adjustment for the effect.

I'll click on the Create New Adjustment Layer button, the half black, half white circle at the bottom of the Layers panel, and then choose Hue Saturation from the pop up list. I'll reduce the saturation completely, but you'll notice that this is causing the entire image to be converted to grayscale. I don't want the overall image to be grayscale; I only want my lens flare layer to be in grayscale. So now, with the hue saturation adjustment layer active, I'll choose Layer, Create Clipping Mask from the menu. This will place the hue saturation adjustment into a clipping mask with my lens-flared layer so that only the lens-flared layer is affected.

In other words, the lens-flared layer and no other layers in the image is being converted to black and white. Or more specifically is just having the color saturation completely reduced. As you can see, I've applied a relatively strong lens flare effect. I can tone that down by choosing the lens flare layer. Simply clicking on it on the layers panel. And then reducing the opacity control at the top right of the layers panel. I'll reduce that a bit more. That looks to be a pretty good effect. I can also choose the Move tool from the top of the tool box and then click and drag in the image to move the actual lens flare effect.

In this case, for example, I would like to have it lined up with the sun and overlapping a bit more with this foreground rock. And that looks to be a pretty good position for my lens flare. And of course, I can continue fine-tuning the opacity to adjust the strength of the lens flare within the image, but I think a nice subtle effect here is going to work out pretty well. By adding the small step of working on a separate layer and utilizing a blend mode, it's possible to add a lens flare effect that preserves the original pixel values in an image.

We can also use a hue saturation adjustment layer, put into a clipping group with our lens flare layer, in order to only alter the luminents component of the image. In other words, to apply a lens flare. That effects the overall tonality of specific areas of the image without causing any color changes at all in your photo.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Creative Effects Workshop
Photoshop Creative Effects Workshop

31 video lessons · 764 viewers

Tim Grey
Author

 

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Photoshop Creative Effects Workshop.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.