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Photoshop - Flames...or smoke


One of the best flames effects we've done - ideal for many situations and here we kick off with a sig. Smoke can also be created this way - simply omit steps 2 to 5. First we'll do the groundwork in Photoshop and then animate it in ImageReady.

Finished flames sig

smokey joe's

1. Start off with a new image 400px square. Press D to return your Foreground/Background colors to Black/White and go to FILTER...Render...Clouds.

2. Now go to FILTER...Render...Difference Clouds. Once you've done that, repeat this step 20 -25 times by pressing Ctrl + F. This may seem excessive, but it will only take seconds and the end result will benefit from it.

When you first re-apply the Difference Clouds filter, the image will seem to swap between a darker image and a lighter one. What we're looking for is the emergence of a "marbled" look similar to the image to the right. (Everybodys result will, of course, vary but we're looking for a random, displaced effect).

Flames - difference clouds
3. The next step is IMAGE...Adjustments...Gradient Map. The box to the right will appear. Click on the "gradient" window (outlined in red). Gradient Map
4. A dialog box will follow where you can customize a gradient. What we are looking for (approx.) is a black to white gradient with a red "stop" at around 25% and a yellow stop at roughly 75%. Press OK. flames - gradient map 2

5. Keeping this image open, we'll create a new image (FILE...New) at 300 wide x 80px high. Make sure you re-arrange the two windows so you can see part of both. Go to the first project and select the Move Tool. Drag the flames you made right into the other project. Align it so that the upper left corner of the flame image is in the upper left hand corner of the sig. Keep your cursor within the document area while dragging - if you stray off it, the image will "snap" back. This leaves a majority of the flames hanging off the right and bottom of the signature project.

If you are doing "smoke", resume the tutorial here.

6. At this stage, you can add text, borders etc., but make sure these are on separate layers to the "flames" layer! Now switch to ImageReady by clicking the button at the bottom of the toolbar. Make sure that the Animation/Layers and Preview panels are on display. Make sure you're on the Flames layer and duplicate this frame by clicking the icon as below:
animation palette 7. Grab the Move Tool (Press V). Move the flame so that the lower right of the flame image is aligned with the lower right side of the signature. Again, if you stray out of the document window, the image will snap back.

8. Select the first frame in the Animation window, then press the tween button Tween button (immediately before the "Duplicate Frame" icon).

9. The box to the right will appear. Use the settings as shown. This means that, with the first frame selected we will be adding twenty more frames between that frame and the final frame (the one we duplicated).

Click OK and the new frames will be added.

Tween dialog box
10. Almost there. Click on the arrow at the far-right of the Animation palette and, from the drop-down menu, select "Select All Frames". Then click on the tiny arrow under any of the frames (next to 0 sec) and choose the timing of the animation. We chose 0.1 sec. This will apply this timing to each frame. Click on the "Play" button to view your animation. Go to FILE...Save Optimized As.. and you're done! Timing animation
The "smoke" sig here was created by adding text on a separate layer - remember, keep all text, borders etc. on different layers to your flame/smoke layer.
The Horizontal Type Mask tool Horizontal Type Mask tool was used to create the text, a 2px black stroke was applied to it and the Layer Blend mode set to Overlay.
smokey joe's