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Photoshop - Lens Flare

Here we look at the Lens Flare, a filter often accused by more accomplished Photoshoppers as being too "obvious". Used with discretion and accuracy, it can certainly play a part in your photo manipulation. One area of concern is the positioning of a flare within the image. Here's how it's done.

When applied, the dialog box has a very small preview window, making precise positioning of the Flare difficult. I've seen all sorts of ridiculous tweaks to get round this (usually creating a new layer, filling with neutral gray and changing
the Mode to "Overlay"). Forget all that, this is how it's done!

Go to EDIT...Preferences...Units & Rulers and make sure the "Rulers" are set to pixels:(this is because pixels are used in a supplementary dialog box as we'll see later).

photoshop preferences dialog box

Make sure the Info palette is visible (WINDOW...Info):

photoshop info palette

The X dimension is the number of pixels from the left of the image to the target object. The Y dimension is the number of pixels from the top of the image to the target object.

Switch to the Move Tool and position it's pointer exactly where you want the Lens Flare to be. Look at the X and Y dimensions within the Info palette and make a note of them.

Go to FILTER...Render...Lens Flare and when the dialog box comes up, left-click and press the Alt key down within the preview window. You will be presented with a supplementary dialog box where you can enter the exact coordinates to math those in the Info palette.

lens flare dialog box

For a superior lens flare plug-in, check out Knoll's Light Factory.