In this Photoshop tutorial, we’ll cover a bunch of different ways to cover creating light leaks and lens flares. We’ll talk about mixing blend modes and brushes, we’ll talk about the adjustment brush and non-destructive, we’ll look at blending in light leaks, and we’ll take a look at a trick that makes the built-in Lens Flare feature of Photoshop a bit more usable. Check it out! I think you’ll really enjoy it!
NOTE: Here we’ll only cover one of the five methods I cover in the video. Check it out to see all the different methods of lens flares you can create!
Laying Down the Brush Dabs
Grab the Brush tool and set the brush tip size to something big and right-click on your image and set the brush tip shape hardness to 0%. Set your foreground color to white and click one or two times to lay down a soft-edged dot of white in the middle of your PSD. Duplicate this layer by hitting Cmd/Ctrl + J and select the lower layer, hit Cmd/Ctrl + T to free transform and grab one of the corner handles and hold down Shift + Alt/Opt and drag this lower blurred circle until it is about 130% larger based on the percentage readout in the top control bar.
Colorize the Bigger Brush with Hue/Saturation
With the lower layer selected, go Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation and tick on the Colorize option and then reduce the Lightness slider about -50 and boost the Saturation until you can see lots of color and then slide the Hue slider until you get the color you desire for your flare. I usually go with blues or oranges depending on the project.
Blend Modes, Opacity, and Positioning
Once you have colored your larger bottom flare, set that layer to the blend mode Screen, reduce the Opacity to around 70% and then select the smaller white blob on top and set that layer to the blend mode to Color Dodge (add) and reduce the Fill opacity of this layer until you just start to see blown out details from the underlying image. Make sure you watch the video at the top of this post to see exactly how I create this lens flare and a few other types of lens flares, too!