How to Make Muzzle Flashes in Photoshop


Adobe Photoshop is an unparalleled program when it comes to manipulating digital images and mixing elements of graphic design with photographic elements. You can create anything you can imagine and put it right next to you in a picture of yourself. The possibilities are endless. One of the things you can do is add a cool-looking muzzle flash to a gun graphic or photo.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Open a new document in Photoshop by pressing ctrl + N (command + N for Mac) or selecting "New" from the "File" dropdown menu.

  • Create a new layer by clicking the dog-eared page icon at the bottom of the "Layers" palette.

  • Select the "Elliptical Marquee Tool" and create a long, thin ellipse selection by clicking and dragging out with the tool.

  • Select "Edit-> Fill" to fill the selection with a very light red, almost pink color. Deselect the ellipse by pressing ctrl + d (command + d for Mac).

  • Create two concentric, smaller ellipses within your first and repeat the "Edit-> Fill" process, once with a bright yellow color and then white for the last, smallest ellipse.

  • Select Filter-> Blur-> Gaussian Blur and set the radius to a figure more than 6 pixels in the Gaussian Blur dialogue box. Your ellipses should be bleeding together and starting to look like a flash.

  • Select your "Smudge Tool" from the Tools panel and set the brush to a large size in the control panel above your canvass. 25 pixels is a good figure at first. Use the tool to smudge the outsides of your blurred ellipses to look like a flame by clicking on the edges of color and dragging them. Go around the entire ellipse and repeat with a size 10 smudge tool. It should look like a flame now.

  • Click on the "FX" icon in the "Layers" palette and click on "Outer Glow." Keep the blend mode on "Screen" and set the opacity to about 80 percent. Set the spread to 35 percent and the size to 1 pixel. You should now have a realistic looking muzzle flash.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can use whatever colors and shapes you like for your flash, and you are encouraged to experiment with different figures for the outer glow. Fiddle with the settings until you get the muzzle flash you like best.

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