Version: 7.0
Difficulty Level:

This tutorial shows how to make flaming text, but the technique will work with any kind of object. Here's what the finished product looks like from this tutorial:

Step 1:

Start by creating a new document (canvas) and filling it with black. I made mine 480 by 300 pixels @ 72 pixels per inch. Create a Text layer for the text to be burned. For this example, this site's name will be used: The font used is a 72pt Arial Black with a font color of white. After you've typed in what you want, choose Layer->Rasterize->Type to turn the text into pixels. Use the Move tool to reposition the text so that it's centered horizontally and is just a little below the center line vertically. You might want to use guides to help you position your text within the canvas. Here's what it should look like at this point:

Step 2:

Duplicate the layer with the text on it. You will use the duplicated text layer later to create the foreground text effect and the original text layer to create the rising flames illusion. Work on the middle layer (the original text layer) next. Use the Wind filter to achieve the affect of flames rising. This filter only works going to the left or right. Next, rotate the canvas, choose Image->Rotate Canvas->90 CW. Make sure the middle layer is still selected and choose Filter->Stylize->Wind. Select "Wind" and "From the Left" in the options and click OK. We need more wind than one application of the filter provides, key Ctrl-F (Windows) three times to apply the filter three more times. You can use more or less applications depending on how high you want the flames to go. Rotate the canvas back to normal with Image->Rotate Canvas-> 90 CCW. This is what it should look like now:

Step 3:

Make the wind streaks look more like flames by blurring them together. Select Filter->Blur->Gaussian Blur and set the radius to 2 (make sure you still have the middle layer selected). You can use more or less blur depending on how you want the flames to look. Here's is the look you want to achieve:

Step 4:

The next step is to give the flame layer a black background. To do this, duplicate Layer 1 (the original background layer) and merge this duplicate layer with the blurred text layer (middle layer) we just made. This won't change the look of the image just yet, but you will need the layers merged for color adjustments later. With the middle layer still selected, go to Filter->Liquify. This filter will give the flames a wavy look. Set the brush size to 1 and pressure to 50. Use the Warp tool and pull up on the letters to get a sort of rising "S" pattern over the letters. Also push a bit around the sides of the letters to show some flames coming from the sides, and don't forget to work around the inside of any letters such as the "c" and "o". This step takes a little practice and patience with some trial and error. Check the mesh checkbox under the View Options to help in Liquifying. Click OK once you are satisfied with Liquifying filter:


Step 5:

This step will add color to the merged layer. Select Image->Adjustments->Hue/Saturation and select Colorize. Bring Saturation up to 100 and set Hue to about 40. Here is what the layer should look like:

Step 6:

Duplicate the colorized layer and select this duplicate in the layers palette. Select Image->Adjustments->Hue/Saturation again, this time with Colorize off. Set the Hue to -20 to make the flames red. Very important: Set the Blending Mode of this duplicate layer to Overlay. Here is what your project should look like so far:

Step 7:

Next, add some color to the top text layer that just has white letters at the moment (the one that was duplicated in Step 2). Click on the top layer to make it active and click on the Lock Transparency icon above the layer. This protects all the transparent pixels in the layer from changes so we can change the color of the text alone. We'll make the text a gradient from yellow to brown, so set the foreground color to #f9e400 and the background color to #a36a06. Select the Gradient Tool and swipe a gradient from top to bottom across the letters. Because of the locked transparency, only the text is affected by the gradient tool:


Step 8:

A Layer Style will be used next to add more depth to the letters. Add a Drop Shadow to the text layer that was just used for a gradient, by using the following settings:

  • Blend Mode: Multiply
  • Color: #ee6a00
  • Opacity: 55%
  • Angle: 120
  • Use Global Light: Yes
  • Distance: 3
  • Spread: 3
  • Size: 10

Add a red Inner Shadow with the following settings:

  • Blend Mode: Multiply
  • Color: #ec0606
  • Opacity: 65%
  • Angle: 120
  • Use Global Light: Yes
  • Distance: 10
  • Choke: 0
  • Size: 49

Click Ok to finish the flaming text effect:

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