Create the Sun
Skill Level: Advanced
Bring some brightness to you photos by adding the brightest thing of all -the sun! In this tutorial learn how to create the sun (including lens flare) from scratch.
With your photo open in Photoshop, first use the oval shape tool to draw a white circle that will be your sun.
Double-click on the layer to bring up the Layer Styles box, and click on the Stroke option.
Set the size of the Stroke to 6px and the Color to #ffa200.
When you’re done, right click on the layer and choose Rasterize.
Go to filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur, and set the Radius to 6px.
Next we’ll add a gradient for the sun’s glow. Click on the adjustment layer button at the bottom of the layers panel, and chose Gradient.
When the Gradient Fill dialog box appears, click on the Gradient box to bring up the Gradient Editior.
Choose a 2 colour gradient (white and pink), and arrange the sliders as shown above.
Back in the gradient dialog box, set the style to Radial and the Scale to 120%.
When you’re done, rasterize the layer and change it’s blending mode to Screen.
Now make sure the glow is centred over the sun.
Next draw a large orange circle over the sun, then right click on the layer and choose Convert to Smart Object.
Add a Gaussian Blur set to 6px.
Change the layers blending mode to Soft Light, and the Opacity to 10%.
Now add another Gradient adjustment layer using blue, green, yellow and red, with the sliders arranged as shown above.
Set the style to Radial, and click OK.
Duplicate the layer, and double click on the duplicate’s thumbnail to edit it.
Take the scale down to 30%.
Convert both the layers to Smart objects and change their blending modes to Screen.
Next we’ll create some rays of light. Add a Gradient adjustment layer with the gradient fading from orange to yellow to white.
Rasterize the gradient layer, and make a rectangular selection from one end to the other, as shown above.
Invert the selection and delete it, to leave you with just a thin strip.
Use the Perspective transform tool to make the strip slightly narrower at the white end.
Now go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur, and set the Angle to 3 and the Distance to 800px.
Change the layers blending mode to Screen, and its Opacity to 20%.
Position the ray where you want it, then duplicate the layer to add more rays going out on other directions.
For variation, use the transform tool to make each ray a different length and thickness. You can also apply a Gaussian Blur to some rays, and change their opacity slightly.
Finally we’ll add some grain to make the lens flare look more organic.
Add a new layer above all the others, and fill it with grey. Then go to Filter>Texture>Grain…
Set the Intensity to 100, the Contrast to 50, and set the Grain Type to Clumped.
Change the grain layer’s blending mode to Color Dodge, and it’s Opacity to 10%.
Here’s the final result.
Don’t forget you can change the opacity of any of the elements depending how bright you want them to be. Here are some more examples below.
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Thanks for reading :)