Eric Renno, aka TipSquirrel, our awesome guest Photoshop Guru is on hand again, this time to give us a fantastic, in-depth tutorial about how to use the flames filter on Adobe Photoshop CC 2014. Over to you Eric…..

Adobe announced a plethora of updates to Photoshop CC 2014 at Adobe Max. There was something for everyone be it web designer, photographer or graphic designer.


One of the new features that snuck in under the radar but is one of my favorites is the Flames Filter.  For years I’ve been using a fabulous technique by Bert Monroy to draw flames, and if you don’t have a copy of CC 2014 this is still the go to technique.

What this new filter has that the old technique doesn’t is; 1: ease of use, 2: diversity and 3: flames are put on a path, meaning we can plot them limitlessly! As a ‘Fontaholic’ the first thing I did was try to make flame text, here’s how I did it (this tutorial assumes a little ground knowledge of Photoshop):

Step 1 : Create a new document


Step 2:  Draw a Path

With the Pen Tool draw a path near the bottom of the document from the left edge to the right edge. Then head up to the new menu item Filter > Render > Flame. Although for this image I’m using a straight line, there’s no reason why you can’t make it curved or a wave.


At the time of writing this filter can’t be added as a Smart Filter. You may also see that the Picture Frame and Tree filters have moved here from the Fill dialogue box.

Step 3: The Massive Dialogue Box

Now that’s an intimidating dialogue box! As we work through it though it should start to make some sense.


We’d like the flames to be quite uniform along the path so from the drop down select 3. Multiple Flames One Direction (more of this later).

Next, length. We’d like them to be quite tall so around 270 is great here.

Angle. We’ve got the angle set to 0 here, straight up. We can change this to match the direction of the flame source should we need to. Changing this to 90 for example, sets the flames going from left to right.

Interval: Is how much space there is between each flame at the base.

Flame Lines: Right now I have this set low and I would recommend you do the same and change this last. This really slows down the processing.

Turbulent: This will make the flames more wavy, like they are raging or there’s some wind.

Jag: This will set how pointy the flames are.

Opacity. This is the opacity of each flame set or flame. Increasing this will pile flame on flame and create more ‘hot spots’.

Flame Bottom Alignment. This is how much the flame should cling to the path. For a straight line on which the flames appear set this to its minimum.

Flame Style and Shape we’ll look at a little later.

Use Custom Color For Flames. The default is a nice natural colour of orange, but if you’d like a gas flame for example then you can change the flame to a light blue here.


Quality. This is the quality of the drawing of the flames. For flames as we’re creating here this may not too be too high, but with the Flame Lines being low I can get away with a higher quality here.

You may have noticed that the tops of the flames are uniform, that’s not really what I’m after. There’s a check box I can select here labeled Randomize Flame Length.


Once you’re happy click OK and sit back and let Photoshop do it’s thing;

Step 3 : Pop The Kettle On (exaggeration)


Depending on the complexity and amount of flames you create, and of course the power of your computer, this may take a little while. There’s a lot of maths and computing going on.

Step 4 : Create The Text


Big and bold text works well here and its important to remember to leave room between the letters for the flames. I’ve used good ol’ Impact and set the tracking to 120.

I strongly recommend you do 1 line of text at a time. So, for me I’m only creating Halloween flames at this point.

For more on using the Character Palette why not take a look at the video I made for Fotolia looking at all the settings here.

Step 5 : Text to a Path

From the menu choose: Type > Create Work Path

Create a new layer, call it Halloween Flame or similar and then head back up to Filter > Render > Flame

If you’re familiar with paths you may wish to remove the inner paths of the O’s A’s etc here.

Step 6 : Warning


So, you have been warned. We’re not going to see all our text and things are going to get a bit slower. Feel free to feel good that you’re pushing Photoshop to work that hard.

If your computer struggled with the last render however, then this is going to push it hard.

Step 7: Reset First

We’re going to change settings but I’ve found it easier to see what I’m doing if I reset here, the preview will be easier to follow. So, from the top drop down menu choose Default.


Step 8 : Choose Your Flame.

This time we need to have the flames follow the path making the text. For that we need Flame Type 2. Multiple Flames Along Path


Step 9: Flame Settings

Here’s the settings I’ve used to create the flames on the text. This is a starting point and of course can be changed to suit your needs.


Step 10 : Before You Click OK…

As I said at the start of Step 9, this is just a starting point, and we’re going to need the exact same settings for any other text, in my case the text ‘AT FOTOLIA’.

So from the top drop-down menu select Save and call it something you’ll remember, ‘Flame Text’ for example. Then click OK.


Step 11 : Prep the Second Text

As we did in Step 5 for your second line of text, for me this is AT FOTOLIA.

Step 12 : Dude Where’s My Flames?

Yep, all your settings are the same yet your flames are a fuzzy mess! Panic not my friends, this is a preview issue with the early release of Flames on a Path that, for me at least, has been resolved. If your text looks like the Halloween text then all’s good. If not, then just click OK and it will right itself in the document. Don’t forget to check for a Photoshop update in your CC Updater though.


So, if you want your text the same as the first set, all you need do is click Ok.

Step 13 : Crop and Tidy

You should now have two lines of text on two layers that can be placed where you need them and then cropped as required.


Step 14 : Glow

To finish add a layer behind all the flame layers with a colour picked from the flames themselves. Reduce the opacity to add a hint of glow.


I know that the readers of this blog are a far more talented lot than I so please let me know what you’ve created with this filter, I’d love to see it and learn from you!

Until next time!


As always, a big thanks to Eric for supplying this super detailed tutorial. Check out more of his tutorials on his website, YouTube and you can find him on Facebook and Twitter should you wish to get in touch with him!