Making a Sun Flare brush in Photoshop is reasonably advanced. But if you follow my instructions you will succeed.
Download the Brush and Photoshop File
Watch the Video
Create a New Document
Command or Control + N = New Document
I’ve gone for Web Large (1920 x 1080 pixels).
Any document size will do, but the size of the document will dictate the default size of the brush, but this won’t be an issue going forward.
I’ve also made the Artboard Transparent – to be honest it does not matter. Having an Artboard is not necessary but it does help centre objects.
Use Workspace “Graphic and Web”
- Go Window > Workspace > Graphic and Web
- Then Reset Graphic and Web
Fill the Layer with Black
- Use the keyboard shortcut key “D” for default colours which is black in the foreground and white in the background.
- Then press Alt or Option + Backspace to fill the layer with black.
Create a New Layer
Use Command or Control + N to create a new layer. Name the Layer “Brush”.
Use a Brush with Texture
I’ve used ‘KYLE Bonus Chunky Charcoal.
1If you don’t have this brush Brushes …
- Go to the Brush Panel Menu > Get More Brushes
- Choose “Megapack” and download.
- Click the Brush Panel menu and go to “Import Brushes”.
- Choose the file you downloaded with the “.abr” extension.
This is your choice as long as the brush has some texture it will do.
- Go “B” for brush.
- Go “X” to make the foreground colour White.
- Press F5 to bring out the Brush Settings Panel, which is normally grouped with the Brush Panel.
- Draw a straight line with the brush by pressing Shift as you drag the brush across the centre of the image.
Paint a Straight Line
Draw a Straight line in the middle of the Document keep the Shift Key pressed to constrain the stroke to a straight line.
Use the Move Tool to Centre the stroke Horizontally and Vertically
If you haven’t got an Artboard in your document. Go Command or Control + A to select the whole layer, then centre the stroke.
Duplicate the Layer
Use Command or Control + J to Duplicate the Layer.
Use Free Transform to elongate the Brush Stroke
- Use Command or Control + T to invoke Free Transform
- Stretch the brush stroke outwards whilst keeping the Alt or Option key pressed to constrain the stroke from the centre.
- Also reduce the height a little still keeping the Alt or Option key kept pressed.
Use Bevel & Emboss Layer Style
- Double Click any part of the Brush Copy layer in the Layers Panel to invoke the Layer Styles dialogue box.
- Stay roughly in the region of the image below.
- The hidden change is the Shadow Mode colour. I’ve gone for HSB 0,0,70 which is 70% grey.
This step is to make the Brush a less flat to give it some realism.
Reset to Default at the bottom of the Bevel & Emboss dialogue box before starting.
- Style: Emboss
- Technique: Smooth
- Depth: Around 300 to 500 (Experiment)
- Direction: Up
- Size: 35 pixels (Experiment).
- Angle 170
- Altitude 20
- Gloss Contour: Linear
- Highlight Mode – Hard Light and White – 100% opacity
- Shadow Mode – Hard Light – HSB 0, 0, 70 – Opacity – 75%
Make a New Layer
Go Command or Control + Shift + N and name this Centre.
Use the Marquee Tool
- Starting roughly in the centre of the document.
- Holding both the Shift Key and the Alt or Option key.
- Drag out to make the marquee stopping short of the edges of the Document.
Fill the Marquee with 50% grey
Press Shift + Backspace to fill with 50% grey.
Set the Default Colours
- Press “D” on your keyboard to set black as the foreground colour.
Go to Filter > Render > Fibers
A Variance of 16 and a Strength of 10 works for me. Don’t feel constrained to these settings.
Go Command or Control + D = Deselect
Deselect the layer.
Lock the Transparency of the Layer (forward slash)
Run Motion Blur
- Angle 90 Degrees
- Around 400 to 700 pixels works.
Use the Gradient Tool
Ensure the Foreground colour is black.
The initial drag should start from the bottom of the marquee and stop just short of the top edge.
Take two more drags in different places with the shift key pressed but in much shorter strokes.
Control or Command Click on the Layer Thumbnail to Load the Selection
Command or Control click on the layer thumbnail to load it as a selection.
Go Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates
Choose Rectangular to Polar
Change the Blend Mode to Screen
This will get rid of the black edges around the flare.
Create a Blank Layer and Apply a Gradient Glow
- Create a Blank Layer – Command or Control +Shift + N
- Press ‘X’ to make the foreground colour White
- Change the Gradient from Linear to Radial.
- Drag out from the centre to two thirds of the flare.
Use Free Transform (Command or Control + T)
Use Free transform to make the glow more oval. Keep the Alt or Option key pressed as you move in the bottom and top handles.
Make a Stamp Layer
You can only make a brush from one layer. So, we have to get all the layers into one layer.
The idea is to take all the layers and make one layer. But, preserving the layers below.
This Stamp command is keyboard shortcut only.
The Keyboard shortcut is: Control or Command + Option or Alt + Shift + E pressed together.
Invert the Layer
Brushes are the most effective where the colour is darkest. So, we need to invert this layer.
Go: Command or Control + I (letter I)
Create the Brush
Go Edit > Define Brush Preset…
Name the Brush and straight away you have the brush at the bottom of the brush Panel to use.