Blue Flame Friday the 13th
Credit: Denise McGill

Photoshop CC and CS5

If you are anything like me, new technology is scary and intimidating.  But Adobe Photoshop is well worth the effort.  The learning curve is rather high but not impossible if you take it one step and one tool at a time.  Like many things (music, art, dance), the more you practice, the better you get at it.

One of the things that I did to practice with Photoshop was to assign myself weekly tasks, mostly with text effects, but also with photographs and photo-manipulation. Today there are thousands of YouTube video tutorials by lots of pioneers who have already done all the head scratching for you.

I have Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud), which charges a monthly or yearly fee, as well as Adobe Photoshop CS5, the program on disc.  There have been a few new advancements between the CS5 and the CS6 and the CC.  Most of the tools are the same however and are used basically the same way with the same or similar shortcuts.  There are a few differences that I will try to share along the way.

In this Blue Fire Text effect, I will try to cover the few tools and filters used and many of the shortcuts to get them.

Step 1 New Document
Credit: Denise McGill

Step 1. New Document

Create a new document 8.5” x 11” or as needed, 300 ppi and RGB.  Go to File>New>choose size, go to Image>Image rotation>90 degrees CW.  The default background color is usually white.  To change it to black, you can grab the Paint Bucket tool (it’s usually under the Gradient Tool) on the left hand tool bar and with black selected for the foreground color, just click in your document.  You can also click Control (for PC) or Command (for Mac) and the Delete key if the Black is selected for the background color.  Whatever is easier for you.

Step 2.  Type Word or Phrase
Credit: Denise McGill

Step 2. Type Word or Phrase

Select the Type tool or press T for type, choose the font you like by clicking onto the box in the upper left corner.  This should drop down a menu of all the fonts available and a sample of how they look.  I like to choose one with serif or feet to them so that there is something for the wind effect to blow on.  Type anything you like, a word or phrase, making sure the white is selected for the foreground color.  Using the Free Transform, move the text to fit in your art board.  Go to Edit>Transform>Scale or press Control/Command+T to call up the Free Transform box and move the text.

benefits of laughter
Credit: 1

Step 3. Rasterize

Now you will need to Rasterize the text, which basically means you are turning it into a pixelated picture instead of editable text.  To do this right click on the layer and choose Rasterize Text, or you can go to Layer>Rasterize>Rasterize Text. 

Step 4. Duplicate

Now duplicate this Rasterized type layer by pressing Control/Command+J or by going to Layer>Duplicate Layer and pressing okay.  Click the eyeball on the top layer to temporarily turn it off.

Credit: Denise McGill

Step 5. Merge

On the Black Background layer press Control/Command+J to duplicate it and then hold down the Shift key and highlight both the top background layer and the bottom text layer and right click to open the menu.  Press Merge layers.  Now the black background and the bottom text layer are merged.

More Wind
Credit: Denise McGill

Step 6. Wind Filter

You now need to rotate the canvas because the wind effect will only blow the pixels left or right and you want them above the text.  To do this go to Image>Image Rotation>Rotate 90 degrees CCW (or Counter Clockwise).  Next go to Filter>Stylize>Wind.  Set the method to Wind and the Direction in the box should be set from the Right.  Click ok.  This gives a little bit of wind but you want more so now go to Filter and at the top you should see the Wind Effect, which is a repeat of the same action you just gave it.  Click 2 more times on this Wind Effect or as many times as you desire.

Superstition Rotate
Credit: Denise McGill

Step 7. Gaussian Blur Filter

On the Wind layer go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to about 2.5 or less.  This gives the wind a slight blur.  Click ok.

Rotate Image
Credit: Denise McGill

Step 8. Rotate Image

Rotate the image back by going to Image>Image Rotation>Rotate 90 degrees CW (or clockwise). Click ok.

Bevel and Emboss
Credit: Denise McGill


Superstition Liquify
Credit: Denise McGill

Step 9. Liquify Filter

Now for the fun part.  Go to Filter>Liquify, and using the top setting brush, pull and bend the wind you just put at the top of your text.  Drag the fire upward and wiggle it a little to create flames.

Liquify Filter

Credit: Denise McGill

Step 10. Hue and Saturation

This is where you get color.  Go to Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation or just click onto the little icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and a menu will pop up including Hue/Saturation.  Click the Colorize box. Set the Hue for 200 and Saturation for 100 and click ok.  Add another Hue/Saturation layer and click on the Colorize Box, set the Hue for 188 and the Saturation for 64.

Step 11. More Hue and Saturation

Now time to turn on the eyeball of the top duplicated text layer.  You can change the color by going to Hue/Saturation again if you like. After opening a Hue/Saturation box I had to right click and choose Create Clipping Mask to clip this layer to only the top text layer.  Otherwise it would change the colors of all the layers below it.  I clicked on the Colorize box, set the Hue for 48, Saturation for 18 and Lightness for -31. 

More Hue and Saturate
Credit: Denise McGill

Step 12. Bevel and Emboss

Double click onto the layer and a Layers Adjustment dialog box will open.  Click onto Bevel and Emboss, set the Depth for 100, Size to 40 pixels, Soften to 0, Direction is Up, Angle is 104 degrees, Use Global Light is checked and Altitude is 30 degrees.  Click onto the Color box next to Highlight Mode and choose e4bd45, which is a yellow-orange.  Click onto the Color box next to Shadow Mode and choose 051e48, which is a very dark blue.  

Living Tax And Rent Free
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Step 13. Inner Glow

With the Layer Style box still open, Click onto Inner Glow.  Set the Opacity to 100, Noise is 0, and click onto the Color box to change it to that same yellow-orange as above: e4bd45.  Change the Choke to 32, Size to 18 and leave Edge checked.  Click okay.

Credit: Denise McGill


Well, that’s it.  I think the blue flame is very cold and menacing.  This technique can be used in any type of graphic that you may create for something dramatic; you can even use this posters and flyers for dramatic effect.  I think it works best with black or dark backgrounds so it would be hard to use over photographs unless they were underexposed.

Blue Flame
Credit: Denise McGill