Transparent Lens Flares
The Lens Flare filter included in Photoshop is a valuable tool to add those nice rounded bokeh-esque sun reflections. Sometimes adding a bit of a Lens Flare effect to an image can give it an authentic look (or as the Star Wars reboots taught us, just make it look cooler).
Today, you will learn how to create a Lens Flare in Photoshop, to make it transparent in a new Normal layer (not using the old trick of ‘Screen’ layer mode) and use it on any photo you want.
Open Photoshop and create a new document at any size you want, in this case I will be using a 2020 x 1380 px one, which is just a bit larger than the photo I will apply the overlay to, but feel free to make it as bigger as you want.
Fill the Background layer with a solid black color.
Go to Filter > Render > Lens Flare. In this case, I will place my flare on the top left corner. Set the Brightness to 160%, the Lens Type to 50-300mm Zoom and click OK.
With the Background layer active, go to Window > Channels.
In the Channel window, hold the Control+Shift key and click once over the Red Channel.
Still holding both keys, click on the Green Channel.
Again, while holding the Control+Shift keys click on the Blue channel.
With the selection active, click on the ‘Add a Mask’ icon in the Layers Panel.
Select the RGB channel of the Lens Flare layer in the Layers Panel and go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation. Increase the Saturation to about 70 and click OK.
Click on the New Adjustment Layer icon in the Layers Panel, and select Hue/Saturation.
In the Hue/Saturation Panel, set the Hue to -40, the Saturation to +90, the Lightness to +55 and click on the Create Clipping Mask icon.
Again, click on the New Adjustment Layer icon in the Layers Panel, but this time pick the Selective Color.
In the Selective Color Panel, choose ‘Neutrals’ under the Colors dropdown. Set the Black to -30%, be sure to have the ‘Absolute’ option selected and click on the Create Clipping Mask icon.
Click again in the New Adjustment Layer icon in the Layers Panel and select Vibrance.
In the Vibrance Panel, set the Vibrance to -45, the Saturation to 50 and click on the Create Clipping Mask icon.
Save the file anywhere on your computer as .PNG and close the PSD document.
Open your photo in Photoshop.
Go to File > Place. Locate the .PNG file with the Lens Flare Overlay, click OK and adjust the overlay size to cover the entire image. Hit Enter on your keyboard to commit the changes.
Now simply adjust the Lens Flare opacity to your liking. In this case, I lowered the layer Opacity to 35%.