How to create sun and sun flares using Photoshop
In this tutorial we are going to learn how to create sun flares using Photoshop. Let’s start by creating a copy of our background by pressing Ctrl J on your keyboard.
Next we are going to desaturate our new layer by pressing Shift Ctrl U which will turn our layer in Black and White. Now we need to darken the image by pressing Ctrl L which will make the levels panel pop up. Move first slider to the right until you loose most details and even it out with third slider be moving it to the left. As you see light is spilled all over the picture rather than going from one direction. We are going to fix that by using brush tool ( B ) and making it look more realistic. So select the Brush tool, make sure that Foreground colour is black and paint over the overspill of light that is coming down. It doesn’t need to be accurate because light is not accurate itself.
Now we have background copy of the white selection. Next thing we are going to do is create sun rays by going to Filter < Blur < Radial Blur. Make sure you set Amount to 100%; Blur Method as Zoom and Best Quality. You can position the effect anywhere you want in the frame, I this case I’m chose top right corner. Once you positioned the rays hit OK. Radial blur filter might take couple minutes to apply depending on how powerful is your computer. Once it’s done, we can colour it and make it look as natural as we can.
The next thing we are going to do is change blending mode to Soft light. This will soften the effect and make it look more natural. Lets duplicate our layer by pressing Ctrl J, which will deepen the sun rays even more. If the effect is too hard and unnatural lower the opacity level.
Now we are going to transform our new selection by pressing Ctrl T. This will give a selection box and let you move, scale and position rays the way you want to. Click on the centre mark of the selection and move it to where the rays are coming from. Then by pressing Shift and the Alt key stretch it out as much as you want to and position the rays where you think it’s best.
Once you have done that, we are going to Filter < Blur < Gaussian Blur and set the radius to around 5%. This will blur and soften the rays and make them look more natural.
Once you have done that, we need to make another copy of out background to create the sun. Press Ctrl J to do that.
Then go to Filter < Render < Lens Flare. This will create our sun, position it to where the flares are coming from. Set brightness to 100 percent and hit OK.
If you think that it is too harsh you can edit it by adding vector mask and using brush tool. Lets create vector mask, then select the Brush tool ( B ), back sure that your foreground colour is Black and paint over the areas that you think are too bright and tone it down slightly.
Once you are done, flatten the image again by Right Click on background image and selecting Flatten image. Then Press Ctrl L on your keyboard which will make the Levels panel to pop up and move the Black slider to the right a little.