This article was written 21.11.26, please excuse any joke/reference that’s no longer applicable.
I hope you practiced the Glitter effect well last month, because this month, I’m showing you how to make your glitter effects look a little more realistic with Lens Flares.
For this tutorial, you’re gonna want to open the (unflattened) Glitter project you were previously working on. If you don’t have one, or missed the tutorial, check it out here, and then come back.
Once you have a Glitter-effect picture open, create a New Layer (using the button on the bottom of the Layers panel), and then select the Brush tool from the left-hand side.
Go up to the Brush settings and change the size to something pretty small, and change the Hardness to very low, as well.
Next, while making sure you’re on the New Layer, I want you to paint a dot somewhere on the picture you’ll be able to see it.
Optionally, you can now make a smaller dot directly in the middle of this white one, by using the Eye Dropper tool and picking up a colour from your glitter. This can help the Lens Flare look more realistic, but it depends on the image being used.
For this tutorial, I negated the glitter-coloured dot, and the picture still came out fine. However, when I’ve done these effects on a more complicated image, the coloured dot in the center made a surprisingly big difference.
That said, since you’re just learning and most likely doing so in a simple picture, you won’t have to worry about that right now. Just keep it in mind for the future.
Now, stretch the white dot vertically, elongating it.
Then, copy the stretched out dot (by click/dragging the image while holding down ALT), or make another one.
Once you have 2 stretched dots, rotate one of them horizontally, and fit it over the first (still vertical) dot, so you make a T shape with them.
Next, in the Layers panel, select both stretched out dot Layers (hold CTRL while you click on both layers), then right-click, and select Merge Layers.
This will merge the two stretched out dot layers together, making them 1 layer. This will make it easier to use throughout the rest of the tutorial. However, if you wanted to keep them separate, but use them together, you could either CTRL + click them every time, or, add them to a Group (the folder button at the bottom of the Layers panel).
Now that you have the lens flare, it’s time to add it to the picture! To do this, you can rotate it, until it looks like an X, then drag it so it’s sitting on top of the glitter-fied portion of the picture. If needed, you can also resize the lens flare, so it’s smaller.
Now all that’s left to do is add a few more Lens Flares, to make it look a little more realistic. You can rotate and resize them as necessary, just be sure not to add too many to your picture. Less is more with this effect.
And that’s all there is to it! Once you’re happy with the number of flares you’ve added, don’t forget to save! Also, you’ll want to keep each Lens Flare on it’s own separate layer, just in case you want to re-arrange them.
This effect can also be used in more ways than I’ve shown here, but I think getting comfortable with adding them to glitter is a great way to start out, since glitter is naturally shiny. Once you get comfortable with the glitter, you can start experimenting with adding them to other reflective surfaces, like puddles/water, or mirrors.
You’ll have plenty of time to practice the effects you’ve learned thus far, as the next, and last tutorial for the year will be coming in October. But, don’t worry, it’s going to be well worth the wait!
Like the tutorial? Check out the rest of them here!