I get it. The Tree and Flame Render Filters in Photoshop can be pretty cheesy most of the time. However, I think I can show you ways to use them that not only look professional, but may also save you some time.

HOW TO FIND IT

So where are these magical tools you ask? If you’re using Photoshop CC they’re very easy to find. Just go to Filter > Render > and select Tree of Flame.

PS_TREE_

PS_FLAME_

TREES

Let’s take a look at the Tree filter first. When you first open this filter, it will probably default to the Oak Tree. I have the Palm Tree selected in this demonstration. In the Basic panel you have some options that include choosing your tree and adjusting the direction of the lighting. Depending on the tree you choose, the remaining adjustments  may or may not be available.

NOTE: I want to point out that you’ll need to put each tree on a separate new layer. If you don’t add a new layer for each tree, Photoshop will paste the tree on top of your background or current layer and you won’t be able to adjust the size or location without compromising the existing design.

PS_TREE2

PS_TREE3

In the Advanced Panel you have even more detailed options available, like the ability to change the color of your leaves and branches. While you can do something fun like I did below, you can also use this option to adjust the color of the leaves and branches to match the existing image or graphic that you’re adding it to.

PS_TREE4

EXAMPLES

Below I, used this cute hamster pictures and this picture of a palm tree at sunset to make a few title slides.

PS_TREES_b4

PS_TREES

First of all, yes, I know that the little rodent is a hamster and not a mouse. He was really cute and I couldn’t resist using him for this example.

The “Making Monsters of Mice” slide is a little on the cheesy side, but if that’s what you’re going for, like I was, then the tree filter is a great way to add a forest without the laboring process of finding a forest picture, getting rid of the background, and making it blend with the overall image.

I tried to do something a little more practical with the “Palm Sunday” slide. I used the Palm Tree option and placed them at the bottom of the image so just the leaves were showing. I used the blending options to add a color overlay in white, then I set the blending mode to “Overlay”, and finally I played around with the fill level until it gave the desired effect. If this sounds really complicated, I promise it’s not! I plan on doing an article dedicated to Photoshop blending modes for beginners soon, so be on the lookout for that!

I think the Trees filter could be used in a lot of really fun ways including slides and print material for Kid’s Ministry, Summer Camp, Palm Sunday, Christmas…the list is endless! Just use your imagination.

FLAMES

Now on to flames! This one can be a little tricky. You’ll want to start off by creating a path for the flame. To make a path by hand, you can select the Pen Tool in the left hand Tool Menu and make sure the Path option is selected in the upper left hand corner. Now, just draw a line to create your path.

PS_PenTool
workpath_text

You can also create a work path by right clicking on a text layer and selecting “Create Work Path”. Again, make sure that your flame is on a separate layer so you can easily manipulate it. Once your flame is on it’s own layer, you can delete the existing work path. Again, if this sounds complicated, it’s not! There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube if you simply can’t wait, but an in depth work path article should be available in the coming weeks.

For the sake of the below demo I just used the Pen Tool to draw a line on a new layer. There aren’t as many choices when it comes to the Flame filter but there’s a lot you can do with your available options. Your Basic panel includes six flames styles, and adjustments for each one. Definitely take some time to play around with this one before you decide to use it. It’s an incredible tool but it can be a little touchy.

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As you can see below, there are six available flame filters. You can easily adjust many aspects of the flame from the Basic Panel including the length and width of the flames as well as the color.

PS_Fire3

In the Advanced Panel there are even more options to perfect your flame. I highly suggest playing around with the Opacity setting if you want your flame to look more realistic.

PS_Fire_4

Below I used this picture of a hand holding a lighter and this photo of someone walking up a staircase to create a couple more title slides.

PS_FIRE_b4PS_FIRE

Again, the first slide is a little on the cheesy side. For this slide I created a new layer and used the Pen Tool to draw a “W” shape on the top of the lighter. I used the “One Flame Along Path” filter and adjusted the length, width, and opacity until I had the effect I was going for.

For the second slide, I wanted to go for a the look of the text itself being on fire. I used the Type Tool to type the word “FIRE” on a separate layer. I then right clicked on the text layer and selected “Create Work Path”. Then I created a new layer and selected the Flame Filter and I, again, used the “One Flame Along Path” option and made various adjustments until I had the look I wanted. The original text was white, so I lowered the opacity of that layer until it was blended enough to show the flame but not distort the text too much. I have looked all over the internet for a detailed tutorial on this and I have yet to find one so I also plan to create a how-to on using the Flame Filter with text soon.

Before I wrap up this article I want to give a huge shoutout to pexels.com as well as unsplash.com. They’ve been my go-to image sites for years now and I highly recommend you check them out next time you’re in search of some amazing images for your project.

What do you think of these filters? Have you used them in any project recently? What tutorials would you like to see next? We’d love to hear from you!

Written by Lindsey Moss

Christ Follower, Wife, Graphic Designer, Singer, Musician, Pro-Oxford Comma, and former Worship & Creative Arts Director. Let's do this thang.

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