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Dec 26

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Playing with fire

DC Comics' Firestorm

My son got a Firestorm toy for Christmas. Its from the Batman: The Brave and the Bold series (the TV series actually is one of the best Batman cartoons I’ve seen), produced by Mattel. ‘

I don’t know much about Firestorm, I’m more of a Marvel person. I would’ve preferred it more if he liked Spider-man and Wolverine more… Anyway, the figure has articulated arms (articulated elbows too) and legs, and a transparent plastic flame at the head. When I saw that, I knew I had to do something with it in Photoshop.

I set up my trusty black blanket as a backdrop and fired off a few shots using my 90mm lens with wireless flash set to i-TTL. This is what I got:

Firestorm, ready to be fired up

First things first, let’s get the flame looking real!  For this, I used an stock image from sxc.hu. This involved masking out the plastic flame and adding the stock image. It’s easier to select fire if the source image you’re grabbing from is mostly black and the focus is on the fire itself. The fire was warped to appear the way I wanted.

Flame on!

Just having a naked flame doesn’t make the image look too real, so what was needed was a few more layers of orange and some sparks / ambers.  The ambers were achieved by editing the brush so that it scattered randomly. I also smudged one of the orange layers, this added another dimension to the fire.

Sparks fly...

If you look at the comic version, Firestorm also has flames coming out from his hand. In this case, I decided that both hands (out of view) would also be burning. The same technique used for the head was used for the hands.

Hands burning!

As they say, there’s no smoke without fire, so, I added some smoke (simple clouds and blending modes).

Smoklin'!

Now, for a background. Again, sxc.hu doesn’t disappoint. Found an image of a derelict building that can be used. I masked out the black in the original image and added the building to the bottom layer and blurring it slightly.

Building added!

The building still doesn’t seem to go well with the overall tone of the image, so I added some red clouds on top of the building and played with the blending modes a little.

Much better!

For the finishing touches, I added some more flames, ambers and some glow to his eyes as well as dodging some parts of his costume.

Firestorm burning!

Leave a comment if you found this interesting!

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