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Flare Tool for Illustrator Tutorial, how to use with halo, rings, styles etc in CC CS6 etc

How to use Flare tool for Adobe ® Illustrator CC 2017 2015 CS6 CS5 CS4 CS3 CS2 etc with rings / halo / styles etc

Illustrator Flare tool basics

illustrator flare tool burst of energy and radial lines path design

The flare tool can be found in the Illustrator toolbox beneath the rectangle tool (rounded rectangle etc). The flare tool creates amazing lens flare vector designs in Illustrator. The flare tool can be found in the Illustrator CC CS6 CS5 CS4 etc The result of the generated flares can be used throughout Illustrator. You can distort the flares, you can add colors to the flares, you can add effects to the flares. The flares can be combined with other paths in Illustrator. You can also export the flares to other applications such as Photoshop and Affinity Photo. Find out more about all the wonderful things you can do with the flare tool in Illustrator below.

 

Other Illustrator Tutorials

flare tool illustrator toolbox

There are also other tutorials about Illustrator such as the how to use

1) the blob brush tool for stunning filled brush strokes

2) live line segment tool in Adobe Illustrator

3) polar grid tool for Illustrator for radial and circular effects

4) Blend tool for Illustrator

5) Mirror me symmetry tool

6) Bristle tool in Illustrator

7) Dotted lines in Illustrator

8) Variable width strokes in Illustrator + width profiles + width tool tutorial

9) Eraser tool and erasing and splitting paths and type

10) Spiral plugin tool from graphicxtras tutorial + free spiral plugin tool

 

A flare tool of two parts

The flare tool is a slightly odd tool in that it is a two part tool

 

1) you first apply the initial flare (initial apply)

 

2) and then you can re-position the rings (from the central flare) to a point defined by the cursor (second apply)

 

You can just apply the first flare and totally ignore the rings by changing tools after the first pass. Though, if subsequently go back to the flare tool, the second pass will still be active and the rings will appear.

 

It should be remembered that the flare tool is a live effect and most parts of the flare can be modified via the flare options dialog on selecting the flare tool. If you have created two or more flares, you can also select a flare and modify only that.

 

A background for a flare

illustrator flare tool multiple timesPersonally, I find the default application of the flare against the default white background to be pretty dull, and perhaps one of the reasons why the tool seems to have few fans.

 

If you apply the effect against a background or a solid color (black, comes to mind) then the artwork springs to life. Even more so when you apply 5 flares or more onto a color background and then the flare really starts to take on a true sparkle.

 

As the flare can be applied large or small

 

1) small flares (to a confined space) make a wonderful sparkly background

2) large flares can fill an entire background in seconds.

 

The flares are definitely multi-use.

 

Modifiers: up and down and shift etc keys

You can interactively modify the generated flare art by using some of modifier keys such as

 

UP / DOWN (number of rays)

CTRL (size of flare)

SHIFT (constrains the tool to the same ratio of flare / ray size etc)

ALT (rotate).

 

dialog for the flare tool for IllustratorThe modifiers are interesting and interactive but offer nothing that cannot be achieved via the dialog and the dialog does offer precision to the settings.

 

Flare tool options in Illustrator

To see the options, double click the flare tool icon

 

There are a number of settings

1) center

2) halo

3) rays

4) rings

 

they can generally used independently so you can de-select the rays, rings etc and just use the halo etc.

 

You can also set the numbers to low as well as high values for the rays etc to create a range of different artworks from the same basic tool.

 

Blending modes in Adobe Illustrator

blending modes and flare toolThe flare tool generates a path and as a standard path it can be applied with a set blending mode such as normal or lighten.

 

You can create multiple flares all with different blending modes as well as different opacity settings.

 

To change the opacity and blending mode for the tool, just click on the opacity link on the top option bar.

 

Many different color effect combinations can be created by using different blends which can also be in turn, blended with a background such as in the image on the left

 

Halo with the flare tool in Illustrator

You can create an interesting halo by

 

1) de-selecting the rays and rings

 

2) set the opacity etc high as well as the growth etc to high values

 

3) Set the brightness to the high or perhaps to very low, 0%

 

The fuzziness settings is an odd one, I am certain it does something (probably more path related and perhaps comes into its own if used with other paths)

 

flare tool halo illustrator4) Duplicate the halo flare (alt / option) and reduce in size by scaling say to 75% of the original flare (you can do this via the center option as well)

 

5) align both flares

 

6) Repeat duplicate and scale again by another 75% etc

 

Great for creating a quick contour flare / halo tool effect as on the left. You can also shift the individual flares and perhaps fill an entire image with the flare / halos or perhaps align the halos in a line or perhaps create a circle of halos and more

 

car lights flare tool IllustratorOf course, you could just use two halos with opacity set to 100% and fuzziness to 100% and create two car headlights heading towards the screen as on the right

 

Creating Rays with the flare tool

If you don't want any rays applied

 

1) double click the icon found in the toolbox

 

2) de-select the rays checkbox.

 

You can also set the number of rays to 0 even if the checkbox is on. The maximum number of rays is 50 - you can't enter 100 or more into the rays field (sadly).

 

But personally, I like the rays so I generally keep the rays settings ON

 

The rays are very fine. The rays can be lengthened from 0 (again, no rays are seen) to 1000% of the size of the flare. There has to be said, little difference in the lines when the fuzziness is changed. All very subtle.

 

Again, the rays come into their own when you re-apply a flare over and over. If you create multiple flares then you can generate more than the 50 ray lines. Four flares result in 200 lines filling the entire screen (if you use the maximum rays). I am certain there is some overlap so perhaps not all 200 lines can be seen but it creates a far more dramatic flare than a single. You can also use the alignment tools and rotate the path as you would with any standard path.

 

1) Select the flare tool

 

2) go to the flare options

 

3) set most of the settings in the non-ray sections to zero (other than diameter)

 

4) rays on

 

flare tool rays overlap5) 50 rays and length 1000

 

6) Apply

 

7) duplicate (alt / option key) and drag to a different positoon

 

8) repeat duplicate and drag and shift

 

To apply this flare tool effect in a more repeatable way by using the appearance panel and live effects - the transform command can generate more copies of the live flare (rays and all) and rotate them as well as add additional transforms.

 

On the right, the rays have just been aligned on top

 

Isolation mode and the flare tool in Adobe Illustrator

The flare tool can be edited via the isolation mode (as symbols etc). Double click on any of the generated flares and you will be offered different layers of the flare to edit such as core gradient which can be modified such as changing the highlight of the centre gradient - though not, it appears, any color.

 

You can position the core of the flare using the gradient tool (in isolation mode) as well as shrink the core or increase the size of the flare - you can also make the core more intense and sharper as well as a lot fuzzier - none of these options are available via the dialog.

 

In isolation mode, you can also distort many of the paths using the direct selection tool such as the rings (individually)

 

Masks and the flare tool

They can be masked using a clipping mask.

 

1) Generate a flare

 

2) create a circle or other path

 

3) object menu clipping mask command to clip the range of the flare.

 

These paths are now filled with a dramatic flare.

 

Illustrator flare and Photoshop

blurry flare toolYou don't have to keep the flare tool tied down, it can be set free.

 

The result of the flare tool can be pasted into Photoshop (for some reason as a pixel option seems to work better than the smart object) and re-pasted or duplicates of the flare layer can be created.

 

s the flares are now just normal objects in Adobe ® Photoshop ®, you can apply layer effects such as metal and wood effects as well as live effects to the flares such as blurs and oil paint etc.

 

The flare can be added as a dramatic effect to text objects or shape layers in Adobe ® Photoshop ® (though Photoshop has a lens flare filter - it doesn't come near to the range of options available to the Illustrator's flare).

 

Of course, there are also many powerful filter effects in Illustrator such as gaussian blur which can be added to the flare

 

You can also export the results of the flare tool to other applications such as Affinity Photo and Flame Painter 3 Pro

 

Appearance panel

blur tool flare illustratorStandard Illustrator Live effects can be applied to the effect and also fills and strokes can be added to the flare. The flare is a path, not a standard path as it is made up of multiple components but it does allow for additional fills and strokes (not always effective) to be added.

 

1) The 3D bevel effect can be applied to the flare though the result is a little poor (it is not a 3D flare by any means).

2) The blur etc filters can be applied to the flare and they result in a blurry / fuzzy flare.

 

A blur has been added to the Illustrator flare on the right

 

As the flare and the live effects are live, you can create duplicates of the design and the effects and fill an entire document with blurred (perhaps different blurring) flares.

 

Transformations added

You can select a flare in Adobe AI and you can transform the design such as scale as well as rotate. You can also shear the flare as well as rotate and reflect it.

 

You can see the result of adding a shear transformation to the flare tool on the left

 

The scale does not have to 100%, it can be 40% in the horizontal and 100% vertical creating a very differently shaped flare.

 

Likewise, the object menu envelope command can be applied to the flare and various arch and arc and flag etc can be applied though the end results can vary.

 

The free transform tool can also be applied and the results can be varied.

 

Better transformations for even more dramatic effects such as starbursts and flare spirals

flare tool illustrator transformThe best tool for dramatic manipulation of the flare tool in Adobe Illustrator has to be the live effect (the key thing here, as always, is the live effect where you can modify the result at any point and create a completely different result in seconds).

 

1) The flare needs to be selected.

 

2) Go to the effect menu and distort and transform and transform.

 

3) The transform dialog will appear

 

4) you can then create multiple copies of the flare (though note, they are all the same underlying flare) by entering a value other than zero in the copies field at the bottom. You might like to leave the preview off but if you have a fast machine then you can just put the preview on and play with the rotate, scale, move etc options. See on the right for an example of using the transform on a flare

 

5) Change the move and scale (you can set to greater or less than 100% and you can also have different scales for the vertical and horizontal) as well as the rotation.

 

One thing to remember, if you are filling a circle - 360 degrees, 10 copies.. you really should enter 9 in the copies field as you already have one copy, the original.

 

Default / reset of the Illustrator flare tool

Hold down the alt / option key and the reset will appear and click that to put the settings back to the default.

 

Illustrator sets

There are many sets avilable on the site that may be of use in combination with this tool such as curved arch symbols for Illustrator / direction and arrow symbols / offsets and contour symbols etc. They can also be used in combination with font designs such as orbit fonts and eps vector shapes designs, radial fonts and eps vector shapes for use in Illustrator and PSP etc etc

 

Illustrator Flare tool into symbols

The flares in Illustrator can be saved as symbols.

 

As symbols, they can be applied using the symbol sprayer tool. As a symbol, the flare can be re-used and they are identical. The symbols also take up less resources. As symbols, the flares can also be manipulated like any other symbol and fills / strokes and live effects can be applied to the instance. You can spray and splatter flares across the image

 

To save as a symbol

 

1) select the flare after creating using the flare tool

 

2) drag to the symbol panel

 

3) select static or dynamic symbol

 

4) Now select in the symbol panel

 

5) Go to the symbol sprayer tool

 

6) apply across the artboard

 

Flare tool and re-color

flare tool recoloringThe flare tool dialog offers no means to change the color of the flare, so applying the flare results in the same color effect each and every time (whether large or small).

 

You can change the color by

 

1) go to the edit menu

 

2) and the edit colors menu

 

3) and select the recolor artwork.

 

4) Use the various color settings in the tool to change the color.

 

The result being a green flare on the left image etc

 

You can also add a new color to the flare via the appearance panel by adding a new fill or more than one fill. You can use the edit menu edit color and color balance command to turn the flare into a red or blue flare.

 

Rings: path, number and largest in the flare tool

flare tool and repeat ringsThe rings option adds an extra touch of class to the flare.

 

The rings do not need to be applied in a particular direction, they can be just layered on top of the center of the flare. just set the path to 0pt.

 

The number can also be set to 0 which is the equivalent of de-checking the rings option.

 

The maximum size of the rings can be set by the largest option - you can have small rings as well as super large rings all relative to the actual flare.

 

On the right, you can see the result of adding multiple rings flares (four) and changing the angle of the applications of the rays

 

You can also change the settings of the rays via the settings panel and creating a powerful intense light show by just using a single flare, of course you can also create multiple paths and combine them with blending modes etc

 

Ungroup the flare in Adobe Illustrator

Ultimately, the effect is made up of multiple paths (open and closed) and you can just ungroup the flare. Ungroup and the flare is no longer a live effect and can no longer be edited as a flare via the dialog. The flare can be broken into rings, rays etc.

 

You can then modify each part such as adding additional designs to the flare or moving the origin of the rays and more. It is a decent and honorable end to the flare.

 

Illustrator Image trace on the flare

You can, if you wish, rasterize the artwork via the object rasterize command and then you can apply a live image tracing to the design. You can then create a colorful trace or just a black and white trace.

 

An alternative to this, pass the flare to Photoshop and apply various image adjustments and then re-copy the flare back into Illustrator and then apply the image trace.

 

You can see the result of an image trace applied in black and white

 

Apply the flare once or multiple times

applied multiple times in Illustrator field of starsI am not so keen on a singular burst as I always feel the flare tool really comes alive if you are willing to throw all caution to the wind and apply multiple bursts to a design and multiple applications that are applied with different blends

 

Millions of truly wow graphics can be created using multiple applies such as sparkly to starbursts to subtle blurry fog scenes and more. By just changing the opacity of the flares (or the blending mode for others), you can turn bright headlights into a misty badly lit scene - which would look even more misty if there was something blended into the background of the Illustrator artwork.

 

The opacity of the flares are all set to 20% simply by selecting all of them and then setting the opacity in the options bar

 

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