How to use flare tool in Illustrator Tutorial

How to use Flare tool for Adobe ® Illustrator CC 2018 2017 2015 CS6 CS5 CS4 CS3 CS2 etc with lens flares, rings / halo / styles etc.

Flare tool in Illustrator

how to use the (lens) flare tool illustrator toolbox
  1. Create a black background

  2. Select the flare tool in Illustrator toolbar (beneath rectangle tool)

  3. Apply the initial flare by clicking on the artboard

  4. Drag outwards to define the center

  5. Click again to create the rings from the flare

Video tutorial on the subject by (youtube)


The flare tool can be found in the Illustrator toolbox beneath the rectangle tool


flare tool two part tool

Basics - two click approach : The tool is a slightly odd one in that it is a two parter - most tools work in a single go but this takes two clicks.


You can just apply the first central design and totally ignore the rings part by changing tools after the first pass.


Though, if you subsequently go back to the tool, the second pass will still be active and the rings will appear.


Buy Price : $11.99 US or equivalent. 217 Ring shapes for use in AI (V30) gallery


editable glowLive effect : The tool is a live effect and editable even if you switch to other tools - you can still change the artwork over and over. It is live until you expand the artwork or delete it.


Basic editing of the artwork : Select the tool in the toolbar and click on center of the art and move the center. Click on the center of the rings and move that. If you have the art selected, double click on the tool's incon in the toolbar and you will see the settings for that art and you can then change all the settings


If you create multiple artworks using the tool and then go back to them, they can still be edited


Create a background for the tool - black works well : multiple applicationsThe tool works fine on its own but it is more amazing with a black background or a different colorful background. It does not need to black, of course, and you can fill the background path with gradients or patterns or perhaps an image of an actual night sky or a galaxy or two.


Selecting the artwork via layers panel : If you create lots and lots of the paths, it may be tricky to edit them or select them but you can get around this by using the layers panel and click the target button on the right side of the entries for the artworks in the panel


Small paths : Small artworks (to a confined space) make a wonderful sparkly background. You can apply the art in a very small confined part of your image and release. You will then see the artboard covered with small dots of light.


Fill the entire artboard : Large artworks can fill an entire background in seconds. You can apply one or more and create super large artworks with the haloes and rings and that can be used to totally fill the artboard or multiple artboards


Not a one click effect : Personally, I find the default application of the tool 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 artworks or more onto a color background and then the tool really starts to take on a true sparkle. As the tool can be applied large or small. They are definitely multi-use.


Modifiers as you apply the artwork : You can interactively modify the generated art by using some of modifier keys such as

UP / DOWN (number of rays)

CTRL (size)

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

ALT (rotate).


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


Options for the tool dialog options: double click the tool icon in the toolbar and change the settings for center and halo etc







The settings 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 for the individual parts : blendsyou can create unusual designs by changing the opacity and blending mode of the artwork


The 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 artworks 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


Halo without rings etc : haloYou can create an interesting halo by de-selecting the rays and rings and then set the opacity etc high as well as the growth etc to high values


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)


Contour effect : Duplicate the halo (alt / option) and reduce in size by scaling say to 75% of the original (you can do this via the center option as well) and align both artworks and then repeat the duplication and scale again by another 75% etc.


Create rows of haloes : spotsYou can also shift the individual artworks and perhaps fill an entire image with the designs or perhaps align the halos in a line or perhaps create a circle of halos and more.


Of 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


Rays : If you don't want any rays applied then just de-select that in the options. Double click the icon found in the toolbox and 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 core. 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 the design over and over. If you create multiple bursts then you can generate more than the 50 ray lines limit. Four artworks result in 200 ray 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 artwork than a single application of the tool. You can also use the alignment tools and rotate the path as you would with any standard path.


Edit in isolation mode - just double click the art : The generated artwork can be edited via the isolation mode (as symbols etc). Double click on any of the art and you will be offered different layers of the design 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 art using the gradient tool (in isolation mode) as well as shrink the core or increase the size of the art - 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)


Export to Photoshop : blurry resultThe art can be exported for use into Photoshop and then combined with Photoshop effects . You don't have to keep the tool tied down, it can be set free and used elsewhere


CC libraries : Create the artwork and drag to the CC library and then go to Photoshop. Drag from the CC library into a Photoshop document. Apply effects to the new design


The artwork can also 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 layer can be created.


Metallic effects etc : Exporting the art, the design is now just a normal object in Adobe ® Photoshop ® and you can apply layer effects such as metal and wood effects as well as live effects to the design such as blurs and oil paint etc. The art can be added as a dramatic effect to text objects or shape layers in Adobe ® Photoshop ®. You can also export the results of the tool to other applications such as Affinity Photo and Flame Painter 3 Pro


Live effects added : singular designStandard Live effects can be applied to the artwork and also fills and strokes via the appearance panel.


The generated artwork is not a standard path as it is made up of multiple components but the appearance panel does allow for additional fills and strokes (not always effective) to be added.


The 3D bevel effect can be applied though the results are not always great. The blur etc filters can be applied to the artworks and they result in a blurry design (as above). You can add multiple effects. You can tweak the results at any point


Transform such as shear : transformYou can select the generated artwork and you can transform the design such as scale as well as rotate. You can also shear as well.


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


Apply envelopes to warp the art : Likewise, the object menu envelope command can be applied to the Illustrator flare tool generated paths 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.


Distort and transform : effects addedYou can generate multiple copies of the design. They are all live so can be edited at any point. You can create lines and contours and spirals and much more (you can also apply multiple transforms for even more amazing designs such as circular spirals and more). All can be tweaked further via the effects and the appearance panel


One thing to remember with the live effect transform and you want a circle of the designs - 360 degrees, 10 copies.. you really should enter 9 in the copies field as you already have one copy, the original.


How to reset the effect in the panel : If the settings have got out of hand and you are not sure what the original settings were, you can always reset them while in the panel.


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


Save the art as symbols : The Illustrator flare tool paths can be saved as symbols. As symbols, they can be applied using the symbol sprayer tool. As a symbol, they can be re-used and they are identical. As symbols, they can also be manipulated like any other symbol and fills / strokes and live effects can be applied to the instance. You can spray and splatterthe glowing artwork across the image.



How to change the color of the artwork : re-color the artThe tool's panel offers no means to change the color of the glow, so applying the tool results in the same color effect each and every time (whether large or small).


You can change the color by using tools such as the color guide


Or change the color by using the edit menu and the adjust color balance command.


Rings : repeatThe rings option adds an extra touch of class to the art. The rings do not need to be applied in a particular direction, they can be just layered on top of the center of the design by just setting the path setting to 0pt.


The number of rings 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 glow.


On the right, you can see the result of adding multiple rings (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 burst. Of course you can also create multiple paths and combine them with blending modes etc


Ungroup the result to access all the parts : Ultimately, the effect is made up of multiple paths (open and closed) and you can just ungroup the work. Ungroup and the art is no longer a live effect and can no longer be edited via the panel.


The creation can be broken into rings, rays etc. You can then modify each part such as adding additional designs or moving the origin of the rays and more.


Rasterize the glowing artwork : rasterizeYou 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 design to Photoshop and apply various image adjustments and then re-copy the artwork back into AI and then apply the image trace. You can see the result of an image trace applied in black and white on the right


I am not so keen on a singular burst as I always feel the 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.


Opacity and misty lights : total fieldMillions 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 artwork (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 artwork.


Keywords : How to use flare tool in Illustrator Tutorial


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