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How to Create a Rainbow Lens Flare Overlay Effect in Photoshop

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial, we'll create a rainbow lens flare Photoshop overlay for a photo using standard Photoshop brushes and adjustment layers.

If you want to learn these techniques via video, check out our lesson on the Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:

Tutorial Assets

You'll need the following resource in order to complete this tutorial:

1. How to Prepare the Document

Step 1

First of all, we need to open the image. Press Control-O and select the image you want to use.

Opening the image in Photoshop

Step 2

Right-Click on the layer, and then click Convert to Smart Object.

converting the layer to the smart object

Step 3

Now let's create swatches with the colors we will use for our rainbow lens flare. Go to Window > Swatches to open the Swatches panel.

opening the swatches panel

Step 4

Open the Color Picker in the Tools panel, choose #9f61f6 for the color code, and then hit Add to Swatches.

adding the first color to the swatches

Step 5

After that, you need to add the following colors to the swatches:

  • #7190fb
  • #5af8f9
  • #4efe89
  • #f8d45b
  • #f9624f
creating swatches

2. How to Add the Color Correction

Step 1

Before we start to create the sun lens flare, we need to add some color correction to our image. Select the smart object and hit Shift-Control-A to open the Camera Raw settings and use the following settings:

  • Exposure: -1.30
  • Clarity: -18
adding the camera raw filter

Step 2

After that, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves and create a point in the center of the curves, and then drag it down.

creating curves adjusment layer

Step 3

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels and use the following settings: 8; 1.00; 251.

creating levels adjusment layer

Step 4

And finally, to add the faded look to our photo, let's create another adjustment layer. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Exposure and set the Offset to +0.0100.

adding the exposure effect

3. How to Create a Rainbow Lens Flare Photo Overlay

Step 1

Now we can start to create our sun lens flare overlay. Create three new layers by pressing Alt-Shift-Control-N, and put them below the exposure layer.

creating new layers

Step 2

Hit B to activate the brush tool and use the following settings for our brush:

  • Size: 50 px
  • Hardness: 45%
setting up the brush

Step 3

Pick the first color from the Swatches panel, and create the first element of the rainbow lens flare on the first empty layer.

creating the first lens flare color element

Step 4

After that, create five more strokes using the colors from the swatches.

finishing the first lens flare

Step 5

In the same way, create two more strokes on the empty layers.

creating the second and third lens flares

Step 6

Select the first layer with the brush strokes and go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 40 px.

adding the gaussian blur effect to the first rainbow layer

Step 7

After that, add the Gaussian Blur effect to the second and third layers by pressing Alt-Control-F.

adding the gaussian blur to the second and third layers

Step 8

Select the lens flare layers while holding Shift and then change the Blending Mode of the lens flare layers to Overlay.

changing the blending mode

Step 9

Create another layer under the rainbow lens flare layers, and then hit B and draw white strokes under the lens flare effect.

creating white strokes

Step 10

Add the Gaussian Blur effect to the layer by pressing Alt-Control-F.

adding the gaussian blur to the layer

Step 11

And for the last step, we need to change the Blending Mode of the layer to Overlay and the Opacity to 25%.

changing the blending mode and opacity of the layer

Awesome Work, You're Now Done!

In this simple way, we can create a rainbow lens flare photo overlay in Adobe Photoshop using standard brushes, smart filters, and adjustment layers.

Final result

Looking for an overlay for a photo or want to create more effects like this? Check these awesome Photoshop resources from Envato Elements:

30 Flare and Haze Overlays

This pack of overlays is useful for creating soft photos. This overlay pack contains not only sun lens flare overlays but also haze and simple flare. It's extremely easy to use—just put it over your image and set the blending mode to screen.

30 Flare and Haze Overlays

50 Light Leak Overlays

This collection of 50 light leaks will help you to create cool photo overlays in a few simple clicks. All textures come in 5000 x 5000 px resolution and could be used with almost any image.

50 light leaks overlays

Lens Flares V1

This little pack of lens flare transparent overlays could be extremely useful for creating visual effects for your photos, prints, and wallpapers. All textures come in PNG format and 5000 x 2000 px resolution.

lens flares v1

40 Light Leaks, Flares & Glass Effects

If you are looking for a light effect Photoshop creation kit, this pack is the best choice! It contains 40 high-resolution JPEG files suitable for any photos and purposes: from light leaks and flares to glass effects.

40 Light Leaks Flares  Glass Effects

Magic Photo Overlays

If you want to create photo overlay effects in Photoshop with bold colors and a magical style, then take a look at this pack of 20 hi-resolution JPEG files.

Magic Photo Overlays

Want to learn how to create more photo overlay effects? Check these awesome tutorials:

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