How to Make Realistic Gunfire in Photoshop

Written by carol adams
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How to Make Realistic Gunfire in Photoshop
(0729 - canon de pistolet image by Michel Bazin from

Adobe Photoshop has a number of uses, from creating graphics for webpage layouts to restoring or retouching photographs. It can also be used to create special effects, which can range from the subtle to the dramatic. An example of the latter is adding a gunfire effect to an image. You might think that this is a task for a Photoshop pro, but anyone can do this by using the various tools of the program in concert.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Open Photoshop. Select "File" from the menu and choose "New." In the dialogue that opens, set the pixel width and height that you want for your document. Click "OK."

  2. 2

    Select the "Paint Bucket" tool from the toolbar and use it to fill the canvas with black. Change the foreground colour to yellow.

  3. 3

    Use the "Pen" tool to create a cone, the base of which should be against the point from which you want the gunfire to come. Use the "Elliptical Shape" tool to create cone and circle. Rasterise both shape layers.

  4. 4

    Merge these two layers and reduce opacity to 15 per cent. Select "Layers" from the menu and choose "Merge Visible."

  5. 5

    Select "Filter" from the menu and choose "Lighting Effects." Adjust the light so it starts from the circle and forms a narrow cone of light pointing outward.

  6. 6

    Select "Filter" from the menu and choose "Stylize." Choose "Wind." In the dialogue, make the method "Wind" and the direction the same as the direction of the fire.

  7. 7

    Select "Filter" from the menu and choose "Render." From the options, choose "Lens Flare." In the dialogue, choose "35mm Prime" and adjust the "Brightness" to 100. Click "OK." Save your work.

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