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Colouring Sparkler Light Trails

Techniques > Colouring Sparkler Light Trails

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Category: Adobe Photoshop

Creating Multi-Coloured Sparkler Trails - A software guide showing you how easy it is to colour sparkler trails.

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Sparklers tend to be recorded as a pale yellow trail, but you don't have to be restricted to this monotone finish. Here we'll show you a quick and easy way to add a little colour to your sparkler shots. We're using Photoshop, but you can use any software that has a paint brush option with a blend mode setting.

Step 1: Open your sparkler photo in your image editing program and magnify the image so it fills the screen.

Step 2: Select a brush with a size just bigger than the main trail width of the sparkler - excluding all the thin sparkling strands.

Brush Size

Step 3: Select the Overlay blend mode from the brush options. When you paint with this mode it will make sure paint just goes on the light areas and the black background is unaffected.

Blend Mode

Step 4: Choose a bright colour paint for the brush and start to paint over the trail and the loose sparks. Go a little way around the trail and then change colour and paint some more. 

Add Colour

Keep doing this until you reach the other end of the trail. You will now have a rainbow style painted trail.

Sparkler Trail Painted

We never claimed to be great at painting, but you get the idea! You can, of course, do variations, painting it all one colour or two tone. You can even try to use different blend modes. Some give very graphic cartoon style, others give a more surreal effect. Do note that some will paint over the trail and background so these are ones to avoid.


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