Tutorial: Using Local Adjustments to create lens flare

By request, I am creating a tutorial to add lens flare in RawTherapee Dev using local Adjustments.

The image is by @Jade_NL image posted here under License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
flares.jpg.out.pp3 (40.0 KB)



My starting point is Neutral, Auto matched tone curve, and Soft Light cranked all the way up.

Push highlights: Add a full image spot to a bright point. Add Dynamic Range & Exposure and push the highlights. We are making the image super high contrast to make flares more believable.

Round flares
Step 1: Add a regular spot. Using Dynamic Range & Exposure, set the scope to 100 (to affect all tones) and increase exposure.

Step 2: Change the transitions. Click the box to Show Additional settings (sorry, I forgot to add a pointer). Increase the transition value to create a more round shape and lower the decay to soften the edges a bit. It also helps to make hide the spot while doing this so you can fully see the effect changes have.

Step 3: Add color. Using the Color & Light tool, increase the lightness and pick a color. It got cropped from my screen shot, but I used Direct instead of Color toning in dropdown below the color grid.

Step 4: Add a second flare. Click on the Duplicate button to copy the flare. Show the spot so you can move and resize it.

Step 5: Tweak it. For this flare, I decreased the strength of the Color & Light tool and changed the color.

Stay tuned for the next episode when I add anamorphic flares.


And now the conclusion:

Step 1: Create another copy. I copied the first flare and changed the shape of the spot to an oval.

Step 2: Soften the edges. To soften the edges, I lowered the Transition value and increased the Transition differentiation XY.

Step 3: Duplicate the flare. For this flare I pulled the edges of the spot beyond the edges of the image (yes, you can do that :wink:)

Step 4: Tweak it. I changed the second flare to a more crimson color.

Step 5: Add a center. To add a center, I copied the 1st anamorphic flare and made it a vertical oval. I then increased the lightness all the way.


The above tutorial is only a starting point, and other tools can be used instead of, or in addition to, the ones I chose above, to further refine the flares. One that I would suggest is to use some negative dehaze to soften them up a bit.