Lens flares using the Star Auto Shape

Creating a lens flare in Fireworks is fairly simple with the proper use of Symbols and the Star AutoShape. The flare I’ll show you how to create isnt neccessarily the most complex flare (sample) you’ll ever see, but at least it will advance your lens flares skills. The best part is you can update the amount of points, sizing, live effects, or color values anytime by modifying 1 symbol.

  1. Create a new document (500×500, canvas color #000000)
  2. In the Vector section of the toolbox, select the Star Auto Shape and create one in the middle of the canvas. (defaults to 5 points)
  3. With the Star selected, click and drag up the lower-left yellow node to 20 points
  4. Locate the top-center node and expand the length of all the points to the edge of the canvas
  5. Locate the center node and decrease the diameter of the center
  6. With the flare selected, add a radial gradient with #FFFFFF being the center color fading into #FFFFFF transparency, and adjust the flare’s gradient fill handles so the flare tips slightly disappear into the void
  7. Select the flare and convert (F8) it into a Graphic Symbol
  8. Name it "Flare001"
  9. Duplicate the flare (ctrl-c/ctrl-v)
  10. With the top flare selected, add a Live Effect by clicking the Effects: [+] button > Blur > Gaussian Blur (11.0)
  11. Switch the 2 layers so the blurred flare is on the bottom. (name the layers accordingly "Flare", "Flare blurred")
  12. Duplicate both Flares ("Flare", "Flare blurred")
  13. Make these sets of Flares 60% smaller than the main Flares
  14. Rotate them so the points show in the middle of the main Flares points
  15. Lower the transparency level on the smaller flare sets (40%)

You should be able to see where Im going with using symbols and the Star AutoShape by using one symbol to update all the Flare’s properties. To change the amount of flare points, simply open the "Flare001" symbol and modify the flare shape there. Once you click "Done", all the flares will adjust accordingly.

Another Flare method is:

  1. Create a new document (500×500, canvas color #000000)
  2. In the Vector section of the toolbox, select the Star Auto Shape and create one in the middle of the canvas. (defaults to 5 points)
  3. With the Star selected, click and drag up the lower-left yellow node to 20 points
  4. Locate the top-center node and expand the length of all the points to the edge of the canvas
  5. Locate the center node and decrease the diameter of the center
  6. With the flare selected, add a radial gradient with #FFFFFF being the center color fading into #FFFFFF transparency, and adjust the flare’s gradient fill handles so the flare tips slightly disappear into the void
  7. Add a "Zoom Blur" Live Effect to the Flare by clicking the Effects: [+] button in the PI > Blur > Zoom Blur (100,100)

Note: If you apply a Gaussian Blur with the quality set to 100%, there might be a slight performance issue when moving it around on the canvas. To prevent this from happening, turn the blur effect off in the PI or add it at the end when you get to the tweaking point of your design.

Bonus: Download the Custom Star command that will generate basic Stars for you. It doesnt randomly generate stars, but that will be the next upgrade if peeps find this useful. Once installed, apply the command to a "rectangle" object matching the size of your canvas, then adjust the "level" properties in the PI to increase or decrease stars.