This is a showy (if rather hackneyed) effect, but illustrates the use of gradients and smearing. It's less complicated than it appears - I've tried to explain every step in detail.
- Open a new image (A7 landscape will do)
- Now fill with black. Open the Palette window and ensure the Paint mode is Colour (the window should have "Colouring" effect in the title bar).
- Select black. Either find it in the swatches pane and click on it, or drag all the RGB sliders to 0
- Open the Magic wand and select Whole image. Click on your picture.
- You should now have a black image. Press Space to fix. (Alternatively, after creating the image simply type Ctrl-I to invert it.)
- The default palette isn't right for our needs, so we'll use another. Open the palette window's menu and select Colouring effect:Palette>Find... A directory window should open. Find the
BlackBody palette file (this is supplied with Photodesk) and drag it onto the palette window.
- Now open the Gradient window. First we need to tell the gradient to use our new palette, so click on the Load palette icon. This transfers the colours from the palette window to the gradient effect window, and should give a you a smooth gradient through black / red / yellow / white.
- Ensure that the type of gradient is Linear.
- Click on Gradient:Setup (the pointer should change to an arrow over your image). Click near the bottom of the image and - holding the Select button down - drag vertically upwards as shown.
Setting up the gradient
- Click on the Pencil tool, then the Text icon. Change the text and font details to suit (a very bold font works best), then place your text. You should get something like this:
Placing the text
- Fix (Space), then Disable the gradient.
- Now the fun part. Click on the toolbar FX icon, and select FX:Smudge from the pull-down menu.
- Select Smear and set Diameter to 32, Strength to 90, and Spacing to 11.
- Here's the tricky bit, which needs a bit of practice. Starting at the bottom, drag the mouse upwards over the text, wobbling it around a bit. Vary the speed and direction. Keep doing this until you have something approximately as shown. Undo and tweak the Smear parameters if necessary.
Smearing the text
- Fix when you're happy with the effect.
- Open the Palette:Tone window, and select S(aturation). Bump it up to 100% and apply with Magic wand:Whole image. Repeat if necessary.
- Now place your text again, in a suitable fiery colour and in the same place as you put it originally.
- As a finishing touch, add a small (2 pixels) Gaussian blur to give a heat-haze effect (Special effects>Blur>Gaussian).