1.) Make a new, 600 x 600 transparent file. Hit 'D' on your keyboard to set your Photoshop to it's default colors. Now, select your Paintbucket Tool and click anywhere on the stage of your new file to make the background black.
2.) Shift + Ctrl + N on your keyboard to make a new layer. Select the Brush Tool. At the top on your screen near your main toolbar, click on the upside down triangle, or what is highlighted in red in the following picture:
Scroll down until you stumble upon the Soft Round 100 px size standard Photoshop brush. Select that.
3.) Near the top right of your screen, select the Brush Panel, as displayed in red in the following picture:
4.) Select and highlight Shape Dynamics, and give it the following settings:
5.) Now, using your modified brush, click and drag to make a nice long stroke down the center of your stage. It should fade out automatically and look similar to this:
6.) Grab your Smudge Tool, and near the top of your screen close to your main toolbar, give your Smudge Tool the following settings:
Be sure it's a 1 px Hard Round brush.
7.) Here's the very tedious part of the tutorial where most of the beginners fall off. You're on your own on this one.
Click and drag from the center of your flare outwards, and it should make a nice, fine smudging effect. It's not visible at first, but as you go on, it will become more visible. The red arrows in the following visual represent the direction in which you should be smudging:
Do this continuously until all edges of your flare have a nice and fine feathery effect. It's recommended that you do this quickly to conserve time.
8.) Keep doing Step 7, and if you did it right, you should have close to the following visual:
If you don't have close to that, then maybe it's because you either overdid it, or you didn't add enough detail. Keep going through Step 7 again until you get something similar to the above picture.
9.) Now, select your Smudge Tool again, and go to where you edited your brush before (not the panel, the toolbar at the top). This time, select the upside down triangle and scroll down and select the Spatter brush. (You can identify the brush by hovering your cursor over a brush sample). It doesn't matter what size you choose, just make sure it's Spatter.
10.) Smudge near the bottom of your flare, and make it fade nicely. Be sure to vary your brush size from 20 px - 30 px in this process. Make your flare look something like mine:
The red arrows display the direction in which you should be smudging.
11.) Ctrl + E. Shift + Ctrl + N. Set the layers Blend Mode to Overlay. Do this by looking near the bottom right hand side of your screen, and clicking on the topmost layer in the order, and you should see Normal as a blending option. Click on the upside down triangle next to it and set it to Overlay. Now, in that same area, go to where it says Fill, and set the fill opacity to 50%.
12.) Select your Brush Tool, and near the top toolbar where you select your brushes, click on the upside down triangle. On the new panel, click on the triangle that is pointing to the right to select brush sets. Select the Wet Media Photoshop brush set.
13.) Go down 2 brushes, and select the third one in the panel. It should be size 39 px and says "Dry Brush on Towel." Select that brush.
14.) On your current layer, brush over the edges of your flare, and you should get something like this:
15.) Ctrl + E. Layer->Duplicate Layer. Filter->Distort->Wave. Give it the following settings:
Set this layers blend mode to Lighten.
16.) Layer->Duplicate Layer. Edit->Transform->Flip Horizontal. Ctrl + E. Ctrl + E.
17.) Shift + Ctrl + N. Set your current brush set back to the default Photoshop brushes by going to where you select your brushes, click the upside down triangle. Then, click "Reset Brushes."
18.) Use the standard Hard Round Photoshop brush to do the next steps. Vary from 2 px - 4 px and stamp random dots all around your flare. This will create stars.
19.) Double click on your new layer (top-most layer in layer palette) to bring up the style creation window.
20.) Check and select Outer Glow, and give it the following settings:
21.) Your flare should now look like mine:
22.) Select your Brush Tool, and near the top toolbar where you select your brushes, click on the upside down triangle. On the new panel, click on the triangle that is pointing to the right to select brush sets. Select the Wet Media Photoshop brush set.
23.) Select the third brush in that brush set. Press [ on your keyboard until you get your brush down to 9 px. Go to your brushes panel again.
24.) Select Shape Dynamics and give it the following settings:
25.) Select Dual Brush and give it the following settings:
26.) Using your current brush, click and drag to make mini arial flares. Make them appear to be descending from the top of the flare.
27.) Make your foreground color red. Stamp down (with your current brush) on the tip of each flare you made to give it a head. Yours should now look like this:
You can also use the above picture as a refrence as to how to make the arial flares look.
28.) Double click on the bottom-most layer in your layers palette. It's the one with the flare itself in it.
Check and select Gradient Overlay and give it the following settings:
Click on the gradient itself to edit it. My gradient is 001A49 - 00AEFF.
29.) Click on the 2nd layer in the layer palette (the one with the stars) and hit on your keyboard Ctrl + E.
30.) Click on your top-most layer again. Edit->Adjustments->Gradient Map. Click on the gradient itself to edit it. I made my gradient 00D8FF - BBD7E2. Click OK. Shift + Ctrl + E.
You're done! Finally! Quite a long and drawn out tutorial, but it was worth it, right? There's quite a bit of detail.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, but mostly, I hope you learned something. You can keep going and add your own effects from here, but this is what I came up with without adding any extra effects: