The Flared Addon for Blender provides several lens flare presets which work directly in the viewport. This in contrast with flares that are working in the compositor, after the render. As a result, it provides a more integrated and faster workflow in adjusting the lens flare to what you have in mind. Below I will give an argument why it is ok to use lens flares.
I remember a time that chromatic aberration was strongly discouraged. The argument behind this was that we have nowadays much better camera’s. And it wouldn’t make sense with this top notch render software like Cycles, to destroy our render. Now, this trend is the opposite: grunge, smudge, wear, tear, VFX effects etc. What I am trying to say is; why not welcome all there is, and use it whenever you want or need. In fact, some photographers use lens flare deliberately to create an effect (like a fresh spring effect, or else).
Aside of that, I tried out the Flared Addon for Blender and it’s quite a fun to play with. The addon comes with several presets and each flare or part of the flare is highly adjustable. There was one thing I struggled with, which I will discuss here below.
How the Flare Addon works
The Flare Addon is very intuitive. First you let the addon know what your camera is, you choose a preset and tell the addon what light-source you want to use to make lens flares. What happens, is that several objects (like planes with alpha) will be placed in the scene. And these objects will be parented somehow to the camera and the light source. Now here is just one thing to keep in mind. When there is an object between the camera and the light source, there should be no lens flare. But there is. I thought about a complicated solution for a while, but the solution is actually pretty simple. If you are going to animate, then animate the slider called Obstacle Occusion. You animate this in such way, that you put a key-frame every-time the light-source appears and dissapears. So, if the light is behind an object (seen from camera view), there should be no lensflare from that light. That’s it.
You can add several lens flare, and there are several styles or types. At this point it might be an idea to check some video’s, like this one;
What’s next – roadmap
Yesterday (September 16) I spoke with the developer Beniamino and het let me know he is working on two interesting features. One feature is a flicker when a flare enters the exit the camera view. It seems that some flares have that behavior. And another feature is the ability to have these lens flares in Cycles. Wow, I think that makes it pretty interesting. The trick is, that you render your scene just with cycles, and another render (EEVEE) will be mixed in the result. And for that you just have to press 1 button. So that looks pretty convenient. Another thing the developer is working at, is to make Obstacle Occlusion automatic.
Where to get the Flared Addon?
One place to get the Flared Addon is on Blender Market.