How To Create Very Realistic Water Drops In Photoshop

Photoshop 4

Whether your photo was taken in the rain or not, it is actually very easy to add realistic looking water droplets to the image. In fact, by just following the simple steps listed below, you can make any picture in your Photoshop library seem like it was taken in the rain. Not only can this beneficial effect enhance the quality of each and every image you take, but it can also be rather fun to use, especially when first learning the in‘s and out‘s on Photoshop. So, if this is something that sounds interesting to you, then be sure to keep on reading.

NOTE: Throughout this tutorial, we will be teaching you how to use the brushes found within your Adobe Photoshop program, to create a manipulation of real, live, water drops. Though the tools vary slightly depending on what version of the software you are using, the vast majority of them can be found within just about any Photoshop program.

Step 1: Locate The Water Drop Brush Within Your Photoshop Program

Step 1

As most Photoshop users already know, finding the right tools is extremely important, and for this lesson, you‘re certainly going to need to do that. The water drop brush can be found within the side panel of your Photoshop program, and should be fairly easy to locate. Once you do, be sure to click on it, and educate yourself on how to use it (if you don‘t know how to already).

NOTE: If you can‘t find, or don‘t have the water drop brushes on your program, simply download them offline before starting this process. They are a key ingredient to this tutorial, and moving forward without them is not suggested.

To install the brushes we‘ve mentioned above, simply go to Edit > Presets > Preset Manager. Then, set the Preset Type to Brush, and load the tool.

NOTE: After selecting the Brushes in the Preset Manager menu bar, you can install them by going to CustomWaterDrops.abr.

Step 2: Add Some Water Drops To Your Photo

Step 2

Although in their initial stages, they will be completely unedited and rather bland, you‘re going to need to add some very basic water drops to your photo. This will give you the canvas you need to not only start editing the water, but to make your photo look amazing.

To create these basic water drops for your photo, open your image, and select a New Layer (it is recommended that you name the layer “Water Drops“).

Next, you‘re going to want to fill your layer with white. This is done by going to Edit > Fill, and then selecting the white color option from the pull-down menu.

After selecting the color white for your layer, you‘re going to want to switch to the Brush Tool (B) and then open the Brush Presets panel.

NOTE: It is important that you make sure the foreground color is set to Black when doing this, and also to use the Water Drop Brushes to add a splattering across your entire photo.

The next step is to use the Magic Wand Tool (W), and to set the tolerance level to 5. You should also make sure the Contiguous option is enabled. After doing so, simply click on a portion of your background (which should be completely white) and create a selection of the background, but not the water drops.

Once you‘ve created a selection of your white background, you‘re going to want to create a mask for your layer, by going to Layer > Layer Mask > Hide Selection.

NOTE: It is also important that you change the layer‘s Blending Mode to Overlay, and open the layer to open the Layer Style dialogue box and implement the following style settings:

-Inner Shadow (turn off the Use Global Light and set the size to 24 px)

-Add An Inner Glow Layer (turn the Opacity to 34%, set the size to 10 px, and use color #f2f3f5)


-Add A Drop Shadow Layer Style (turn off Use Global Light, size to 9 px, and distance to 12 px)

Your water drops should now look a little better, and much more realistic. However, we are not finished with the process, and there are still a few more steps.

Step 3: Create A “Blurring‘ Of Your Background, And Turn Your Focus To The Water Drops

Step 3

As most Photoshop users already know, blurring the background of any image will create an above average focus in the foreground, which is exactly what we‘re trying to do here, to make the photo appear like it‘s actually raining.

To duplicate your background, go to Layer > Duplicate Layer, and then use the Gaussian Blur filter on the new layer. It is also recommended that you use a Radius of 10 px.

Next, Control-click the Water Drop layer you made back in Step 1, and create a layer mask selection. You should also make sure that the active layer is your blurred background layer, and that the blurry effect is removed from the water drops. This can be done by going to Layer > Layer Mask > Hide Selection.

After completing the above step, you are going to want to add a Hue/Saturation to your layer. Simply reduce the Saturation to -29 and raise your Lightness to +7. Then, go to Layer > Create Clipping Mask to clip the adjustment layer.

NOTE: It is also recommended that you add an additional layer, and name it Vignette. This layer should be full of white coloring and you should put it through the Blend Mode in order to multiply it. After doing so, select Filter > Lens Correction, which is found under Custom, then adjust the Vignette levels to -74. After doing this, your outside edges should now appear a lot darker than they did before, and almost all of your focus should be on the water drops.

Step 4: Add A Reflection To All Of Your Water Drops

Step 4

The last and final step is to add reflections to your water drops. This will give them the very realistic final touches they need in order to appear as real live water drops, and it will enhance the overall quality of your image by doing so.

To do this, create a Duplicate of your background layer by selecting Control-J, and use the Free Transform to cut this copy down into almost half the size. Then, simply move this layer to the top of your layer stack (since it is the most recent).

Then, set your Spherize to 100%, by going to Filter > Distort > Spherize.

Now, cancel your selection by clicking Select > Deselect (Control-D), duplicate the distorted layer, and then hide the original layer. You should also use the Free Transform to move/scale your copied layer and make sure it fits over each drops of water.

NOTE: For the best results, reduce your Opacity levels to 60% and change the layer‘s blending mode to Overlay.

You are also going to want to group all of these layers together, which is done by going to Layer > Group Layers (Control-G).

Next, create a mask for your Reflections group, by going to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection.

NOTE: You can also add an Inner Glow layer to these Reflections, which is done by turning your Opacity levels to 48%, your glow color to #eaeae6, your source to center, and your size to approximately 49 px.

You should now have a very realistic, very enhanced version of the image you started with, and an overall understanding of how each of these effects work.


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