Add rain to the photo

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a rain effect in Photoshop. Since creating rain effects is not a novelty in Photoshop, then we will go further, I will show you how to make the image more photorealistic by adding reflections and small puddles. So let’s get started!

Final result

Baseline materials:


Step 1

Open the stock image “Walk along the pier” in Photoshop. Double click on the layer to unlock the image, name this layer “Base”.

The first step to create a rain effect is to include suitable clouds. Let’s go File – to place(Go to File> Place …) and select the stock image “Cloudy Scotland”. Place this layer on top of the “Base” layer. We need to slightly stretch the image with the clouds so that the clouds completely cover the sky. To do this, press the keys (CTRL + T) to activate the tool. Free Transformation (Free Transform), set the height value to 120%. Press the (Enter) key to confirm the change, name this layer “Sky”. Place this layer with the sky below the “Base” layer.

Step 2

Select the tool you prefer to work with to create a selection around the sky image on the Pier Walk image (I used the Fast selection (Quick Selection Tool). From the “Basis” layer, press the keys (CTRL + G) to create a group for this layer, and then add a layer mask to the created group to hide the selected sky area.

I propose to take the time to correct the details. This will help achieve a photorealistic result at the end of the lesson. To do this, while on the group mask layer, select the tool Brush (Brush (B) to fill in the defects on the image. Use white to restore image details or black to hide image details.

The image still contains colored areas of the sky, so add a correction layer to the “Sky” layer. Black and white (Black White) to match the sky layer to the “Base” layer.

Step 3

When it rains, the air becomes humid, resulting in a fog that hides some objects that are at a distance. To create a fog effect, create a new layer on top of the adjustment layer. Black and white (Black White). Next, select a large soft gray brush (# C3C3C3 in this case) and with this brush, draw a straight line on the horizon (hold down (Shift) while painting to keep the line straight). Reduce the opacity of this layer to 50%. Next, duplicate this layer (CTRL + J), and then drag the duplicate layer vertically to soften the fog a little. Name both layers “Fog”.

Finally, add a new adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) on top of all layers to darken the entire image.


Step 1

The standard method for creating rain is a combination of filters. Add Noise (Add Noise) and Motion blur (Motion blur filter). First, create a new layer (CTRL + Shift + N), then fill it with black (press the (D) key to set the default colors, and then press the (Alt + Backspace) to fill the layer with black. Next we go Filter – Noise – Add Noise (Filter> Noise> Add Noise). Scale up the noise layer to 400%.

Next, go Filter – Blur – Motion Blur (Filter> Blur> Motion Blur) and to the effect of noise, add a blur filter in motion at an angle. Press the keys (CTRL + M) to bring up the adjustment layer window. Curves (Curves) to add contrast to the noise. Finally, change the blending mode for the noise layer to Lightening (Screen), name the “Rain” noise layer.

Now the solution to what the more realistic and interesting effect of rain depends on is the degree of randomness of the drops. We know that rain usually does not flow in perfect straight lines due to the wind. To obtain this degree of randomness, we will have to repeat the process several times, changing the size of the grains with added noise, as well as the angle of inclination of the motion blur filter. In this case, I repeated the process, at the same time I zoomed the image of noise up to 250%, and the angle of motion blur used 79 °.

Repeat the process again, this time zoom in to 600%, the blur angle is 60 °.

In conclusion, I just created a noise and darkened it very much. Name this layer “Noise”.

Step 2

Change the blending mode for all “Rain” layers to Lightening (Screen), turn on the visibility of these layers.

At the moment, the rain is a little too saturated. To fix this, add a layer mask to each rain layer, while on the layer mask layer, go Filter – Rendering – Clouds (Filter> Render> Clouds). This action will reduce the effect and give the rain more randomness. Also, reduce the opacity of the “Noise” layer to 20%.


Step 1

We coped with the rain effect. However, our image still does not look realistic. Because of which? Well, when you look at photographs that show rain, you realize that rain drops are usually barely noticeable. What is noticeable in this case is dark, impregnated earth, reflecting glare, and this is the most important and most difficult part of the process. First you need to select the area of ​​the image of the pier. Choose any selection tool that you prefer to work with, then create a selection, and then fill it with a solid color on the new layer.

Once you are satisfied with the result, hold down (CTRL) + click on the layer thumbnail to load the active selection of the pier, then create a new group for the pier layer, and then add a layer mask to the layer with the created group. Name the group “Pier Mask”.

Step 2

Duplicate the “Base” layer, move the duplicate layer to the “Pier Mask” folder. Let’s go Filter – Filter Gallery – Sketch (Filter> Filter Gallery- Sketch) and select a filter Bas-relief (Bas Relief). Apply the values ​​that are shown in the screenshot below, and then press (Enter). Next, to the duplicate base layer, add an adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) to darken the image a little bit (convert the adjustment layer into a clipping mask by holding down the (Alt) key + click between two layers). Change the blending mode for this layer to Lightening basics (Color Dodge).

Once again let’s create a cloud layer to add randomness. First, create a new layer, apply a cloud filter to it. Press the keys (CTRL + T) and then reduce the image with the clouds to the horizon. Still in mode Free Transformation (Free Transform), right-click on the document and in the window that appears, select the option Perspective (Perspective). Move the reference points as shown in the screenshot below in accordance with the perspective of the boards on the pier. While on a cloud layer, press the keys (CTRL + A) to select the entire image, and then (SHIFT + X) to cut off any extra cloud areas. To the layer that you created in the previous step, add a layer mask, go to the tab Channels (Channels), then go to a copy of the layer and paste the clouds.

Step 3

Since the pier boards were wet, they should reflect the objects above them, including the sky. To do this, duplicate the “Sky” layer, move the duplicate layer to the “Pier Mask” folder. Flip duplicate layer vertically (CTRL + T, right-click and in the window that appears, select the option Flip Vertically (Flip-Vertical), set the layer opacity to 15%. Notice that I moved the adjustment layer. Black and white (Black White) upstairs, placing it on top of the “Pierce” group.

Step 4

Now we need to select the objects between the pier and the sky. To do this, click on the thumbnail of the layer with the “Pier Mask” group to load the selection (hold down (CTRL) + click on the layer thumbnail). Next, invert the active selection. Selection – Inversion (Select> Inverse), then hold down the keys (CTRL + Alt) + click on the layer mask of the “Pier” group. Without removing the active selection, go to the “Base” layer, then press the keys (CTRL + J) to duplicate the active selection, so we will duplicate the objects between the pier and the sky with a new layer. Name this layer “Reflection”.

In the next step we will do a little trick. To help yourself create reflections, you must turn off the visibility of all effects. Create a new layer below the “Reflection” layer, fill it with red color, for this we go Editing – Fill (Edit> Fill), set the opacity for this layer to 50%.

Apply option Flip Vertically (Flip vertically) to the “Reflection” layer, position the reflection on the left side of the scene so that the pair of legs match. Using tool Rectangular area (Rectangular Marquee Tool (M), create a selection around the wall on the left side of the image to raise it slightly. Without removing the selection, use the option Distortion (Skew), (CTRL + T, then right-click on the document and in the window that appears, select the option Distortion (Skew) to create a mirror image of the pier wall in perspective.

Repeat the process for the next pier wall.

Using tool Lasso (Lasso Tool (L), create a selection around the image of a man and a child. Move the selection down to match the legs in accordance with the mirror image.

Keep repeating the process until you get the following result.

Step 5

Now you can remove the red layer. Move the “Reflection” layer to the “Pier Mask” folder, placing it on top of a duplicate of the “Sky” layer. Change the blending mode for the “Reflection” layer to Multiplication (Multiply). Now, you may notice that there are still areas that need to be worked on.

Using tool Finger (Smudge tool) (located under the tool Blur (Blur Tool), you can blur reflection areas that are missing. For the section between the legs of the couple on the left side of the scene, you can simply paint over with a gray brush.

In this case, I added a layer mask to the layer with reflection and carefully processed the areas of reflection. As soon as you finish. Turn on the visibility of the layers with effects, and then lower the opacity of the layer with reflection to 35%.

Translator’s Note: The author uses a soft black brush to process the reflection on the layer layer mask. The processing area is indicated in red in the screenshot below.

Step 6

We can further enhance the contrast of the pier. Select all layers below the adjustment layer. Black and white (Black White), duplicate and then merge them. Apply Filter Reticulation (Reticulation Filter), we activate this filter through Filter Gallery (Filter Gallery). Apply the values ​​that are shown in the screenshot below. Next, press (CTRL + M) to display the correction window. Curves (Curves), slightly enhance the contrast layer using curves. Finally, place this layer in the Pier Mask group folder. Name this layer “Reticulation”.

Voila! We have completed the lesson! In case you missed something, then in the screenshot below you can see the layers palette and how it should look.

You can also compare the final result with the original image and appreciate the huge work you have done!


In this tutorial, I showed you how to quickly add a rain effect to your photos. In addition, I also showed you how to add reflection and puddles to make the rain look more realistic.

Final result

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