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Easy Fog in Adobe Photoshop

Author: pamela-anne

Tools Needed

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Or Paint Shop Pro


You don't need fancy plug-ins to create fog, just a few simple steps. The steps in this tutorial are easy to follow and don't require advanced knowledge of Photoshop. The best part is that you already have all the tools necessary standard in Adobe Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro! I'm using my image 'Life, Love, and Happiness' because a few people asked me how I did the fog effect. I've changed the background to black, so you can see my steps more clearly.


Step 1 - Open your image and create a new layer for the fog.


Open your image in Photoshop and create a new layer on top of it.

(Click the little square with the corner folded back, or click 'Layer' on the file menu, select 'New' from the menu, and 'Layer' from the submenu)

Step 2 - Paint the shapes that will become your fog


Choose a brush of fairly good size, between 60-120 pixels. (Use a larger brush for larger images, and smaller brushes for smaller images.)

For the first layer of fog, I choose a smooth brush at 60 pixels, set at 'dissolve' with 75% opacity and 47% flow.

Start your fog layer by randomly painting blobs of color.

For this image I used plain white, because I'm placing fog over a pink and white background and I want it to be light. For darker images, use darker grays. Or Experiment with colored fog. Blue fog is spooky, green fog is alien, red fog is dangerous'

Step 3 - Blur


Select Filter, choose Gaussian Blur. I start with a blur ratio of 3%.

Step 4 - Blur adjustments and options


A low Gaussian Blur percentage level will give less blur. A higher Gaussian Blur percentage gives a smoother, thinner look.

I like the effect of a low percentage reapplied several times, rather than a large percentage applied once.

(Note: To reapply the exact same level of blur percentage again, just click Filter, and your last used filter will default to the top selection of the Filter menu. You don't have to go through the whole menu selection process unless you want to change some of the settings from your last filter application.)

Step 5 - Opacity


If your fog looks too cottony, turn the Opacity of the layer down.

Want thicker fog? Add another layer of fog on top of the first for an uneven look. Fog is usually thicker closer to the ground. Paint some more blobs and apply the blur filter again.

Step 6 - Finishing Touches


The finished product over a pink and white background with the Render Clouds filter. (Filter > > Render > > Clouds)