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Digital Rain

Author: serpentis

Tools Needed

  • Photoshop (or similar) and an image or photograph


Adding rain digitally can increase the drama in a photograph or 3D image and sometimes it can even make your image look more realistic. Often when photographing in the rain, the rain doesn't appear in the photograph and we all know how impossible it is to get good rain in a 3D program. This is just the way that I create rain in post work.

What You Need:

Poser 4/Poser 4 Pro Pack/Poser 5 (optional)

Bryce, Terragen, other world creator (optional)

Photoshop/Paint Shop Pro/Equivalent photo editor with layers

Your photograph or digital image

This tutorial (well that's just a DUH isn't it!?)

Used in this tutorial:


Image created in Terragen

Most preview images have been shrunk down to around 500px. Some may have larger preview images that open in a new window. Those images with larger previews will have (click for larger preview) under the image.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to e-mail me or contact me at any of the sites I frequent (3D Commune, Renderosity, Poser Pros and DeviantArt), username: serpentis.


Step 1 - Getting Started

Open your image in Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro. We're going to use the default (black and white) foreground and background color (D). The image I'm using was created in Terragen, of course your image may be a photograph or created in Poser or Bryce or…well you get the idea. ;)


Step 2 - Clones everywhere

Duplicate the layer Background layer (either Background or Layer 0) (Ctrl+J) so that there are 2 layers. Make sure your layer is named Layer 1 so you can easily follow along with the rest of the tutorial.


Step 3 - Gettin on the Grain

On layer Layer 1, we're going to be applying a Grain filter (Filter/Texture/Grain). Set the Intensity to 55 and the Contrast to 50. Grain Type Stippled.


Step 4 - Adding Motion

Now go to Filter/Blur/Motion Blur. The Angle is going to be the direction that you want the rain to “fall” in and the Distance will be the “speed” of the rain (in other words how much it's raining, like just regular rain or fast downpour.)


Step 5 -

Duplicate the background layer again (Ctrl+J) and name it Layer 2. Drag it above Layer 1. We're going to use a Layer Mask (Layer/Add Layer Mask/Reveal All) to create the “rain” effect.



Step 6 - Applying an Image

With the top layer selected, go to Image/Apply Image and apply the following settings:

Blending: Normal

Opacity: 100%

Mask: Checked

Mask Layer: Layer 1

Mask Channel: Gray

Invert: Checked


Step 7 - Blending

Change the blend mode of Layer 1 to Overlay.


Step 8 -

Create a new layer (Shift-Ctrl+N) and drag it to the top of the list. Name the new layer Layer 3, if it's not already and flood the new layer with white. Apply the Grain filter (Filter/Texture/Grain) again with the same setting as in step 03.


This is what your image should look like (or similar):


Step 9 - Motion again


With Layer 3 selected, apply another Motion Blur (Filter/Blur/Motion Blur). Use the same Angle you used in step 4 but set the Distance to double (approximately) what you used before.


You'll notice that you lose a lot of the lighter colors so you may want to do a Curves (Ctrl+M) adjustment. These are just the settings I used and thought would look good. Your results may vary depending on what look you're going for.


Step 10 - The Final Steps


Set the blending mode for Layer 3 to Linear Dodge and the layer opacity to 45%.



Of course, you may choose to use different opacities or different layer blends depending on your personal preferences. Play, play, PLAY! That can't be stressed enough, most of these settings were figured out by just playing around with stuff inside of Photoshop. :)

Step 11 - Finito