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40 Photoshop Tutorials On Rain Showers and Water Drops


With fall just around the corner, designers are looking for ways to complement their work with fall imagery like water droplets, rain on leaves and fall rain showers. Including rain or water drops in a scene can be a nice effect because water is a very compelling element. As you’ll see in the tutorials below, water drops and rain can completely change the dynamic of a design or photo.

Adding the illusion of water and rain to photographs using Photoshop can be a bit tricky. Many times the effect feels forced and cheesy, as if you’re looking at a grainy picture instead of an authentic rain shower. The tutorials below will give any designer inspiration for incorporating water scenes in fall designs and showcase some amazing water work by excellent designers. You’ll learn how to create realistic photos.

Here are other collections of Photoshop tutorials from Smashing Magazine:

Water Drop Tutorials Link

Basic water drops5
An excellent tutorial showing how to make artistic, realistic water drops.


Designing a war movie poster7
A step-by-step tutorial that teaches how to design a dark movie poster with water drops.


The Making Of “Our Future”9
It is not really a tutorial, but the designer’s description provides some insight into how this poster was designed.


Artistic rain on an illustration11
Beautiful example of adding rain to a dark illustration.


Alien Water Photoshop Tutorial13
With this Photoshop tutorial you learn how to make realistic alien-looking water.


The Rain Photoshop Tutorial15
A simple Photoshop tutorial that will teach you how to embed water drops in dark sci-fi image.


Artistic rain effect17
Create a complex composition with rain.


Displacement Water Photoshop Tutorial19
The following tutorial shows how to create a relatively simple displacement map and how to create a water surface with it. This method does not adjust for wave height and distances, but it produces good results if the water is calm and if the surface is not intersected by other elements.


Water effect photo montage21
An extremely creative way to turn a person into water.


Water Dress23
Creating a Gisele Bundchen water dress


Waterdrops Photoshop Tutorial 25 (video)
“In this video I’ll show you how to make realistic water drops. This is nothing original as I have learned this from other tutorials. I have
made some slight adjustments to suit my taste. Very simple to do. Have fun.”


Waterdrops in 5 Minutes27
The basic idea to keep in mind when creating water drops is that they are a bit complex and they have highlights, shadows, transparencies, inner shadows and inner highlights. The best way to achieve these effects is by using the Layer Styles in Photoshop. You’ll be using shadow, inner shadow, inner glow, glow, bevel and many more.


Leaf drop tutorial29
Big stylized leaf drops.


Add A Rainbow To A Photo31
In this Photoshop photo effects tutorial, we’re going to learn how to easily add a rainbow, even a double rainbow, to a photo. Of course, as with most photo effects, it helps if you start with the right type of image.


Create Silky Smooth Waterfalls33
In this Adobe Photoshop tutorial you are going to look at how to give waterfalls a silky smooth appearance, as if the photo was taken with a longer exposure which would normally require the use of a neutral density filter.


The Ocean’s Freshness Photo Effects35
This tutorial teaches how to create a wallpaper in a fresh “ocean” style. Original illustration36.


Water Drops38
So realistic, these water drops (and optional ice drops) are also simple to do anywhere, anytime.


Rainy Day Animation Using Photoshop40
“Today let’s try to make something special like an artificial rain drop using our Adobe Photoshop. Just follow the simple steps. Hope that you will enjoy the tutorial.”


Create Water Droplets Tutorial42
Here are visual step-by-step instructions to quickly create realistic
water droplets. This tutorial assumes a basic knowledge of how to use Photoshop layers.

Rain Drops
43“This is a technique I came up with when Photoshop version 6 came out. I was experimenting with some of the more advanced features of the Layer Styles dialog box and discovered some very handy techniques that can be used when you are creating transparent effects.”


Maple Water Drop45


Water Shower Out of an Elephant’s Trunk47


Create a Waterdrop49
Older tutorial for Photoshop CS1

Water/Liquid Effects Tutorial Using Adobe Photoshop CS350 (video)

Water Drops!51 (YouTube video)
Drops on a Coke bottle.


Add A Snow To A Photo53
This very easy tutorial will tell you how you can add snow to your photo.


Water drops on a spiderweb55
Great effect for creating dewy spiderwebs.

Leaf drops56
Realistic water droplets on leaves.


Adding water drops to waves58
Excellent tutorial on spicing up an action photo, like of surfing, with water.


Reflective writing with water60
A great tutorial on how to write with reflective water lines.


Ripple Tutorials Link

Illustrated water ripples62

Great tutorial on how to create water ripples in Illustrator, but not Photoshop unfortunately.



Water Ripples64

This tutorial is contained in a single picture.


Creating Water In Photoshop66
“This is going to be a quick tutorial on how to create a water effect in Photoshop. This tutorial doesn’t take long and you can get a really awesome effect that does surprisingly look like water. Hopefully by the end you should end up with something like this.”


Running Water Tutorial Link

How to create running water68

Create incredibly realistic flowing water.


Realistic water running on tap70
“Through this tutorial, we will learn how to use a combination of Photoshop filters to create a realistic effect of water running from a tap. Requires Photoshop CS2 or later.”


Water Running Effect – Photoshop CS3 Tutorial72
“In this tutorial we will show you how to create a water running effect in Photoshop CS3.”


Seamless Water Texture74
“In addition to using it for image backgrounds, this texture makes a great reflection map for more complicated works such as chrome objects.”


Rain Tutorials Link

Transform a daylight image into a dark and stormy night76
Amazing tutorial that shows how to modify a perfectly sunny image into a night picture with nasty elements.


Filtered rain effect78
Learn how to use several filters to get a rain effect in photos.


Photoshop tutorial make rain cloud lighthouse80


Rain Effect82
Learn how to create an artificial rain effect. Follow this simple tutorial that shows how to add a rain effect to any image using Photoshop CS.


Rainy streets84
Take a perfectly dry street and make it look rain-soaked.


Photoshop Brushes Link


Obsidian Dawn has created a couple of sets of Photoshop brushes that can greatly aid in the creation of water effects. You can find bubbles, drops, tears, rain, splashes and many other elements from this first set of brushes, Photoshop water brush set I87. The second set of Photoshop brushes is similar to the first, except with a much higher resolution: Photoshop water brush set II88.

Besides: Vector Water Drops in Adobe Illustrator89, Rain – Tear Drop Brushes90

Here are some other tutorials and Photoshop tutorials from Smashing Magazine:

Glen Stansberry writes for the web development blog Web Jackalope95 (feed96).


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Glen Stansberry is the editor at Web Jackalope, a blog about creative Web development.

  1. 1

    first :) nice trick….

  2. 2

    Aww, Water effect photo montage looks like Shinybinary’s tutorial for DA, but it is more detailed :) Nice collection of tutorials, good job. ;)

    Second :proud: =D

  3. 3

    yep, really nice techniques! thanks 2 Smash 4 a post!

  4. 4

    A good selection of tutorials here…
    11:53am? In the UK its 9pm.

  5. 5

    Nice post. I love how easy some of these effects are. They give each photo a totally different feel. I love the Andrei Bilan under water effect. The water effect photo montage is also very cool – great detail.

  6. 6

    Some are cool but others are lame. The “waterdrops to waves” looks like a 3rd grader did it.

  7. 7

    I cannot say anything more but its a great article. with lots of resources as always.

    After gone through few of the examples I feel I need to learn a lot of new things. lol

  8. 8

    Cool stuff. lulz

  9. 9

    Wonderful effect on the “Water Dress”. It’s a good effect in web design

  10. 10

    Great! thank you!

  11. 11

    The very classical source material, thanks

  12. 12

    I like it very much!

  13. 13

    Hey! You might also like a couple of my water drops tutorials:

  14. 14

    Muito boa a galeria de Tutoriais….^.^)

    Great Job, thank you !!!!!!!!!!!! In Brazil now its 11pm.

  15. 15

    September 25, 2008 8:16 pm

    great tutorials and collection.thanks a lot


  16. 16

    Really nice collection.

  17. 17

    yeah, I’d say mixed bag. There are definitely some decent ones here, but I’d rather see consistent quality rather than a big selection with a bunch of unimpressive tuts mixed in.

  18. 18

    Smashing delivers. good job :)

  19. 19

    Justin (

    September 25, 2008 11:58 pm

    Absolutely love the artistic rain effect and the Alien water ! … The basic water drops tutorial will surely be useful for banners for a couple of products that we sell. Once again, great to see everything in one place ! .. Good job guys ! Keep us inspired !!


  20. 20

    Jani blog for a living

    September 26, 2008 2:16 am

    Wow, these are great! I want to learn Photoshop, just have to get one :D
    I think my school gives it for free, I go now and check it out

  21. 21

    You guys are God to US… :)

    Cheerios …

  22. 22

    Awesome tutorials, more food for thought at lunch!

  23. 23

    Whoa…fantastic list. Thankyou!

  24. 24

    Excellent article ! Thanx

  25. 25

    Rather unimpressed by the whole bunch… none (or at least a majority) of them appear realistic or well done in my opinion. I look forward to an explosion of terrible looking water effects on the internet. :(

  26. 26

    Apologies Smashing, I do love you guys, but there are some very bad tutorials there.

  27. 27

    very impressive i must say..

  28. 28

    You miss this tut (below the article) Underwater

    Water & Underwater in modern webdesign + Tutorial

  29. 29

    haha spot the typo!

  30. 30

    i seriously can’t stand the stuff posted on this site.

    nobody has any criticisms? everyone just praises everything.


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