In this quick tutorial, we’ll learn how to create a simple rain effect in Photoshop. For good results make sure your image is good for this effect. Use dark photos with clouds and water. To make the effect more realistic we are going to add a layer mask and change the intensity of rain in some areas.

Create a simple rain effect in Photoshop

Tutorial Details and Resources

Difficulty: Beginner
Apps Used: Adobe Photoshop (CS5 or later)
Estimated Completion Time: 5-10′ Minutes
Resources: Girl with umbrella by Angelo

Step 1 > Open the Image

Othen the image you want to edit in Photoshop. I used my example at 1600x 1067px resolution.

add realistic rain effect in photoshop step 1

Step 2 > Highlight

We are going to create a highlight before we add the raindrops. Create a new layer and pick the Brush Tool (B) in your toolbox. Set brush size to 250px, hardness to 0 and #dfdfdf as color. Paint around the girl like the (image a). Next, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and add 86 pixels Radius. Press OK to confirm and return back. Set the blending mode to Overlay.

a) Pick a soft grey brush and paint around the girl.

rain drop effect in photoshop step 2


b) Add Gaussian Blur with 86 pixel Radius and set blending mode to Overlay.

rain drop effect in photoshop step 2b

Step 3 > Rain Drops

To create the raindrops first create a new layer and rename it “Rain Drops”. Fill the new layer with black color (#000000) using the Paint Bucket Tool (G). Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise and change the Amount to 70%, Distribution to Gaussian and check the Monochromatic box. Next, go to Image > Adjustment > Levels to add some contrast. Set Midpoints to 0,32 and Shadows to 22 like the image b.

a) Add noise to 70% Amount.

rain drop effect in photoshop step 3a


b) Add contrast with Levels.

add rain drop effect in photoshop step 3b

Step 4 > Motion Blur

Go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and change the Distance to 14 pixels. Set the Angle to -62 and press OK. Change the blending mode to Screen and lower the opacity to 95%.

add rain effect in photoshop step 4a

Step 5 > Intensity

After the motion blur, the rain intensity looks the same around the image. To make the effect more realistic we need to lower the intensity in bright areas. First, go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All to add a layer mast. Pick the Brush Tool (B) with 200-250px size, 30% opacity and black color. With the layer mask active paint over the bright areas to make them less intense.

a) Add layer mask and paint over the bright areas with a black brush.

rain effect in photoshop step 5a


b) The intensity is not the same anymore.

rain effect in photoshop step 5b

Step 6 > Contrast

To add some contrast and make the image more appealing add a new Curves Adjustment layer (image a). With the RGB channel active change the line similar to (image b).

add rain effect in photoshop step 7a

rain effect in photoshop step 6b


Disable the layers to see the difference after every step. Experiment with the angle of motion blur and rain intensity in bright areas. Every image is different so you have to use different settings.

rain effect in photoshop - preview

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