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Photoshop tutorial: Making rain

Do you want to add a splash of rain to your image? Well here's how to do it in Photoshop.

|  Adobe Photoshop
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This tutorial was created by digital expert Gavin Hoey and you can watch the video version of this tutorial, plus many more by him, on

  • Software used: Photoshop CS4
  • Time taken: 15-20 minutes
 Add rain to an image in Photoshop

Step 1: Duplicate your layer

Duplicate your layer so you have the original image to go back to and rename the new layer.


Step 2: Adjustment layer

The sky's OK in this image but we want to make it look like it's a little more full with rain. To do this click on the black & white circle at the bottom of the layers panel and select levels. Move the white slider from the right more into the centre and then move the grey slider towards the white one to give your sky that stormy feel.

Adjust levels Adjustments - Levels

Step 3: Bring some of the original image back

The sky now looks great but you'll see that this process has changed the whole image. To bring some of the original detail back in the ground you simply need to get the Paintbrush Tool make sure the foreground and background colour's are set black on white then paint over the areas you want to remove the level changes from.

Image after adjusting levels
After the level adjustment
Image after using the Paintbrsh tool to bring some of the colour back
What the image looked like after using the Paintbrush tool on the ground.

Step 4: New layer

We are now going to create our rain and to do this you need a new layer so click on the new layer icon found at the bottom of the layer panel or go to Layer>New Layer and rename the layer 'fill'. 

We want to make this layer black so go to Edit>Fill. Make sure the colour that's selected is back then click OK.

Add a new layer Fill in Photoshop

Step 5: Add Noise

We're making rain from speckles of noise so go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise. Make sure Monochromatic is ticked, that Gaussian is selected and that the amount is set to 100%. Click OK.

Noise menu Add noise

Step 6: Make the rain streaky

Noisy dots don't look much like rain so we need to streak them. Go to Filters>Blur>Motion Blur. As rain falls down, change the angle to 90 and the distance to 100 then click OK.

Motion Blur menu Add motion blur

Step 7: Adjust the colour

The colours looking a little grey so to darken it we're going to adjust the Levels once again to make the rain stand out. So go to Image>Adjustment>Levels and move the white slider until it reaches the edge of the curve of the histogram then drag the black slider in until the black, grey and white markers are touching. You'll need to drag this in further than you think because the Photoshop fairies will make their own adjustments and you'll end up with more raindrops than you first imagined.
Adjust the levels

Step 8: Change blend mode

The fill layer is hiding our photo so we need to change the layer blend mode from normal to screen. Now you should be able to see your image as well as the rain we've created.

Change the blend mode
Blend mode changed to Screen

Step 9: Transform

If you look at the top and bottom of the image you'll see there's two thick lines of 'rain' this doesn't look right so we need to remove it from the image. The easiest way to do this is by going to Edit>Free Transform and dragging the corner anchors while holding down the shift key until the lines vanish. Once you're happy click the enter. If you want to adjust the angle the rain's falling from go to Edit>Transform>Perspective and adjust the anchor points accordingly. We tilted the rain into the photograph slightly but how you adjust it or if you do at all will depend on the image you're working on.
Change the perspective of the rain

Step 10: Blur the rain

The rain looks OK but it's a little too defined so we're going to blur it slightly. Go to Filter>Blur<Gaussian Blur. Adjust the radius until you're happy then click OK.

Gaussian Blur

Step 11: Use the Paintbrush tool

Now the rain's looking softer and not as fake but there's still a lot of it. Now, you might like the amount of rain that's now falling from the sky but you can remove some of it and give the rain fall a more irregular pattern as rain does in real life. To do this select your Paintbrush tool, change the opacity to around 50% and select a large sized brush then simply dab a few strokes of black paint onto the photo. Once you've finished painting out rain your new image is complete.
Brush out some of the rain
Make the rain pattern more uneven.

Image with rain added in Photoshop

You've read the article, now go take some fantastic images. You can then upload the pictures, plus any advice and suggestions you have into the dedicated Photo Month forum for everyone at ePHOTOzine to enjoy.

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Tue 5 1 Denmark
13 Oct 2014 3:21PM
I tried to add rain to this picture Beautified Slum , but it did not look good, I often find that the effects in photoshop smashes the picture and it comes far away from the original.

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