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Water Drops - viewed 470,415 times

1. Preparations

Open an image in Photoshop that needs one or more water drops. In my example I used the image of a leaf that you can download here (In Windows: right click, save target as).

SelectionAdd a new layer by clicking on the New Layer icon New Layer and make a circular selection with the Elliptical Marquee Tool Elliptical Marquee Tool. It doesn't have to be a perfect circle, as long as it looks like one. For this Photoshop tutorial try to make a selection that is close to the size of my example. This ensures that your result will look the same as the result of this tutorial. After ending this tutorial you're always free of course to experiment with different sizes.

Now press the letter D on your keyboard to make the foreground color black and the background color white.


2. Add a gradient

With the selection still active, select the Gradient Tool Gradient Tool and select a linear gradient Linear Gradient (B) in the options bar at the top.

Option BarGradient Fill
If everything is ok, then we should see a preview of the gradient in the options bar (A).

Make sure that it goes from black (left) to white (right). If that's not the case then make sure that the option reverse is not selected (C). If you don't see a black & white gradient, then double click on the gradient in the options bar (A) and select the gradient from the list and click OK.

We are now going to draw a gradient from left to right. We start at the red dot and pull the gradient all the way to the blue dot.

After you're done, deselect the selection by pressing Ctrl + D (command + D on the Mac) on your keyboard or by selecting in the menu Select / Deselect.

3. Add transparency

OverlaySet the blending mode of the layer in the layers palette to Overlay.




4. Add layer styles effects

Add a Layer Style by clicking on the layer style icon in the layers paletteAdd Layer Style

First select Drop Shadow and use the following settings:

Drop Shadow Settings

Now select Inner Shadow and use the following settings;

Inner Shadow Settings

The result of this later style should look like this: Result of Layer Style


Remember; you're always free to make slight changes to the settings in my example. It all depends on what your background looks like or how big your water drop is.

5. Add a highlight

Final result Press de letter X on your keyboard to switch the fore- and background; the foreground color is now white. Now select a hard brush Brush Tool with a size of 6 pixels (the size depends on size of the water drop) and click once in the upper left corner of our water drop.

That's it. A quick and simple way to create a convincing looking water drop.

Final words

It's recommended to create a Layer Set (Click here for our Layer sets/groups Photoshop tutorial ) for both water drop and highlight. That makes it easier to move the water drop by just moving the layer set using the Move Tool Move Tool.
You can add extra copies of this Layer Set by dragging and dropping the Layer Set on the New Layer icon New Layer.

Remember, it's also easy to resize the content of a Layer Set by selecting the Move Tool Move Tool and selecting in the menu Edit/Free Transform or by pressing Ctrl + T (command + T on the Mac).
Pulling a corner with the mouse will allow you to resize the content of the layer set. Make sure to hold down the shift key while you do that to constrain the proportions of the water drop.

When you resize a water drop, make sure you change the distance of the drop shadow; make it smaller if the water drop is going to be smaller, make it bigger if you want a larger water drop.

You can change the shape of the water drop by selecting the layer with the water drop and using the Liquify Tool ( In the menu choose Filter/Liquify... ) and using the Forward Warp Tool Forward Warp Tool.

Water drops: different sizes and shapes The technique that we have discussed in this tutorial doesn't change the background behind the water drop. Normally a water drop works like a magnifying glass and will magnify the background underneath.

If you want to distort the background then you have to Ctrl + click ( Command + click on the Mac) on the thumbnail of the layer with the water drop and it will create a selection based on the water drop. You then have to make the background active (it has to be unlocked, if it isn't double click on it to unlock it) and with the selection active you go to the menu and select Filter/Liquify... and use the Bloat Tool Bloat Tool to magnify the background by one or two clicks with the mouse button on the selected area of the background.
Be aware though; this means that you can't move the water drop anymore, since moving the water drop does not move this magnified area of the background.

Have fun!

For more help with Photoshop check out ourPhotoshop Trainingsection.

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