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Realistic Rainbow

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2. Increase realism

Return to 100% zoom in Photoshop by double clicking on the Zoom Zoom Tooltool at the bottom of the tool bar.

Go to the Photoshop menu and select Filter / Blur / Gaussian Blur... and enter a Radius of 4.5 pixels or less and click OK:

Gaussian Blur


Change the blending mode of this layer to Screen and lower the opacity to 80%:

Layers Palette


Click on the Add layer mask iconAdd Maskat the bottom of your layers palette to add a mask to this layer.

Select the Brush tool Brush Toolin the tools bar and select a soft round brush and use the following settings in the options bar:

Brush Settings


Make sure that the foreground color is black and that the mask is active (it will have a double border) and paint in the lower left area of the rainbow to remove it:

Rainbow after removing lower/left


We're nowing going to add the illusion of tiny water drops "inside" the rainbow.

Add a new layer by clicking on the Create a new layer icon New Layer at the bottom of your layers palette and rename it to Water Drops by double clicking on its name.

Press the letter D on your keyboard to make the foreground color black and the background color white.
Press the letter X to switch the foreground color with the background color. Our foreground color is now white.

Now use the same brush that we used earlier (make sure its opacity is set to 100%) and paint inside of the rainbow, using the following image as a guide. Don't paint to close to the rainbow itself and don't paint over the trees to the right, since we want to have the illusion of depth:

Adding white inside rainbow


The last thing to do is changing the opacity of this layer to 15%:

Layers Palette


The Final Image

Final Image

Final words

The effect will be most powerful when you use the right photograph; a perfect blue sky for example without any clouds at the middle of the day is not going to be very effective. The diameter of the gradient is important but also the amount of blur, so you might want to experiment with these values. In general a lower blur setting will lead to stronger colors.

I hope that you enjoyed this Photoshop tutorial.

For more help with Photoshop check out ourPhotoshop Trainingsection.

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