In today’s Photoshop tutorial we’re going to have some fun changing the weather in a photograph by adding a heavy rain shower. The effect works best on night shots of dark streets to give the image a dramatic mood. We’ll amplify the subtle light reflections on the pavement to simulate the appearance of a wet surface, then add three layers of rain drops, each at different sizes to achieve the illusion of depth.

Rain effect in Photoshop

The photo I’ll be working with is a shot of an dark urban street. The effect works the best with nighttime photos because the darker background helps makes the raindrops visible. Dark street images also produce great results by turning the photograph into a scene from a dramatic thriller!

Open your chosen image in Adobe Photoshop. We’ll first work on making the surface appear wet, which will complement the raindrops to achieve a more realistic effect. Go to Select > Color Range and choose the Highlights selection method.

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  1. I really like how the light effects do wonders for the wet street so thanks for that. I do however, have a couple notes. The rain above the lights wouldn’t be lit the same amount as below the light and the rain to the right of the lamps wouldn’t be falling at the same angle as the center and left of the image because the buildings being in the way. Those two things just stood out right away that it was doctored. I think with those changes and maybe adding some vertical drops from the buildings and light it would be much more believable. Cheers and thanks again.

  2. I’m intrigued by the ‘highlight’ selection at the start. I can’t believe how much it adds to the ‘wet’ look!
    Awesome tutorial, Chris!
    Thank you!

  3. Many thanks to you Chris for yet another great tutorial.

    Your incredibly detailed and informative tutorials have, from the beginning, been the mainstay of my Ps and Ai resources — guess one could say you’re the best “go-to for how-to!”

    Miss Diana

    ps. While I heartily agree with Jake regarding light sources, etc., the sheer endless creative possibilities one conjures up from the simple, yet fundamental design principles illustrated here is what makes these tutorials such a boon! However, I would be amiss if I didn’t thank Jake for his beautiful comment — comments, like Jake’s just add that much more to the whole rich creative juices going one here :)
    Miss D.

  4. One question can i use both png and jpeg image, If answer is yes then which you prefer. otherwise no any other single problem to made like your image.thanks for great sharing.

    • Nelly, png is lossless so the better choise of the two if you want to reopen the files. And png saves layers and can be made transparant. Jpeg can’t.

  5. Very informational blog, You inform very deeply about Photo-shop tool to change Image design. I am a designer and after read all steps I know how i can make my image attractive. Thanks

  6. Thanks for this awesome article. I have been one of those that always think about how to start using Adobe Photoshop.
    Till now, I was using Canva and other online tools to create a feature for my blog post. Just Start Learning Adobe Photoshop, and trying to learn new thing in photoshop everyday.

    And it is very useful for me and other Newbie, who is learning photoshop. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  7. Great and detailed tut Chris, thanks. The only things what I would add in this image are some bigger fuzzy rain drops in the foreground and some haze in the background. Image is now still clear from front to end, but with heavy rain it should be slightly hazy in the end of the street.
    My 2 cts.

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