if you saw a tutorial before on how to create a rain effect in Photoshop, you probably know that you can create them using noise or fibers filters, But in this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to make realistic rain in Photoshop by creating a custom rain brush from scratch.

And in my opinion, using custom Photoshop brushes is much better because you can create it once and then use it over and over again, instead of going through multiple steps of adding filters each time you want to add the rain effect.

So let’s get started

We will be adding the rain effect on top of this image, But first, let’s create the custom rain brush.

make realistic rain in Photoshop

1– How to create a rain Brush in Photoshop

start by creating a new document, set the dimension to 1000px by 1000px, and click on create.
Make sure your background color is white, then create a new layer, Take the brush tool, switch the foreground color to black, and then take a hard brush and increase the softness Just a little. and click once
now you will have a black circle like this.

Next, you are going to transform this circle by clicking on ctrl/cmd ⌘ + T and also holding shift ⇧ + alt/optn ⌘ to unlock the proportional scale and squish it down all the way until you get the thin line like this.

we’re going to add multiple of these, So hold alt/option and click and drag to create multiple copies of it and change their sizes to get multiple rain lines in different sizes.

and these line variations are what’s going to create the randomized rain effect, but before we convert it to a brush preset, we can make a few changes to it, to add imperfections and make them look a little bit more like a realistic rain line
What you need to do next is select all those layers you created, click on ctrl/cmd ⌘ + E to merge them,

Now select that layer and go to filter > pixelate > mezzotint, choose “coarse dots” from the dropdown list, and then click ok

Once again, reapply the filter but this time choose fine dots and then click ok, this will add a rustic effect and add some imperfections to the rain lines

Next, go to filter > blur > Gaussian blur, and add some Gaussian blur just to remove that harshness and make it look less perfect, so about 0.8 px is enough.

Then apply another blur filter by going to filter > blur > motion blur, make sure to change the angle to 0 and increase distance just a little bit so that the gaps between the lines are somewhat filled, in this case, i added about 7 or 8 pixels.

The last thing you’re going to do is add some levels by clicking on Ctrl/cmd ⌘ + L
And If you drag the mid-tones slider to the left, you’re going to increase the imperfection effect. And if you also drag it to the right, the lines will become smoother just like they were before.

In this case, move the midtones slider a little bit to the left, and also move the bottom slider to the right to make the overall lines less visible, just like so

So these are all the changes you need to do, Now we can convert it to brush preset, and to do that, go to edit > define brush preset, Then you can rename your brush and click ok.

So this is what the brush looks like, It does not exactly look like realistic rain for now, and we’re going to modify some brush settings for that.

First, go back to the original document and create a new layer on top,

Now you can open the brush settings panel to modify some settings, If you don’t see the brush settings tab, you can always open it by going to window > brush settings.

So as you are making changes in the brush settings panel, you’re going to see how your brush is going to look like inside the preview window, and the first thing you need to do is increase the spacing under the brush tip shape menu, Then enable shape dynamics and increase the size jitter.

As you can see here, it’s going to add some variations in brush size and make smaller and bigger brush strokes to randomize the effect.

Next, keep the “minimum diameter” and the “angle jitter” to 0, and then under “control”, change the drop-down option to “initial direction”.
This will make the rain effect follow the direction of your brush stroke
So now wherever direction you paint with the mouse, you will see that the rain will follow it.

Ok, the next thing you need to enable is “scattering”, then check the “both axes” checkbox and increase the scattering to your liking.
This is going to add spacing between the brush strokes and it’s going to help the rain effect. Look a little bit more, realistic.

Almost there, the next thing you’re going to enable is “transfer”, and then increase the opacity jitter
This as the name implies, we’ll make the brush strokes different in capacity levels so this is also very helpful in making the effect look realistic, So for me, about 40% looks good.

And the last thing you are going to check is “build-up”.
what buildup does is, it’s gonna allow you to click and hold the mouse, and slowly add the brush strokes and build up the effect.

All right, So that’s all the settings that we needed to tweak inside the brush settings panel, and now to save these settings, you need to convert this one to a brush preset.

So to do that, click on the menu in the top right corner and select “new brush preset”, and before you click ok, you’re going to see that you have a couple of options that you can check.

The first one is “capture brush size”, which is self-explanatory, it’s going to save and maintain the exact brush size when you convert this brush to a brush presets.

Next is “include tool settings”, which is the settings from the brush settings panel.
And lastly, you can also include the color, which is your current color from the swatch in the bottom left corner.

So in this case, i unchecked “capture brush size” and kept the other two options enabled.

Once you do this, you’re going to find your newly created brush at the bottom of the brush panel, And now all of these settings are saved and you can use this brush over and over again whenever you want.

2 – How to add a rain effect in Photoshop

Okay, So now that you know how to create a realistic rain brush from scratch, let’s add some rain effects to our image.
So we are going to add the rain effect in multiple layers, the first layer is small rain in the background, then another layer of bigger rain in the foreground to make the effect look realistic.

So on a new layer, take a small brush size, adjust the spacing to your liking, and paint with white in the background.

if the rain effect does not look as strong as you want it, you can always duplicate the layer to increase the contrast and merge these two layers together using ctrl/cmd ⌘ + E and control the visibility using the opacity slider.

This is the first layer of the rain effect, and obviously, we don’t want this to be on top of the subject.

So what I did is I used the pen tool to make a selection around the subject, but in many cases using “select subject” is easier to quickly create a selection of your subject by going to “Select > Subject”
Once you have a selection create an inverted layer mask by clicking on the layer mask icon holding alt or option, and this will mask the effect from the subject

Now we can add another layer of rain on top of this, so select the rain brush again, and this time increase the brush size for this layer, in my case, i also increased the spacing more and painted with white again on top

We’re going to also add a depth of field effect to this layer by adding some lens blur, but before we do that, add a new layer underneath it, and fill this layer with black then merge these two layers together, the reason for doing this is so we can see the effect of the lens blur better.

To fill a layer with black, first press D to reset the color swatch to its default color, now your foreground color should be black, then click on alt + B Space (Win) or option ⌥ + delete (Mac)

Now let’s apply some lens blur by going to filter > blur > lens blur.
Make sure to change the preview to “more accurate”, and then you can increase the effect of the lens blur using the radius slider, in this case, i chose a radius from 25 to 30, click ok, And then change the blending mode of this layer to screen to hide the blacks.

And by doing this, as you can see, we have created some depth of field effect.

3 – How to add bounce raindrops

So with all this rain added to the image, I think it’s going to make more sense to add some raindrops, bouncing on the umbrella to make the effect look realistic.
So start by creating a new layer on top, and inside the brushes panel, we are going to use a dust brush to create the raindrop effect and it will look just fine for this example.

if you don’t have a dust brush, don’t worry it’s included in my rain brush set and you can download it down below and follow along with this tutorial.

Download My Free Rain Brush Set!

The brush set includes rain and particles brush.

Once you have the dust brush installed, start with the small brush size and paint some small particles on top of the umbrella and you should get a result like this.

Now add a new layer on top and make the brush size bigger.
And this time, paint bigger dust particles, But before you do that, you might want to increase the spacing.

So this is before and after. And as you can see, this makes the rain effect look much more realistic.

And that’s how to create a rain effect in Photoshop, And as you can see by creating a custom brush and doing it in multiple levels to add some depth, we were able to create a realistic effect using this method rather than adding it in one layer using the dust or fibers filters.

if you want to learn more about custom brushes, checkout How to create a stars brush and how to create a smoke brush tutorials

So that’s it for me today, thank you for following along with this tutorial and I’ll see you in my next one. ✌️