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Deke's Techniques is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
In this movie I'll show you how to create another weather pattern, this time driving rain coming right at the camera. We'll start off inside this dark and stormy photo, once again from the Fotolia image library. I'll be creating the rain effect on a new layer, so I'll press Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N on the Mac, and call this layer rain. And then I'll click OK. Now we will be starting off with a layer of black. Assuming black is your foreground color, press Alt+Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac. The rain effect ultimately hinges on two filters.
I'd like to apply them as Smart filters, so I need to convert this layer to a Smart Object by going to Layers panel flyout menu and choosing the Convert to Smart Object command. Next, we need to add some noise, so go up to the Filter menu, choose the Noise command, and choose Add Noise. And we want an awful lot of noise here, so I'm going to crank the Amount value up to 75%. I want a lot of contrast, so I'm going to set the distribution to Gaussian and then I'll turn off Monochromatic to get rid of all that color, and then I'll click OK.
To preview how things look so far, go ahead and change the blend mode from Normal to Screen over here inside the Layers panel, and we end up with this effect that might be mistaken for snow, but it's certainly not rain. Now, if you're looking for rain that goes parallel to the camera, you'd go to the Filter menu, choose the Blur command, and then choose Motion Blur. And if I set for the angle to something like -65 degrees, with a distance of 90 pixels, I end up with this effect here, and then you can use the rest of the technique as I'll be showing it to you, in order to make the rain look for realistic.
However, I want the rain to come right at us, so I'm going to cancel out of the dialog box and I'll go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur once again, and this time choose Radial Blur. And you don't have a preview associated with this dialog box, so you just have to kind of feel your way around. Assuming that the blur center is right there in the center of the box--it looked like it was a little off to me-- then you want to set the Blur Method to Zoom and you want to take the amount value up to something like 25 and set the quality to Best.
Then click OK in order to apply that filter, and we get the base driving rain effect, except it's not quite right. It's too bright, for example. We're getting too much mist coming off the drops. So to drop out the darkest colors in the layer double-click in an empty portion of the layer to bring up the Layer Style dialog box and then take this black triangle that's associated with the This Layer slider here and move it to a position of 50 and then press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and drag the right half of the triangle all the way up to 150, like so.
And you'll end up dropping out the darkest areas of the layer. I also want a higher impact effect, so I'm going to change the blend mode from Screen to Linear Dodge so that the brightest pixels end up brightening the composition that much more. Then I'll click OK to accept the effect. There's just a couple problems. First of all, the rain is too intense toward the central portion of the image. And secondly, if you zoom out, you can see that we have this weird edge fringing going on. We'll take care of the second problem first. The layer just isn't big enough.
So all go up to the Edit menu and choose the Free Transform command, or you can press Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac. You'll very likely get this warning that's telling you you won't be able to see your Smart filters as you scale the layer. That's to be expected, so I'll click the OK button. And then up here on the options bar I'll click that chain icon to lock the proportions of the image and I'll change the Width value to 110%, which is enough to take care of those bad edges. So I'll press the Enter key a couple times--that would be the Return key a couple times on a Mac--in order to apply the transformations, and you can see that the bad edges go away.
All right, I'm going to zoom in once again. Now to take care of the problem in the center. We'll start by adding a layer mask, which you can do by clicking the add layer mask icon at the bottom of Layers panel. Then go ahead and grab your brush tool, which you can get by pressing the B key, and I'm going to right-click in the image. I want to a big whopping brush, so I'll change the Size to 700 pixels and then I will make sure my Hardness value is set to 0%. I'll press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to hide that panel.
With the foreground color set to black, I'll just click once right there at the center the image. All right. That's all I need, so I'll press the M key to switch back to the Rectangular Marquee. Now you can see, I've gone too far. I do want to have some rain in the center, so I'm going to decrease the density of this layer mask by going up to the Window menu, choosing Masks, and then I'll reduce that Density value to 50%. And I end up with this effect here. All right, I'll press the F key a couple times in order to fill the screen with the image.
And this is our final driving-rain effect, created using a combination of Add Noise and Radial Blur here inside Photoshop.
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