Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
Gang this is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's Techniques. This week, I'll show you how to create Synthetic Water Droplets inside Photoshop. So, the wood grain in the background; that's an actual photograph, but the droplets themselves are 100% fabricated. I am going to start off in this movie by showing you how to create the drops. Now you might look at this and say, well, these don't look much like drops, they will. And you can imagine that this kind of pattern might adapt itself to all kinds of different situations. You can create spots or contour lines, what have you, everytime you follow these steps, you're going to get different results.
And there's no drawing involved. It's all a combination of three filters, and two adjustment layers. Here, let me show you exactly how it works. Here's the final water drop effect, just so you can see it on screen. We're going to start off inside of this image. It comes to us from the Fotolia Image Library, about which you can learn more at fotolia.com/deke. But really, any texture background is going to work. First thing we want to do is make the image little bigger than it currently is, just so you have some additional room to work.
So, I am going to go ahead and convert this image to a Layer by double-clicking on Background, here inside Layers panel and I'll just call this guy wood and then click OK and now we want to make the image bigger. I'll go and zoom out, so that we can see what I am talking about. I'll go upto to the Image menu and choose a Canvas Size command. I am working in pixels as you can see here, I've got the relative checkbox turned on, and I am going to change the Width value to 100 and then I'll tab to the Height value and change it to 100 as well.
And that'll expand the canvas 100 pixels in each direction; that is 50 pixels up, 50 pixels down and so forth. Now I'll click OK. Then you can see that extra room represented by the transparency grid in the background. Next, what you want to do is create a New Layer by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+ N on the Mac and I'll call this layer grayness because that's what it's going to be and then you click OK. And now we want to fill this layer with gray by going up to the Edit menu and choosing the Fill command and change Use to 50% Gray, very important.
And then the Blending options are to be set to their defaults. That is mode of Normal, Opacity 100%, Preserve Transparency needs to be turned off, or else we won't actually be able to do anything, then click OK in order to create that field of gray. Now we want to apply a couple of filters, might as well apply smart filters. So make sure the grayness layer is selected here inside the Layer panel, then go to the panels flyout menu and choose Convert to Smart Object. Now go up to the Filter menu, choose Noise and choose Add Noise, and for this effect you want to crank the amount value upto 50 %, Distribution should be set to Uniform, and then you want the Monochromatic checkbox to be on, then click OK.
The next step is to go back to the Filter menu, choose Blur, and choose Gaussian Blur. For this effect I am going to crank the Radius value upto 28 Pixels, I'll show you that you can vary this value in just a moment, but for now 28 Pixels, I'll click OK. Now we're going to need room inside of our Layers panels, so I don't need this empty filter mask. So, I'll just go ahead and right-click on it, and choose Delete Filter mask in order to get rid of it. So, the last thing this looks like at this point is water drops, but we're going to change that by pressing the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, and then you want to click on this black white circle at the bottom of Layers panel and choose the Threshold command, because you have Alt or Option down, you'll see the new layer dialog box, go ahead and call this guy dropmaker and then turn on this checkbox, Use previous layer to create Clipping Mask and click OK.
And then you want to change the Threshold value here inside the Properties panel. This would be the Adjustments panel inside previous editions of Photoshop, go ahead and raise it to 129 in order to produce this effect here. Now your drops may look different than mine, because we're applying a random effect, that is to say Add Noise applies a random effect. And now I'll go ahead and hide the Properties panel. Now here's what I was talking about with Gaussian Blur. You can change that value by double-clicking on it in order to bring up the Gaussian Blur dialog box.
And now notice if you dial in some of the value, like I'll dial in 12, you're going to end up with smaller water droplets. So, whatever Radius value you dial in here, will determine the size of the drops. You might take this up to 36 and I get big huge drops like you see. Anyway, I am going to cancel out because 28 was what I was looking for. Problem at this point, I'll go ahead and zoom in is that we have these jagged transitions. We need to soften them up and here's how you do that. Go ahead and click on a dropmaker layer to make it active.
The only way to pull this one off is with the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+Shft+Alt+E or Command+Shift+Option+E on the Mac and that goes ahead and copies everything that you're seeing on screen, to new layer. Then go ahead and rename this layer Blur, because in just a moment it will be blurry. To make it so, go up to the Filter menu and choose Blur, and then choose Gaussian Blur once again, and this time we're looking for Radius value of 6 Pixels, that tends to work out best, and then click OK.
And now that we've softened things up dramatically, we need to reinstate some firm edges, and you do that using a Levels Adjustment Layer, so press and hold the Alt key once again, or the Option key on a Mac, click the black white circle at the bottom of Layers panel and choose Levels. This time around you want to call this guy Sharper, because that's the purpose this going to serve, and turn on this checkbox once again, and then click OK. And now here inside this panel changed the first input levels value to 120, and then tab your way over to the final level's values, so press the tab key twice and change that white point to 145.
So, 120 at the beginning, 145 at the end, you want to leave our gamma value set to 1.0 and you'll end up with this effect here. Now I'll go ahead and hide the panel. Now I am going to go ahead and zoom back out and we want to load what we're seeing here as a selection, that is to say. We're going to select all the stuff that is white and deselect the black stuff, and you do that by switching over to the Channels panel and then press the Ctrl key or the Command Kay on the Mac and click on RGB. Now return to the Layers panel, go ahead and gather up these layers here, sharper through grayness.
So, click on one layer, Shift+Click on the other to select that entire range. Let's group them together by going up to Layers panel flyout menu and choosing New Group from Layers and I'll go ahead and name this guy Intermediate, because these were the intermediate steps, and then I'll click OK. And now you can turn that group off. We're done with it. Now we want to reverse the selection, because we want to select the stuff that was black and you do that by going up to the Select menu and choosing the Inverse Command, then we want to create a New Layer by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N or Command+Shift+N on the Mac, and we'll call this guy drops, and then click OK.
Now tap the D key to make sure you've got your default colors, black as the foreground, white as the background and then press Alt+ Backspace or Option+Delete on the Mac to fill the selection with black, and then press Ctrl+D or Command +D on a Mac in order to deselect the image. Up here on the Styles panel I have loaded up some styles in advance here, and if you have access to the Exercise Files that are included along with this course, then you can load them up as well, by going to the Styles panel flyout menu, and choosing Loads Styles, and then navigate your way to this folder and click on fluidstyles.asl and click on the Load button, but I have already done in advance.
And now I'll go ahead and apply one of these styles, the first one, which is called Clear, which creates a kind of clear liquid effect as you're seeing here, and it's a combination of various layer affects working together. You can check out some of other ones too. We've got Lemonade right here we've Orange Soda, which creates very orange effect, indeed, it's pretty over the top. We've got Black Ink, if you want to check that out, we have Radiator Coolant, which creates a kind of blue liquid effect, this guy right there is blurred out as if we've spilled some wine on the wood.
We've also got Manhattan, the whiskey drink that is to say, and then finally, we've got this one called Crimson, which creates this goulash effect here. But the one I'm looking for is this guy right there. And that friends is how you create water droplets absolutely from scratch, here inside Photoshop. If you're a member of the lynda.com Online Training Library, then I have a total of two follow-up movies ready and waiting for you. In the first one we take these black blobs that constitute the water and we had a series of layer effects in order to create these high contrast reflections.
Next notice how the wood grain moves directly through the water droplets. It really ought to reflect; that is distort around the droplets as in this case here, and that is something that I'll show you how to do. If you're waiting for next week's free movie, I'll show you how to take these harmless paint splatters and turn them into something messy like ink or something more sinister like blood. Deke's Techniques, each and every week, keep watching!
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
119 Video lessons · 47322 Viewers
117 Video lessons · 34269 Viewers
113 Video lessons · 80258 Viewers
116 Video lessons · 70179 Viewers