Water Drops – Photoshop Tutorial

Water drops photoshop tutorial - MakeSimpleDesigns

Dear users. In this effects photoshop tutorial we will show you how to create realistic water drops. This is a beginner photoshop tutorial and will show you step by step how to create realistic water drops. You will need Photoshop CS4 or up in order follow along. You will also need to know some basic photoshop tools such as: Pen Tool ( to draw shapes ) and add layer styles ( Drop Shadow, Inner Shadow, Bevel and Emboss ) to a layer. Ok that’s all for the introduction so lets get started.

Make sure you visit other Photoshop and Illustrator Tutorial posts such as:

Water Drops - Photoshop Tutorial from MakeSimpleDesigns.com

STEP 1 – Set up the background for the Water Drops

Create a new document in Photoshop. Go to File – > New or press Ctrl + N on your keyboard. Make the new document 1920 px in width and 1080 px in height. Set the resolution to be 300px and press OK.

Create a new layer and name it Background. You can create a new layer by pressing Ctrl + Shift + N on your keyboard. Make sure that Background layer is selected. Set the Foreground color to be 26a7f8 and click OK.

Now with the Foreground Color set to be 26a7f8 and with the Background Layer selected press Alt + Delete. This will fill the Background layer with the Foreground color. This is the result after you complete Step 1 of the Water Drops – Effects Photoshop Tutorial.

Water Drop - Photoshop Tutorials

STEP 2 – Add a background gradient for the Water Drops

Create a new layer and name it Gradient. You can create a new layer by pressing Ctrl + Shift + N on your keyboard. Make sure that Gradient layer is selected. Set the Foreground color to be 40ccf5 and click OK.

Press the G key on your keyboard to activate the Gradient tool. Set the Gradient to be Radial and the Gradient preset to be Foreground to Transparent. Click OK. Now with the Foreground Color set to be 40ccf5 and with the Gradient Layer selected drag a gradient from the top right corner to the center of the canvas. This will add a nice background highlight to the canvas.

MakeSImpleDesigns - Water Drops Photoshop tutorial - adding background gradient

This is the result that you should get after you complete STEP 2 ( the image below ).

MakeSImpleDesigns - Water Drops Photoshop tutorial - end Step 2

STEP 3 – Draw the shapes for the Water Drops

Now this seems and easy task for an average photoshop user, but for a photoshop beginner this step will take around 30 min to 1 hour to complete. To complete this step you need to know how to use the Pen tool.

First click Ctrl + Shift + N to create a new layer and name it Water Drops 1. Now press the P key on your keyboard to activate the pen tool and draw shapes for the water drops as it is show in the image bellow. The shapes don’t have to be a perfect match to this sample.

Water Drops - Photoshop tutorial step 3 draw the shapes

STEP 4 – Filling the shapes of the Water Drops with color

Now after you have drawn the shapes for the water drops press the A key on your keyboard to activate the Path Selection Tool. You can see how the tool looks in the image bellow Step 4. Now with the Path Selection Tool activated draw a selection around every shape to select them all.

After you select the shapes Right click and chose Make Selection from the pop up window. Leave everything as it is and click OK.

Now make sure you have selected the Water Drops 1 layer. Set the Foreground color to be white and click Alt + Delete to fill the Water Drops 1 layer.

The last thing that you need to do is set the Fill of the Water Drops 1 layer to 0 %.

NOTE: When we set the Fill of a layer to be 0 % we simple make it invisible, but the interesting part is that all the layer styles that apply to the Water Drops 1 layer will be visible and will affect the shapes that we have filled on the layer.

Water Drops - Photoshop tutorial step 4 - fill the water drop shapes

STEP 5 – Add Drop Shadow to Water Drops 1

Select the Water Drops 1 layer and click on the button Add a Layer Style shown in the image bellow Step 5 on the left side. Chose Drop Shadow. Set the Blending Mode to Multiply, color to Black, Opacity to 20%, Angle to 53 ( NOTE: Use Global Light needs to be turned off ) Distance 17 px, Spread 0%, Size 24px.

You can see all the preferences for the Drop Shadow in the image bellow on the right side.

Water Drops - Photoshop tutorial step 5 - Add drop shadow

STEP 6 – Add Inner Shadow to Water Drops 1

After you set all the settings for the Drop Shadow click on the Inner Shadow tab. Set the Blending Mode to Overlay, color to White, Opacity to 25%, Angle to -150 ( NOTE: Use Global Light needs to be turned off ) Distance 63 px, Choke 0%, Size 65 px. Now click OK and you are all done with Drop Shadow and inner Shadow.

Water Drops - Photoshop tutorial step 6 - Add inner glow

This is the result that you should get after you complete STEP 6 ( image below ).

Water Drops - Photoshop tutorial step 6 completed

STEP 7 – Adding the Secondary Effects to the Water Drops

Select the Water Drops 1 Layer and Duplicate it. Rename the layer in to Shadow Drops. Set it to be on top of Water Drops 1 layer. Make sure you have Shadow Drops layer selected. Then click on the button Add a Layer Style and chose Drop Shadow ( if you forgot how to add a layer style go back to STEP 5 ). Set the Blending Mode to Multiply, color to Black, Opacity to 16%, Angle to 53, Distance 3 px, Spread 0%, Size 10px.

Water Drops - Photoshop tutorial step 7

STEP 8 – Adding Inner Shadow as a Secondary Effect to the Water Drops

Now with the Layer Style section still open go to Inner Shadow. Set the Blending Mode to Overlay, color to Black, Opacity to 55%, Angle to 59 ( NOTE: Use Global Light needs to be turned off ) Distance 18 px, Choke 0%, Size 49 px. Now click OK and you are all done with Step 8.

Water Drops - Photoshop tutorial step 8

This is the result that you should get after you complete STEP 8 ( image below ).

Water Drops - Photoshop tutorial step 8 end

STEP 9 – Adding Bevel and Emboss to Water Drops

Duplicate the Shadow Drops layer and rename it to Highlight Drops. Set the Highlight Drops layer to be on top of Shadow Drops layer.Then click on the button Add a Layer Style and chose Bevel & Emboss ( if you forgot how to add a layer style go back to STEP 5 ).

Structure Section: Set the Style to Inner Bevel, Technique to Smooth, Depth to 959%, Direction Down, Size 8px, Soften 6px.

Shading Section: Set the Angle to 53 ( NOTE: Use Global Light needs to be turned on ), Altitude 37, Gloss Contour to Cone Asymetrical ( see image below), Highlight mode to Screen with color set to white, and Shadow mode set the Opacity to 0%.

You can see all the set up in the image below.

Water Drops - Photoshop tutorial step 9

Update : More info on Gloss Contour – Cone Asymetrical

A user had a problem finding Gloss Contour – Cone Asymetrical from STEP 9. Lets explain better where you can find Gloss Contour – Cone Asymetrical. Cone Asymetrical is a preset of Gloss Contour and can be found when you use BEVEL & EMBOSS layer style. Its not a command that you see as a text but its an icon. The Icon has curves that go up and down and small arrow on the right side of the icon.

1.When you press on the icon it self it show a graphical representation of the curve ( Contour Editor ) and there you can create your own contours for the gloss or modify existing ones to fit your needs.

2.When you press on the icon arrow  it shows a drop down menu that lets you chose from existing allready made gloss contours. Cone Asymetrical is the third preset from left to right. It is highlighted with an orange box.

UPDATE : More info on Gloss Contour - Cone Asymetrical

STEP 10 – Adding Inner Shadow to Highlight Drops layer

Now switch to the Inner Shadow layer style. Set the Blending Mode to Color Dodge, Opacity to 28%, Angle to -125 NOTE: Use Global Light needs to be turned off ), Distance to 5px, Choke to 0%, Size to 13 px and then click OK.

Water Drops - Photoshop tutorial step 10

This is the result that you should get after you complete STEP 10 ( image below ).

Water Drops - Photoshop tutorial step 10 end

STEP 11 – Explanation for the Glow Position on the Water Drops

This is a short explanation about the position of the Glow on the Water Drops. The image bellow shows the shape of water drop and the direction of the light. That all together determines the Glow Position and its Shape.

Now after you see the schematic in the image below you will need to create shapes for the Glow of every drop and then fill them with color. The shapes don’t have to be perfect circles. Its better if the Glow shapes have irregular form such as the Water Drops.

If you forgot how to create shapes, make selections of them and fill them with color go back to Step 3 and Step 4.

Water Drops - Photoshop tutorial step 11

The result can be seen in the image bellow. With this we complete the Water Drops Photoshop Tutorials.

Water Drops - Photoshop tutorial step 12

Step 12 – Experiment with Layers and Backgrounds

This is a Step that you can do if you like to experiment with your layers and backgrounds. You can see various effects that you can achieve by just changing a background or adding texture and changing or editing layers and layer styles.

Water Drops - Photoshop tutorial tests

About ilcho bogdanovski

ilcho bogdanovski is a designer and enthusiast who loves to create photoshop tutorials. He also loves to write articles about design and software used in the creative process

  • candler25

    Step 9 shading section, I don’t see cone asymmetrical .
    Step 6, should Spread be Choke?

    • http://www.makesimpledesigns.com/ makesimpledesigns

      Dear Candler. You are right about step 6, it should be Choke and that error has been fixed. About Cone Asymmetrical i have added an additional information right after step 9. It shows you how to chose Cone Asymmetrical from the Gloss Contour. Best regards

  • asim11

    wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!