The following simple steps will teach you how to make an image look as if someone had splashed it with water. In order to do this you will use a series of filters, layers, as well as other minor adjustments to create your drop shaped objects on the image. In the end you will learn how to make them look like more realistic by adding shadows and highlights.
First of all you will need to open up in Photoshop the image you want to splash with water drops. Start Photoshop and open the image by going in the File menu and select Open.
First of all you will need to duplicate the Background layer. After you have opened the image you want to edit in Photoshop, you will see in the layers palette that there is only one layer, called the Background layer. It contains your original image. Press Ctrl+J on your keyboard to duplicate this layer. Now if you look in the Layers palette, you will see two copies of the image: the Background layer and the newly created layer, called Layer 1.
Now you need to add a new blank layer above the layer you have duplicated. Press the following keyboard combination Shift+Ctrl+Alt+N. Name the newly created blank layer. You will see that in the Layer palette, Layer 2 is placed at the top of the Layers palette.
Press the D key to reset the Background and Foreground colors. This will make white as your Background color.
Make sure that Layer 2 is the selected layer in the Layers palette. Once selected, it will become highlighted. After you have selected it, press Ctrl + Backspace to fill the new layer with the Background color (in our case the color is white).
Now you will see that your image will have turned white completely. Next add some noise to the white layer. Go to the Filter menu which you will find at the top of the screen. Select noise from the list that pops-up and then Add Noise.
Photoshop will display the Add Noise dialog box. Move the slider situated underneath the preview window to the far right (it will give you a value of 400%). Make sure you have both the Gaussian and Monochromatic options selected.
Click the OK button in the Add Noise dialog box. You will now have an image filled with black noise.
It is time to apply a new filter on the image, blur. Go to the Filter menu and choose Blur from the pop-up list. Select Gaussian Blur from the options.
Photoshop will show you now the Gaussian Blur dialog box. Underneath the preview window you will see a slider. Move it to the right (increase the Radius value in the box above the slider) until all that is distinguishable in the picture are large dark and grey blocks.
Remember, if you edit a smaller image, you will a lower Radius value (6 or 8). If you apply these changes to a larger image, you will need to raise the Radius value accordingly until you obtain the same effect.
Select OK from the Gaussian blur dialog window so that your changes will take effect. The nest step is to apply a threshold image adjustment. In order to do this, go to the Image menu at the top of the screen, select Adjustments from the list and then Threshold.
By adjusting the Threshold setting, you turn everything in the image either white, or black. You will use it to create the basic water drop shapes. You will see a slider located at the bottom of the Threshold dialog box. Click it and turn it to the left or to the right to increase or decrease the number of black areas in the picture (these black areas will be your water drops in the end). You increase their size and number by dragging the slider to the right and you decrease them if you drag it to the left.
It is up to your choice how many water drops you want in your final picture. When you have agreed on the desired water drops, click OK to exit the dialog box and apply the settings.
You have added these black spots in the image that will eventually become your water drops. But there is a problem, as you can see: adjusting the Threshold settings will leave harsh, jagged edges and the water drops you want to create should, of course, have smoother edges. You will have to apply the Gaussian Blur again to solve this problem. Press the Ctrl+Alt+F key combination to apply the Gaussian blur.
By pressing the above key combination, Photoshop will show you the Gaussian Blur Dialog box. You can adjust the settings by moving the slider. Since in the previous use of the blur filter you have used a very large pixel value, you will need to apply a smaller amount of blur.
You only have to use a small amount of blur. You will see that your water drops will have smother edges with a value of just 0.7 to 0.9 pixels.
Click the OK button so the Gaussian blur will be applied to the picture.
At this point you can select only the water drops from the picture and delete the rest (in your case, all the white parts of the image). Select all the black spots using the Magic Wand. You will find it in the Tools palette, or by pressing the W on the keyboard.
Be sure to have the Magic Wand tool selected. Look up in the Options Bar situated at the top of the screen and be sure not to have the Contiguous option checked. If this option was selected, you would have to select each black spot individually. You will be able to select them all at once if this option is not selected.
At this point you have all the black areas selected. What you really need is to have the white parts of the picture selected so you can delete them. To do this, you will need to invert the selection (by inverting the selection, Photoshop will select all that is not currently selected in your picture you are editing it will select the white parts of the image and deselect the black spots). Use the Ctrl+Shift+I key combination to invert the selection. Now all the white area will be selected.
The next step is to lower the fill of the black shapes layer to 0%. You will find two options: Opacity and Fill in the top left corner of the Layers palette. Both of these settings control the visibility of a layer. You should remember that if you set the Opacity’s value to 0%, you will hide the contents of the layer, but also any layer style which had been applied to it. If you use the Fill setting, it would only hide the layer contents (in this case, any layer style which had been applied to the layer would remain visible). What you want to do in your picture is to hide the black spots, but to keep the layer styles visible. You will accomplish this by setting the value for the Fill option to 0%. You will see that your black spots have disappeared, but they are not gone completely. This step allows you to apply some layer styles.
In order to add a Drop Shadow layer style, click on the Layer Style icon which you will find at the bottom of the Layers palette. A list of layer styles will appear. Select Drop shadow from it. Lower its Opacity down to about 40% and set the Angle to about 120.
On the left of the Layer Style dialog box you will see the Inner Shadow words. Click on that button and the option window for the Inner Shadow layer style will appear. Change the Blend Mode to Overlay by clicking on the down-pointing arrow which you will see to the right of the Multiply setting and selecting it from the list.
On the left of the Layer Style you will see the Bevel and Emboss setting. Click it to bring up the Bevel and Emboss dialog box. You will have to modify a few more settings in this window: first of all change the Technique option to Chisel Hard.
You should also modify the Soften value to around 12 pixels. This will give the water drops a smoother look. Then raise the Depth value to around 600%. Near the bottom of the dialog box you will find the Opacity setting of the Highlight Mode. Change it to 100%.
Also another thing you should modify is the Shadow Mode to Color Dodge and the Shadow Mode’s color from black to white (do this by clicking on the color swatch and selecting white from the setting window).
At this point, after having almost finished adding the water drops on top of the picture, you can delete any drops you do find necessary. Their presence may block an element from the main picture or there are simply too many of the, Use the Erase Tool to do so. You will find it in the Tools palette (or by pressing its shortcut, the E key).
After you have selected the Erase Tool, all you have to do to erase the excessive drops by clicking and dragging the mouse over the drops.
You have finished editing the picture and you can see that the water drops on it look very natural. ll you have to do now is to save the final image under the desired name (go to the File menu in the main Photoshop window and select Save As to save your picture)