Photo Manipulation

Create a Melancholic Scene of a Guy Standing in the Rain

In this tutorial we will create a somewhat sad and melancholic photo manipulation of a guy having a cloud pouring rain on him. We’ll create a custom brush and use a variety of both simple and advanced techniques. Let’s begin!

Final Results

Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Open Photoshop and create a new document 2736×4892 px (Ctrl + N).

Step 2

Set the foreground color to #467359 and the background color to #80ba84 (click on the two swatches you can see in the toolbar palette). Select the Gradient Tool (G) and drag from the top of the document to the bottom while holding the Shift key to create gradient as shown below. This will be our base sky.
Create a Photo Filter Adjustment Layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Photo Filter ) and use the settings shown below. This will be our atmosphere layer and we will keep it above all other layers we will create at future steps. So remember – any layers you create in the next steps should be placed below this Adjustment layer in the layer palette (F7).

Step 3

Open the file “Underwater” and select all with Ctrl + A. Copy with Ctrl + C and go back to our document. Paste with Ctrl + V and convert the pasted layer into a Smart Object by right clicking on the layer in the layer palette (F7) and choosing from the drop down menu “Convert to Smart Object”. Resize and position this layer as shown below using the Free Transform (Ctrl + T). You can hold the Shift key while dragging the corner handles to preserve aspect ratio.
Converting to Smart Objects all your imported layers is a good practice because it allows us to modify, resize, rotate and apply various filters without actually destroying any pixel information – this allows us to revert to the original layer in case we do something wrong with the layer. Do this for all your imported layers.

Step 4

Add a layer mask to the underwater layer by going to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal all. Set the colors to default by pressing D and select the Gradient Tool. Click on the layer mask thumbnail (the white thumbnail next to the layer thumbnail in the layer palette) and drag from the upper section towards the bottom to gradually hide the upper section of the underwater layer.
In a layer mask white reveals and black conceals so by creating a black gradient coming from top we will softly mask the upper section of the layer without leaving any visible hard lines.

Step 5

Create a new Curves Adjustment Layer by going to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves. Use the settings shown below to darken and increase contrast and then clip the Curves Adjustment Layer to the underwater layer by Alt-clicking between the two in the layer palette.
Clipping a layer means that the upper layer will show only through the visible pixels of the bottom layer thus leaving the rest of the scene unaffected – in our case the darkening effect of the Curves Adjustment Layer will be applied only to the underwater layer.

Step 6

Now let’s change the color of the underwater layer so that it will match the rest of the scene. Create a new Color Balance Adjustment Layer by going to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color Balance and using the settings shown below. Clip this layer to the underwater layer by Alt-clicking between the Color Balance layer and the Curves layer. You can have multiple clipped layers – layers that will show only through the bottom layer.
You can find all the adjustments layer used in this tutorial under Layer > New Adjustment Layer > … so from now on I will simply just say the name of the needed adjustment layer – you know where to find it.

Step 7

Let’s add some darkness to the water. Create a new layer (Ctrl + Shift + Alt + N) and set the blending mode to Overlay. Choose the standard round soft brush (B) and set the opacity to 30%. Paint with black on the lower section of the underwater. If the effect is not strong enough repeat this step with another layer set to Overlay – you can fine tune the final result by lowering the Opacity of the duplicated layer.

Step 8

Let’s add some lightness to the upper region of the underwater layer. Create a new layer, set the blending mode to Overlay and paint with a round soft brush with white over the upper section of the underwater.

Step 9

Let’s add a center source of light. Create a new layer and set the foreground color to #c4ec9e. With the round soft brush at 70% Opacity click a couple of times in the center of the scene to achieve the result shown below.

Step 10

Add a layer mask to the light source layer and use the Gradient Tool in the layer mask to hide the area that is shown over the water – basically we want to show the light source only on the sky.

Step 11

Let’s create some thin waves that will separate the surface of the water from the underwater. First we will make a custom brush that will use for waves and splashes. Select the chalk brush and open the Brush window (Window > Brush). Use the settings shown below to create a dynamic splash brush.
Save the new brush preset (otherwise when you’ll select another brush these settings will be set to default) by clicking on the button shown below in the Brush window and choosing “New Brush Preset”. Give it a name (I named it Dynamic Splash) and click ok.

Step 12

Make a new layer and use the Dynamic Splash brush you created at the previous step to create some small waves/splashes on the line that separates the surface of the water from the underwater.

Step 13

Create a new layer and change the blending mode to Overlay. Use the standard chalk brush (color – white, size – 2px, opacity – 60%) to create some more random squiggly lines over the splashes we created at the previous step.

Step 14

Create a new layer and set the blending mode to Color Dodge. Use the same chalk brush you used at the previous step to create some more shiny lines that will separate the water surface from the underwater.

Step 15

Let’s add some marine creatures to our scene. Open the file “Shark”. You’ll see multiple versions of the shark – select one you like, copy it and paste it in our scene (use the Rectangular Marquee Tool – M – to make a selection of the shark you like). Convert it to a smart object and place the shark as shown below. Lower the opacity to 30% to have the shark blend with the water.

Step 16

Create a Levels Adjustment Layer and use the settings show below to darken. Clip this layer to the shark layer.

Step 17

Make a new layer and set the blending mode to Overlay. Clip this layer to the shark layer and paint some subtle highlights (with a round soft brush and white as foreground color) as shown below.

Step 18

Open the file “Fish” and copy/paste one fish you like into our scene. Place it as show below and lower the opacity to 14%. Add another fish just above the first fish (if it’s too light for the scene simply create a Levels Adjustment Layer and use the settings shown below to darken it – also clip the Levels layer to the fish you want darkened). Lower the opacity of the second fish to 33%.

Step 19

Create a new layer and fill it with black (Shift + F5). Add some noise by going to Filter > Noise > Add Noise.

Step 20

Apply a 1.1 px Gaussian blur to the noise layer (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur).

Step 21

Apply a Curves Adjustment (Image > Adjustments > Curves) to the noise layer with the settings shown below. You should have some white little points on a black layer resembling debris or snow.

Step 22

Change the blending mode of the noise layer to Screen and lower the opacity to 61. The black color will disappear leaving only the white debris showing. Add a layer mask to this layer and hide the upper part (the part just above the underwater section) with the Gradient Tool.

Step 23

Download the “Bubbles Brush” and double click on the .abr file to import the brushes. Choose one bubbles brush and on a new layer paint some bubbles in the underwater section. Use a layer mask to hide unwanted bubbles.

Step 24

We will have a guy standing in the water but before that let’s add some column on which he will stand. Open the file “Columns” and copy/paste them in our scene. Resize and position the columns as shown below and lower the opacity of the columns layer to 32%.

Step 25

Add a layer mask to the column layer and with the standard chalk brush (paint with black in the layer mask to conceal) hide extra columns leaving only the center one visible.

Step 26

Create a Levels Adjustment Layer with the settings shown below and clip it to the columns layer. This step will darken the column.

Step 27

Create a new layer and set the blending mode to Overlay. Clip this layer to the columns layer. Choose the standard round soft brush and paint with white (at 20% opacity) and black to add highlights and shadows until you achieve a result like shown below. Create another layer set to Overlay and paint highlights and shadows if one isn’t enough or if you want to refine your work.

Step 28

Now let’s add the umbrella guy in our scene. Open the file “Guy with umbrella” and copy/paste the man with the umbrella in our scene. Use the Free Transform tool to position him as shown below.

Step 29

Make a selection of the umbrella with Rectangular Marquee Tool as shown below and create a copy of the selection by pressing Ctrl + J. You now have the cut umbrella on a new layer.

Step 30

Resize the duplicated umbrella with Ctrl + T and place it as shown below – it will be barely visible because it is over the original umbrella but you should see it.

Step 31

Go back to our guy layer and add a layer mask. Use the chalk brush to hide the big umbrella (paint with black over it). Now only the duplicated small umbrella layer is visible.

Step 32

Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool to select the umbrella stick (you should have the guy with the umbrella layer active – click on it to make it active – and not the small umbrella layer).

Step 33

Now press Ctrl + J to make a duplicate of the umbrella stick selection you created at the previous step. Move this duplicated umbrella stick with the Move Tool (V) until it connects with the small umbrella above.
Group the duplicated stick and the duplicated umbrella layers under a new group (hold Ctrl and click on each layer – press Ctrl + G to group) and name this group “Umbrella”. We’ll come back to this group later in the tutorial.

Step 34

Now go back to our original guy with the umbrella layer. In the layer mask use a round soft brush at 40% Opacity to paint with black over the region that sits underwater (the legs and a part of his bottom). This will give the impression that he is sitting in the water.

Step 35

Let’s start color correcting and blending the guy with our scene. First create a Levels Adjustment Layer and use the settings shown below to darken. Clip this layer to the guy layer and use the layer mask to hide the section where the darkness is too much.

Step 36

Add a Color Balance Adjustment Layer with the settings shown below and clip it to the guy layer to match his color with that of the environment.

Step 37

Create a new layer and set the blending mode to Overlay. Clip this layer to the layer guy. Use a round soft brush at 30% opacity to paint with white over the areas indicated below to add some interesting highlights.

Step 38

On a new layer set to Overlay paint with the same round brush with black over the areas shown below to add some shadows. Clip this layer to the guy layer.

Step 39

Create a new Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer with the settings shown below and fill the layer mask with black (click on the layer mask and press Shift + F5). With a white round soft brush paint in the layer mask over the arms and hair of the guy to desaturate those areas. Clip the layer to the guy layer.

Step 40

Create a new Levels Adjustment Layer with the settings shown below and clip it to the guy layer. Fill the layer mask with black and paint with a round soft brush with white in the layer mask to reveal the lightness effect over the hair.

Step 41

The hair is still too saturated for my taste. Create a new a new Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer with the settings shown below and fill the layer mask with black. Paint with white with a round soft brush over the hair and clip this layer to the guy layer.

Step 42

Create a new Color Balance Adjustment Layer with the settings shown below and clip it to the guy layer in order to add some more warm colors to him.

Step 43

Let’s improve the lightning of the guy’s legs. Create a new layer and clip it to the guy layer. Set the blending mode to Overlay and with a round soft brush (at 20% Opacity) paint with white over the already white areas and with black over the shadowy areas to improve the lighting. Use another layer set to Overlay blending mode if the previous layer wasn’t enough.

Step 44

Create a new layer and set the blending mode to Color. Clip this layer to the guy layer and set the foreground color to #59a26b. With a round soft brush paint with that green color over the section of the jeans that shows above the water surface.

Step 45

Remember the Umbrella group we created at step 33? Let’s get back to it. You should have the small umbrella layer and the duplicated stick layer. Let’s change the color of the small umbrella. Create a new Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer with the settings shown below and clip it to the umbrella layer.

Step 46

Create a Levels Adjustment Layer with the settings shown below and clip it to the umbrella layer to darken it.

Step 47

You can see there’s a side of the umbrella that’s way too light. Create a new layer and clip it to the umbrella layer. Change the blending mode to Luminosity and sample a color from the red umbrella. Paint over the light area to darken it.

Step 48

Let’s add some highlights to the umbrella. Create a new layer and change the blending mode to Overlay. With a round soft brush at 10% opacity paint gently over the left side of the umbrella to create the illusion of light there.

Step 49

We will have rain coming from above (we’ll create the rain in later steps) but for now let’s add some splashes on the umbrella. Download the “Water Splashes” resource and extract the folder with the splashes somewhere on your computer. Open one of the splashes that you think will look good with Photoshop and copy/paste it in our scene over the umbrella. Press Ctrl + T to enter Free Transform, right click on the splash layer and choose Warp. Move around the handles to make the splash bend around the umbrella curvature. Once you’re done lower the splash opacity to 71%.

Step 50

Add a layer mask to the splash layer and hide all the areas that fall within the umbrella – leave just the splashes that are somewhat on the upper edge.

Step 51

Create a new layer and using the Dynamic Splash brush we created at step 11 add some more random splashes on the top of the umbrella and some water drops coming down as shown below. Use different brush sizes and opacities to randomize the effect.

Step 52

On a new layer set to Overlay blending mode paint with a white chalk brush some highlights on the upper edge of the umbrella.

Step 53

On a new layer set to Color Dodge blending mode paint with a white round soft brush at 30% opacity some mist on the edge of the umbrella.

Step 54

Create a new layer and paint some more water splashes with the Dynamic Splash brush as show below. It’s important that you use both large and very small brush sizes to achieve a pleasant effect.

Step 55

Now that we’re done with the umbrella let’s add some splashes on the guy. Create a new layer and paint some splashes on the jeans and the hand where they enter underwater with the Dynamic Splash brush.

Step 56

From the splashes folder you extracted at step 49 select one splash you like and place it near the jeans of the guy where he enters the water. Use the Free Transform and Warp (just like at step 49) to achieve a pleasant splash effect. Add a layer mask to hide the unwanted splashes. Add another splash near the hand. If one of the splashes is too bright you can lower its opacity and if it is too dark you can add a Levels Adjustment Layer (clip it to the desired splash) and drag the left dark arrows towards the right to lighten.

Step 57

Using the techniques described at steps 49 and 54 add two more splashes – one on the hair and one on the shoulder.

Step 58

Use the Dynamic Splash brush to add more randomly sized splashes on the hair and on the shoulder.

Step 59

On a new layer set to Overlay blending mode paint with a white small chalk brush some highlights on the shoulder and hair. On a new layer set to Color Dodge paint with a white round soft brush some mist on the shoulder and hair.

Step 60

Now let’s start adding some object to our awesome scene. Open the file “Boat” and copy/paste it in our scene. Place the boat on the surface of the water as shown below and resize it with Ctrl + T.

Step 61

Add a layer mask to the boat and with the round soft brush hide some of the bottom part of the boat to make it look submerged into water.

Step 62

Create a new Levels Adjustment Layer with the settings shown below and clip it to the boat layer to lighten it.

Step 63

Create a Color Balance Adjustment layer with the settings shown below and clip it to the boat layer to make it’s hue warmer.

Step 64

On a new layer add some white splashes with the Dynamic Splash brush where the boat enters the water.

Step 65

Open the file “Islands” and with the Quick Selection Tool (W) make a rough selection of the green island on the right. Copy/paste this selection into our scene and place it on top of the water on the right side.

Step 66

Add a layer mask to the island layer and with a round soft brush tool hide the bottom part of the island to give the impression that it is in the water.

Step 67

Create a Color Balance Adjustment Layer and clip it to the island. Use the settings shown below to give the island a green hue.

Step 68

Use the Dynamic Splash brush to create some waves where the island meets the water (use a new layer of course).

Step 69

Open the file “Palm” and copy/paste the palm into our scene. Resize the palm and place it over the island as shown below. Use a layer mask to hide the bottom parts of the palm tree.

Step 70

Create a Levels Adjustment Layer with the settings shown below and clip it to the palm tree layer to darken it.

Step 71

Create a Color Balance Adjustment Layer with the settings shown below and clip it to the palm tree layer to match its color with the island overall color.

Step 72

Download and import the “Rain Brush” by double clicking on the .abr file. On a new layer use one of the rain brushes to create some random white rain coming from above. I used two layers to have more option for fine tuning. Don’t worry about extra rain – we’ll get rid of it in the next step.

Step 73

Use layer masks on the two rain layers to hide the rain that is showing on the underwater section of the scene. I also grouped the two rain layers together and added a layer mask to the group where I kept hiding sections of the rain that were not appropriate. We are going to add later in this tutorial a cloud but for now let’s keep going.

Step 74

I wanted to simulate the way the water splashes when a rain drop hits the surface so here’s how I did it. First create a new layer and with the Dynamic Splash brush paint some elliptical splash groups wherever a rain drop is near the water surface. Do this for all the rain drops that are near the water surface.

Step 75

Create a new layer and set the blending mode to Color Dodge. Sample a green color from the water and with a round soft brush at 30% opacity paint in the middle of each splash you created at the previous step.

Step 76

Now let’s create some cloudy mists over the rain. Create a new layer and set the colors to default with D. Render some clouds (Filter > Render > Clouds) and change the blending mode of the rendered clouds layer to Screen. Lower the opacity to 41%.

Step 77

Add a layer mask to the rendered clouds layer and fill it with black. With a white round soft brush at 50% opacity paint over the rain (in the layer mask) to reveal the mist in that area.

Step 78

Now let’s add the rain cloud. Download the “Cloud Brushes” and import by double clicking the .abr file. Choose a brush cloud you like and create white cloud on a new layer sitting just where the rain is starting.

Step 79

Create a new layer and move it below the cloud layer in the layer palette. With the chalk brush at 50% opacity and 2px size paint some highlight lines on the lower margin of the cloud.

Step 80

This is a rain cloud and it should be more dark and menacing instead of a pearly white. Create a new layer and place it above the cloud layer in the layer palette. With a round soft brush at 30% opacity paint with the color #979797 on the bottom section of the cloud (this is where the rain is coming).

Step 81

Ok, now it’s time to add the final effects. Create a new layer from all the visible layers and apply a 200px Gaussian Blur. Change the blending mode of this layer to Soft Light to achieve a nice and soft color contrast. If the effect is too strong (and it will probably be in the underwater section of the scene) use a layer mask to hide it.

Step 82

Create a new layer from all the visible layer and this time apply a subtle sharpen effect by going to Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask and using the settings shown below.

Step 83

Create a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layers with the settings shown below to boost the contrast a little bit.

Step 84

Now let’s improve the overall highlights of the scene – by doing this we will add focus and clarity to our scene since white areas tend to attract the eye first.
Create a new layer and change the blending mode to Overlay. With a round soft brush at 30% opacity paint with white over the areas indicated below (basically our points of interest – the guy, the boat, the cloud and the island).

Step 85

I wanted to add some green color vibrance to the scene – and specially to the underwater section.
Create a new layer and set the blending mode to Color Dodge. Set the color #1e7619 as the foreground color and with a round soft brush at 10% Opacity paint over the underwater in gentle strokes and a bit over the guy’s back.

Step 86

Since there’s a heavy rain going the sky should be a bit darker to reflect this situation and also to create a bit of a vignette effect (darker areas on the edges lead the eye towards the center of the scene).
Create a new layer and set the blending mode to Overlay. With a black round soft brush at 5% Opacity paint over the upper edges of the sky as shown below.

Step 87

Repeat step 81 but this time apply a 600px Gaussian Blur effect. Again the effect will be too strong in the underwater section of our scene so use a layer mask and hide that region.

Step 88

Let’s add some more white mist on the guy. Create a new layer and set the blending mode to Color Dodge. With a white round soft brush at 10% opacity paint over the hair, the umbrella and the shoulder as shown below to add some nice shiny mist.

Step 89

No scene would be complete without the classical lens flare. Create a new layer and fill it with black. Apply a 105mm prime render flare by going to Filter > Render > Lens Flare. Try to position the flare as shown below.

Step 90

Change the blending mode of the lens flare to Screen to get rid of the black color and use a layer mask to hide most of the lens flare except the area shown below.

Final Results

Download the PSD

Tutorial by Adrian Scheff

Thank you for following this tutorial and I hope you learned some useful things from it.
I am a 34 year old guy who enjoys all things digital. I love creating photo manipulation in Photoshop because they allow me to express myself artistically.

– Adrian Scheff

Related posts
Photo ManipulationPhotoshop TutorialsUpdated

How to Create a Dreamlike Scene of a Man with White Lights in Photoshop

Photo ManipulationPhotoshop TutorialsUpdated

Born of the Dragon – Create this Symbolic Gothic Composite in Photoshop

Photo ManipulationPhotoshop TutorialsUpdated

How to Create a Mystic Lady Photo Manipulation

Photo ManipulationPhotoshop TutorialsUpdated

Create an Portrait Artwork with Autumn Colors

11 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Get 57 Photoshop Actions Free from Our Awesome Newsletter!

Subscribe and get the latest Photoshop tutorials, tips, and more via email. As a way of saying thanks, you'll also receive a free copy of Lomocam Photoshop Actions by SparkleStock ($7 retail value).