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Realistic Water Drops

Realistic Water Drops Photoshop Tutorial

Learn how to add realistic water drops in Photoshop

Water drops are one of the most popular image effects and can be used to make a variety of different objects look more realistic. Thanks to this Photoshop tutorial, it’s now easier than ever to create realistic water drops. All you need to do is create shapes, then change the blending options, it’s that simple.

This method can be applied to leaves, metal surfaces, glass, and anything else you can think of. Now let’s dive into each step and see how we can get realistic water drops in no time.

Tutorial Details

Difficulty: Beginner
Apps Used: Adobe Photoshop
Estimated Completion Time: 5-20′ Minutes

Step 1 > Open the Image

Open the image you want to add water drops. For this tutorial, i used a green leaf but you can use metals, glass, and other similar surfaces.

create water drops step 1

Step 2 > Create the shape

First, create a new layer by going to Layer > New > Layer (Shift Ctrl + N) and name it “Water Drops”. Pick the Ellipse Tool (U) and fill it with black to white gradient and a -70 Angle. Finally, change the blending mode to Overlay.

Create realistic water drops step 2

Step 2 > Blending options

Right-click on the water drops layer and press “Blending Options” in the new tab add the following values:

Drop Shadow: blending mode = linear burn, opacity = 32, angle = 90, distance = 8, spread = 0, size = 6.

Create water drops step 2a

Inner Glow: blending mode = linear burn, opacity = 33, noise = 0, choke = 0, size = 2.

Create water drops photoshop tutorial 3b

Inner Shadow: blending mode = linear burn, opacity = 16, angle = -53, distance = 3, size = 3 and press OK.

create water drops step 3c

Step 3 > Add Highlights

Ctrl + click on the Water Drop layer to select it and create a new layer with the name “Highlight 1”. Pick a small soft white brush with size 33px and draw on top of the selection. Change the blending mode to Overlay.

create water drops in photoshop 4a

Step 4 > Add another highlight

With the water drop selection still active create another layer and name it “Highlight 2” With a smaller brush add another white dot with a size of 22px and 0 hardness. Press (Ctrl + D) to deselect. Your water drop is almost ready.

Create water drop in photoshop

Step 5 > Group layers

Press (Shift) and select Water Drop, Highlight 1, and Highlight 2 layers. Press (Ctrl + G) to group them. Rename the Group 1 to Water Drop 1.

water drop photoshop tutorial group layers

Step 6 > Add more drops

Duplicate the “Water Drop 1” group and transform it by pressing (Ctrl + T). Move the new group and repeat the same process to create the water drops.

create water drops in photoshop step 7


To make an image look more realistic, it is important to create variation in the water drops. Try creating different sized drops, adding a range of highlights and shadows, and using light to add impact. These techniques can be used alone or combined with other effects to create interesting reflections.

Pay attention to the direction of light within the image and remember that certain shapes may need more than one highlight source for greater realism.

Taking the extra time to adjust and edit details like these can add a tremendous amount of visual appeal for viewers that will get noticed every time.

Realistic Water Drops Photoshop Tutorial

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