Lets face it - nothing can quite beat putting your feet into a nice cool
stream on a hot summer's day and watching the clear water circulate around
your feet. As easy as this scene may be to imagine, however, the
complexity of nature makes it very difficult to design the water in Photoshop.
This tutorial details a relatively simple starting point for a decent
turbulent water effect in Photoshop. The flexibility of the technique
means that it can easily form the basis of more complicated creations, as
well as be an excellent stock effect all by itself.
1: Create a new document of a suitable size with a default white-filled
background. Due to the random nature of the turbulent water, you may want to
create a much bigger image than needed and then crop out an ideal section
Set your foreground and background swatches to solid black and solid white
(i.e. default colors), and select Filter > Render > Clouds
from the main menu. Then mix it up a little with Filter > Render > Difference Clouds.
You should end up with something that resembles my image on the left.
2: To turn the clouds into a turbulent effect, run Filter > Stylize > Glowing Edges
with the following settings:
Edge Width: 2
Press OK to render the effect. As mentioned before, the clouds filters
have a random seed to them, so don't be worried if your image does not
exactly resemble mine.
3: These ripples are OK, but they lack proper coloring. To correct
this oversight, load up the hue/saturation dialog box via Image >
Adjustments > Hue/Saturation. Ensure the 'colorize'
checkbox is checked and enter a Hue of +202, with a Saturation
of +63. Leave all other settings unaltered, and press OK.
4: Create a new transparent layer on top of your background layer and
select two shades of blue in your foreground & background color swatches.
In my case, I used a background color of #18325C and a foreground color of
#0E86DF. Then, with your Gradient Tool selected and set to
a linear progression, drag a line from one corner to the other to
create a subtle gradient across your new layer.
5: Now all you need to do is set the layer blending mode of the
gradient layer to Linear Dodge and admire your results!
You shouldn't finish here, of course! The water can be improved
immeasurably with bubbles, manually added water swirls, and even simple
detritus like leaves... but I'll leave that up to you. Have fun!
- Tutorial written by Jacky136
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