top of page

Learn How To Mix Fire & Rain Effects

In this tutorial I will be showing you how to create a highly stylized and dynamic rain and fire scene. This tutorial requires a lot of experimentation and patience but the final effects will be amazing, trust me!=) Let’s begin!

Step One – Extract model from back ground

First, extract your model from their background using your preferred method. However you choose to do it, I always recommend using layer mask. (Click here for a selection of beauty model images)

To create my background I actually just duplicated the original model layer and blurred it a lot using Filter > Gaussian Blur. And added a slight noise effect by going to Filter > Add Noise.

To finish up the background, I created a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and set it to the settings below:

And then using a large round soft brush, I masked out the bottom half so that only the top half of the image is blue.

You may have to go about this a completely different way, but basically what you want is a half blue, half orange background.

Step Two – Position and Prepare Fire Next, find some images of fire. The fire should be on a black background. (Fire on black background) All your fire layers should be set to “Screen”. Position your fire both behind and in front of you model.


Next using Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation make sure all your fire is the same “warmth”. By this I mean the same color of red/orange. Simply use the “Hue” slider. I am going for a more reddish fire.

Then mask out any harsh edges on the fire

Step Three – Fill in Fire, add movement, add light Next, we are going to make the fire more “solid” feeling. While simple, this is an important step when working with any fire as fire is usually not completely transparent.

Create a layer below both of your two groups of fire layers (one group of fire should be above the model’s, while the other is behind the model’s layer). While a semi hard round brush paint a dark red (#5b1309) paint in large sections of the fire.

Now, let’s add some movement to out fire by selecting the end of a fire layer with the lasso tool, set to a high Feather (the amount will depend on on the size of your image). See one of my selections below:

Go to Filter > Blur > Radial Blur and set it to “Spin” and “Best”. The amount will depend on the size of your image. If the first amount you try is too much or too little just hit undo and try again. Do this to the edges of all the fire layers.

The effects are subtle, but giving the fire more movement creates a more dynamic feel. I also always prefer to use Radial Blur, as opposed to Movement Blur, to add more movement to an image as it provides a more organic feel.

To add some light, create a layer above your top most fire layer and set it to screen. With a large soft round brush, set to 7% flow, paint red orange (#fe4402) over the whole bottom half of the image. Create another layer below your model, but above your background, and paint more of the same color with the same brush. Basically just light up the whole bottom of the image.


Step four – Light Model Next, we are going to focus on our model. Clip a new layer into your model layer and set it to “Screen”. Now, with the same brush and color you just got done using, paint the bottom half of your model. Focus on the barrel and edges of the model most.

On the very edges of the barrel switch to a lighter orange red color (#ff5c22) for some color variation.

Above that layer, create and clip a new layer set to “Overlay”. Name it “Doge and Burn”. With a smaller semi hard brush, set to 10% flow, paint white where the model would be receiving the most light and paint black where there would be shadows. Do to the rain effect later, don’t worry about being too precise. Also make any cloth darker as wet cloth tends to be dark.

Set to “Normal”:

Set to “Overlay”:

Now, to blend the model into the fire a tiny bit more, add a layer mask to your model layer (if it already has one you can either apply it, and then create a new layer mask or just use it) and with a large soft round brush, set to 25% flow, paint black on some of the edges of your model. Here is what my layer mask looks like:

My results:

Step Five – Create Rain To create the rain we are going to use a very simple old trick. First, crate a new layer above all your other layers and fill it with black. Next go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise and set it to “Uniform” and “Monochromatic”. Set the amount very high. I used 100%.

Now, go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and set the Angle to -63 and the Distance to around 80 pixels. Again, this may depend on the size of your image.

Set the layer to “Screen”

Go to Image > Adjustments > Curves and drag the bottom to the left, and the top anchor to the right. Keep messing around with it until you have something similar to this:

I also enlarged the layer and duplicated the layer and then merged it back together to make the rain drops brighter.

Once you are happy, duplicate the rain layer and enlarge it to create depth. You want to enlarge it to at least triple the size, due to this you will have to go to Filter > Blur > Movement Blur and blur it at the same angle as before to get rid of the pixelation.

Now, go to Filter > Blur > Radial Blur and add a very slight blur to the large rain drops. A little amount goes a long way, just keep experimenting. My results:

Next, we are going to add rain drops to the outside of the models skin. You can do this by finding either a “rain drop” or “rain splash” brush or even by using a grunge effect brush. This takes a lot of trial and error. And most importantly experimentation! Focus on the edges of the models body, and where the rain would be hitting the most. Using a soft round eraser brush to tapper off edges, and use the smudge tool to blend out parts of the rain drops that looks too harsh.

This is my result:

Finally, we are going to add some water streams on our model. This is easiest if you have a tablet, but if not, just use the smudge tool to tapper out your lines. Clip and new layer into your model. With a very very small hard round brush, set to 7% opacity, paint white down the model’s legs, body and face. Focus the white on certain areas, and go easy on it in others to create a more organic water effect.

Again, just practice and do it until you are happy with the results. You absolutely do not need to be a digital painter to do this very simply effect and you can use references too!

Step Six – Finish Coloring To pull everything together we are going to add some adjustment layers above all out other layers.

The first is a Color Lookup layer set to “Edgy Amber”. Using a large soft brush mask out the top half of the image so this effect is only on the bottom fire half.

Create another Color Lookup layer above that and set it to “Foggy Night” with an Opacity of 47%. This time mask out the bottom half of this effect so that it is only in the top rain half of the image.

Create a third Color Lookup layer above that and set it to “Teal Orange Plus Contrast” with an Opacity of 54%. Again, mask out the bottom part of the effect so that it is only on the top rain area.

Create a Curves Adjustment layer above that and set it to what you see below:


And finally, two blend the two sides together better, I created a new layer above the Curves layer and set it to “Color Dodge”. With a dark purple (#280a17), using a large soft round brush I painted a strip of color through the middle of the image.

Set to “Normal”

Set to “Color Dodge”

And you’re done!

What do you think of this tutorial? Hope you learn something new today and don’t be afraid to try this effect on various types of images for practice! Do comment and share your results on the comments below, we love hearing from you!=)

bottom of page