Transform a Sunny Image into a Rainy Grungy Illustration

Start by downloading this picture from This image is great for the task because it already has a wet floor with puddles, which will make the composition more believable.

We need to get rid of the yellows, and give the picture a darker, blue-ish look. First, hit Ctrl + U and select the Yellow channel. Bring the saturation down to 0.

Then, select Image > Adjustemnts  > Photo filter and apply the deep emerald filter. Hit ok, then repeat this step and apply the deep blue filter.

We got rid of the warm tones, but now let’s give it a more dramatic blue look. We’ll do this by applying a gradient map adjustment layer. Click at the bottom of the layers palette on the half white/half black icon to find the gradient map adjustment layer. I used these blue shades: #003366 at left and #27aae1 at right.

Next, we need to even out the contrast a little bit, and we do this by applying a Curves adjustment layer. Place two nodes on the curve like below and drag the upper one slightly downwards.

Now let’s make it all darker and more for a rainy weather. Add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer and use these settings: -14 for brightness, +65 for contrast.

There’s one corner that’s still too bright: the rooftops. Make a triangular selection with the polygonal lasso and, with the selection active, add another Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer. Place this layer right on top of the background layer.

Let’s make some rain. At the top of all layers, create a new empty layer. Set you background and foreground colors to black and white (hit D) and then choose Filter > Render > Clouds.

Go Filter > Noise > Add noise and use the setting below:

Now, let’s apply Filter > Blur > Motion blur, like below:

The magic happens when we turn the layer’s blending mode from Normal to Soft Light. But that’s not good enough. Make a rectangular marquee in the middle of the image. Then hit Ctrl + J to paste it in a new layer (make sure that you are on the rain layer before doing so). Then, hit Ctrl + T to activate the transform controls.

Enlarge the selection to fill the entire screen. This will make the “raindrops” in the foreground look larger. You should also slightly rotate it counterclockwise (-0.7 degrees). Afterwards, let’s sharpen this layer to make the raindrops stand out some more. Use Sharpen > Smart Sharpen and settings like below:

Let’s add some light to the streetlamp to make the composition more dramatic. Make a new layer (make it below the rain layers – the two rain layers should stay at the top of the layers stack) and then create a circular selection around the lamp. Hit Ctrl + Alt + D and feather the selection by 100 pixels.

Fill the selection with a bright cyan: #00aeef. Deselect, switch the layer’s blending more to Screen, then add a layer mask to this layer (where you filled in the light). We’ll have to make the opaque parts of the lamp more visible. To do this, turn off the visibility of the light layer and select (with the pen tool or the lasso tool, if you wish) the shape of the lamp.

Feather the selection by a few pixels (3 to 5). Then, switch on the layer’s visibility, set your foreground color to a light gray (55% gray will do) and click on the thumbnail of the layer mask you have added earlier. Hit Alt + Delete to fill in the mask with the foreground color.

Then, make another layer and a smaller circular selection.

Feather it by 20 px and fill it with white. Afterward, hold down Alt and drag the mask from the previous layer over the new layer. This will copy the mask from the cyan layer to the white layer.

Next, duplicate both light layers and delete the masks on the duplicates. We’ll use them to create the refection of the light on the asphalt. Move the two layers down vertically and transform them to look more horizontal.

Then, switch the cyan’s layer opacity to 50% and the blending mode to Lighten. The white reflection – make it 30%.

Merge the two layers Shift to select them both and hit Ctrl + E). Ctrl + click on the layer’s thumbnail to load it as a selection. Next, apply Filter > Distort > Wave and use the settings below:

Deselect. Next, hit Ctrl + T to transform the reflection again: turn it 90 degrees and stretch it to look like below:

To give it a more illustration feel, click on the topmost layer and hit Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E to make a snapshot of all layers. Sharpen this layer with Smart Sharpen (same settings as before). And you’re done!

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20 Responses to “Transform a Sunny Image into a Rainy Grungy Illustration”

  1. Chaz W. Says:

    Wow, nice one. I’m not exactly the best at photoshop, but I followed this very easily and got quite a nice effect! I’m definitely going to be using this in the future. Thanks for the amazing tutorial.

  2. Pineapple Pocky Says:

    This tutorial is amazing! I learned so much from it, and you make it seem so easy. Thanks a bunch :D

  3. property for sale Says:

    cool effect. realy liked it.

  4. Autoversicherung Says:

    Realy good post. I wish good luck from Autoversicherung

  5. Photoshop Tutorials Blog Says:

    Wow, this is simply inspirational. It looks straight like a scene out of Jack the Ripper. I will also link this from my blog! Two thumbs up!

  6. anom Says:

    worked well with my own picture :), great tutorial and even more importantly it can be applied to multiple scenes.

  7. Autoversicherung Says:

    Great article. I have this bookmarked. Thanks from Autoversicherung

  8. Infadibulum Says:

    Thank you, effects work very well and very easy-to-follow instructions!

  9. bashir Says:

    Excellent Job! it is great tutotrial with detail. I hope everyone who have the sence of designing will improve himself by using this tutotrial. Keep it up. I hope U will again produce a unique ideas and tutotrials. God Bless U. It is no doubt about is a great job.

  10. avinash Says:

    hi this site is good

  11. malfrits Says:

    Hey nice tutorial, I’m about to try it right now, keep up the good work man, I’m looking forward for more of your tutorials
    thanks a bunch and good bless.

  12. malfrits Says:

    Hey nice tutorial, I’m about to try it right now, keep up the good work man, I’m looking forward for more of your tutorials
    thanks a bunch and god bless.

  13. Avan Says:

    The instruction is hard to follow because it does not tell where layer we are working

  14. anom Says:

    This is an amazing tutorial! I have used it for reference it for two of my pictures now :-)

  15. Business Card Printing Says:

    Very inspiring and informative, this is excellent! I love the attention to detail, like the lamp post glow, or the reflection in the puddle. Really nice work, thanks for sharing this wonderful tutorial!

  16. neil Says:

    In my opinion you did a stunning job. I really like this one. Thanks for the whole tutorial and well explained. I would like to try this one. Keep it up.
    Web Design Quote

  17. Heather @ PSD Tutor Roo Says:

    The final image almost looks like an illustration of Victorian England. I’m almost waiting to see a horse drawn carriage ride down the street.

  18. clippingimages Says:

    WoW :) Awesome tutorial. Nice and easy defined . Thanks for sharing this post.


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