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How to Create Realistic Water Drops in GIMP

Updated on August 17, 2014

Natural Rain Drops

Before we begin, it is important to note that; this effect was meant to be used with an existing image. This is because, it is designed to blend in with its surrounding background. But also because of the nature of how the layer for this effect is created.

Open your image to be used for this effect in GIMP. In my case, I will be using this leaf I created for another project.

Image to be used
Image to be used

Go to the Layers, Channels, Paths, Undo dialogue or GIMP's menu and select Layer > New Layer, create a new layer and name it Water drops.

Grab the Ellipse Select Tool in GIMP's Toolbox and create a small circular selection where you want the drop to appear on the image. You could even create different shapes of ovals - or even the shape of a tear - if you wish, given the natural formation of water drops. I created my selection in an oval shape

Select the Foreground and background colors box in GIMP's Toolbox and be sure that foreground is set for black and the background is white. In other words, the top box should be black and the bottom white.

Pick up the Blend Tool and, starting from about the center of your selection, drag the blend from left to right until you just pass the right side of the selection.

After that, we go to the Layers, Channels, Paths, Undo dialogue and set the Mode to Overlay. You'll notice that, once you add the overlay mode, the selection takes up the color of its background.

This next part is where we begin the transparency effect of our water drop. So, go to GIMP's menu and select Filters > Light and Shadow > Drop Shadow. In the Script-Fu: Drop Shadow dialogue, choose 3 for both Offset X and Y, set Opacity to 70 and click OK. When we get our results for the "outline effect" of our waterdrop, then we are going to go back to Filters from GIMP's menu and select Re- Show Drop Shadow. This time, we'll be setting Offset X and Y to -3. Leave the Opacity at 70.

What this does is creates the same effect on the opposite side of the selection making it equal all the way around, instead of creating the effect on one side. But you may decide that you don't want every drop using this effect. Or even the same settings. Example; instead of 3 for Offset X and Y, use 1 or 5. It, also, depends on the size of your image. One image with the dimensions of 640 x 400 might look more realistic than one at, say, 350 x 220.

If you'd like to add more drops to your image, by all means, follow along with me on these next steps.

Create another layer. No need to bother naming it. Select the Ellipse Select Tool from GIMP's Toolbox and create another selection - circular this time - and place it just below the first one.

Now, I, personally, don't want mine that big. So, what I will do is: go to GIMP's menu and click Select > Shrink. In the Shrink selection dialogue, I selected 10px and clicked OK. Then, I repeated steps 2-7 from above.

I, then, followed this last step to get more drops of different sizes to make my leaf look more natural and complete. Except, I did not use the Re-Show "Drop Shadow" effect on all of them. Mix them up to give them a more natural appearance.

If your selections (images) get very small, it may be helpful to zoom in your work. The quickest and easiest way to achieve that is: Click & hold the Control (CtrL) on your computer's keyboard while at the same time scroll in or out with the mouse.

So, that wraps up another tutorial for me. Do feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions or opinions. And I'll see you the next time around!

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