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Add A Realistic Rainbow To A Photo With Photoshop

http://www.photoshopessentials.com/photo-effects/rainbow/

Written by Steve Patterson. In this Photoshop Effects tutorial, we’ll learn how to easily add a rainbow, and even a double rainbow, to a photo! As we’ll see, Photoshop ships with a ready-made rainbow gradient for us to use. We’ll learn where to find it and how to load it in. We’ll also learn how to flip the order of the colors in a gradient, which we’ll need to do to create a more realistic double rainbow effect. Of course, as with most photo effects, it helps if you start with the right type of image. In this case, a photo taken outdoors is a good place to start. If it happens to be a landscape photo taken after a rain storm, even better! I’ll be using Photoshop CS5 throughout this tutorial but any recent version will work.

Download our tutorials as print-ready PDFs! Learning Photoshop has never been easier!

Here’s the photo I’ll be starting with:

The original photo. Image licensed from iStockphoto by Photoshop Essentials.com

The original image.

Here’s what the image will look like after adding a double rainbow:

The final Photoshop double rainbow photo effect. Image © 2010 Photoshop Essentials.com

The final rainbow effect.

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Add A New Blank Layer

With the image newly opened in Photoshop, if we look in the Layers panel, we see that we currently have one layer, the Background layer, which contains our image:

The Layers panel in Photoshop showing the Background layer. Image © 2010 Photoshop Essentials.com.

The photo sits on the Background layer in the Layers panel.

The first thing we need to do is add a new blank layer above the Background layer. To do that, click on the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel:

The New Layer icon in the Layers panel in Photoshop. Image © 2010 Photoshop Essentials.com

Click on the New Layer icon.

Photoshop adds a new blank layer named "Layer 1" above the Background layer. Double-click directly on the name of the layer and change it to “Rainbow”, since we’ll be adding our initial rainbow to this layer. Press Enter (Win) /Return (Mac) when you’re done to accept the name change:

The new Rainbow layer has been added to the Photoshop document. Image © 2010 Photoshop Essentials.com.

Rename the new layer “Rainbow”.

Step 2: Select The Rainbow Gradient

As I mentioned, Photoshop ships with a ready-made rainbow gradient for us to use. It’s not one of the gradients that Photoshop makes available to us by default, but all we need to do is load it in manually. To do that, select theGradient Tool from the Tools panel:

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roens 2013-10-08

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