Circular Ripples: Create a Water Effect in Photoshop

Circular Ripples: Create a Water Effect in Photoshop

Add ripples to any image

There are different ways to add ripples to an image in Photoshop. You can use displacement maps, make them by hand or just use some of the native Photoshop filters (spoiler, not the Ripple or the Wave filters). But what if you want to add a single ripple effect in an exact spot in an image? How do you control how many ridges that ripple has? Today, you will learn how to add a ripple effect to an image in the exact place you want, while still controlling the exact number of ridges that effect has.​

The method I will show you here can be used over any image with any perspective, but if you want to follow this tutorial exactly as described, please download the following image from Pexels: Download

Step 1

Open the landscape image in Photoshop.

Step 2

Select the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M) and draw a circle around the area where you want to apply the ripple effect to.

Step 3

Go to Edit > Copy and then to Edit > Paste Special > Paste in Place.

Step 4

Again, go to Edit > Paste Special > Paste in Place.

Step 5

Hide the top layer by clicking on the eye icon next to the layer’s name.

Step 6

Select the bottom layer to make it the active layer.

Step 7

Hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard and click once over the layer thumbnail in the Layers Panel.

Step 8

Go to Filter > Distort > ZigZag. Set the Amount to 40, the Ridges to 10, the Style to Pond Ripples, and click OK.
Note: depending on your image size and the selection you have made you may need to change a bit these values.

Step 9

With the selection still active, select the top layer and make it visible.

Step 10

Again, go to Filter > Distort > ZigZag. Set the Amount to 100, the Ridges to 10, the Style to Out From Center, and click OK.
Note: depending on your image size and the selection you have made you may need to change a bit these values.

Step 11

With the selection still active, go to Select > Transform Selection. In the top toolbar set the Width and Height to 70% and click on the checkmark icon to commit the transformation.

Step 12

Go to Select > Inverse.

Step 13

Hit the Delete key on your keyboard and then go to Select > Deselect.

Step 14

Go to Layer > Merge Down.

Step 15

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the Radius to 0,3 and click OK.

Some Final Notes

To add more ripples to your image on the exact places that you want, simply repeat the process as many times as ripples you want to add. In the following example, 5 extra ripples with different values was made.


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