Add a Rainbow Using Photoshop

Steps to Re-create

This is a photo I took at the Pear Resort in Bora Bora, Tahiti. One evening we had a thunderstorm and a double rainbow appeared. It’s hard to see the second rainbow in this image but that’s ok because we can create one in Photoshop. Here’s how.

  1. Make a new layer (Ctrl/Cmd + Alt/Option + Shift +N)
  2. Select the Gradient tool (G)
  3. Within the default gradient swatches up near the top left select the transparent/rainbow/transparent gradient.
  4. Hold Shift and drag up to draw a rainbow gradient.
  5. Go to Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates and make sure the Rectangular to Polar radio button is selected and hit OK
  6. Transform your now circular rainbow using Ctrl/Cmd + T to your desired size and position.
  7. Change the rainbow’s layer blend mode to Screen
  8. Apply a Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur to the rainbow if you’d like.
  9. Adjust the opacity of the rainbow layer to help blend in the rainbow better.
  10. Now you can mask out any of the rainbow where you would not like it to be visible by applying a layer mask to the rainbow layer. Simply click the layer mask button at the bottom of the layers panel. Then paint with black on the mask where you want to hide the rainbow.
  11. Double click the rainbow layer to open the Blending Options panel. Go down to Blend If and while holding Alt/Option grab the handles on the underlying layer sliders and adjust to taste.


I realize there are many places to find Photoshop, Lightroom and Photography tutorials so thanks for tuning in!

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