How To Add A Digital Rainbow To Shots

How to use the gradient tool to add a digital rainbow to shots in Photoshop.

31/08/2012 - 00:00

Trethevy Quoit

Step 1: Open Your Photo

Open the photo and create a new layer: Layer>New>Layer (Shift+ctrl+N). You can rename the layer if you wish to.


Step 2: Select The Gradient Tool

Select the Gradient tool (shortcut key G) and click on the Transparent Rainbow gradient and the Radial gradient option.

Step 3: Edit The Gradient

Now we need to edit the gradient to give us a thin rainbow. Click on the rainbow in the tool bar. This opens up the edit box. Click on the small green marker on the gradient scale.

Set the location to 50%. Then click on each of the markers to the left and set each one at a single percentage smaller. So yellow on 49%, Red on 48%, Black (above scale) set to 48% too, Grey 47%, white 46%. On the other side set light blue to 51%, dark blue to 52%, pink to 53%, Black (above scale) set to 53% too, Grey 54%, White 55%. You should now have a gradient pattern looking like this.

Give it a name, I called mine Pete's Rainbow, and click New and it will appear at the end of the presets. Then click OK to close the window.

Create A Gradient


Step 4: Shrink The Photo

Make the photo small in the window (Ctrl + minus key) and make sure the new blank layer is selected.

Step 5: Create The Gradient

ReverseWith the gradient tool still selected, check that reverse is ticked as we need to flip the colours of the rainbow then click and hold down on the mouse outside the photo area and drag to a lower position and let go. Use the screen grab as a starting point. The idea is to end up with a semi circle rainbow over the photo. You may need to do this a few times until it looks right.

Create A Rainbow

Step 6: Move The Rainbow

Use the Move tool to reposition the rainbow so the bottoms are on the horizon. You can also Use The Free Transform tool to adjust the size of the rainbow. 

Step 7: Add Blur

Add a Gaussian blur filter Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and set the pixel radius as high as you can before the colours start to merge into one. About 70 pixels should be okay.

Add Blur

Step 8: Adjust The Rainbow's Size

At this point your rainbow should be starting to look realistic. You may want to repeat the process with a slightly different gradient, buy going back and giving more space to certain colours at the gradient edit step 3. If you're happy you can use the transform tool to pull the rainbow to exactly where you want it to start and end. Edit >Transform>Distort. Click on the lower markers at the edge of the fram and pull the rainbow into position. I stretched both the left and right to take the rainbow into a better position.

Transform the rainbow layer

Step 9: Add A Layer Mask And Tidy Up The Shot

Last thing to do is tidy up the shot. Add a Layer mask on the rainbow layer and erase areas where the rainbow looks unnatural. On my shot it's where it goes over the quoit and trees. The Brush tool can be set to black or white to paint back or remove the mask. You may also want to lower the opacity of the layer. I set mine to 25% to make it look more blended into the clouds.

Layer Mask

Step 10: Save The Image

When you're happy either save the file as a PSD so you can work more on it in the future or flatten and save as a jpg for upload to your web page or printing out.

Image with a rainbow

Related Photos


Link Posted 31/08/2012 - 11:17
Just the type of image that is crying out for a rainbow! Not.
Pentax K1-ii and MZ6
Pentax Lenses 28-80 F, 300 DA*, 80-200 F, 35 F2.4 AL, M50 F1.7, 28-105 DFA, 20 F4 SMC


Link Posted 26/12/2012 - 23:02
OH dear
here is me with a photo of Ayes rock (uleru) with a genuine rain bow which I was very proud now i find that it is possible to add one digitally


Link Posted 02/03/2020 - 11:16
After learning about how I can add digital rainbow in photos, I have started using it. I need to hire nursing assignment help for my next nursing assignment. Usage of this gradient tool has increased the charm and beauty of my shots in the Photoshop.


Link Posted 17/04/2020 - 12:56
Pentax Articles is very helpful and useful for me as I learn so many skills and information from these articles. These articles are so attractive and well elaborated and I understand every point easily and completely because I often visit to write my essays about such articles. Mostly I read the articles which is related to photo editing and video editing.


Link Posted 26/07/2021 - 14:19
This is an excellent article. I recently discovered your blog and have quite liked reading it. I'm seeking for new novels to read in order to broaden my horizons. Thank you very much for taking the time to share this vital information with us.안전놀이터
Add a Comment
You must be registered or logged-in to comment.