Such a scene is all about the ripples and reflections. I paint the image in Corel Painter, working on individual layers. I create a stormy sky using the Airbrush tool on a background layer.
When painting the sky I make the clouds that are closer to the horizon thinner, ensuring they have the correct perspective. I overlay the clouds with a gradient layer to make the colour consistent with a dark and stormy night.
Next, I create the reflections of the buildings by duplicating the building layer, flipping it vertically, and moving it behind the buildings layer.
I apply some blur and lower the Opacity because reflections aren't as clear or strong as the object that's being reflected. I then apply a slight glass distortion effect to the reflection
I want some raindrop ripples in the reflection to show that it's raining. On a layer above the reflections I paint different-sized circles using a custom brush made from an outlined circle. I transform this layer so the circles are ellipses.
I lock the Layer's Transparency and paint the ripples a rainy colour, then blur and lower their Opacity. On a top layer I paint raindrops using the Small Splattery Airbrush. I change the layer's composite method to Screen and lower its Opacity, before duplicating the layer several times. I add varying amounts of motion blur to the layers, which gives direction to the falling rain.
Words: Don Seegmiller
Artist, author and instructor, Don Seegmiller teaches in the Art and Visual Communication Department at Utah Valley University. This article originally appeared in ImagineFX magazine issue 102.