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 (opens in new tab)
Artist, author and instructor, Don Seegmiller teaches in the Art and Visual Communication Department at Utah Valley University. This article originally appeared in ImagineFX (opens in new tab) magazine issue 102.