Tag Archives: tear drops

Tear Drops (PHSH Effect #28)


Technically, this Photoshop effect isn’t strictly for making tear drops, you can use it to create any other clear liquid drops – sweat, condensation, big rain drops, etc. But since I first learned this technique because I needed to make a tear drop – for the creation of my 6th book cover, Broken – that’s the name I’m sticking with.

Like most of the other effects I show you, there’s multiple ways you can create tear drops in Photoshop, and again, like most of the other effects, it’s not nearly as hard as it may seem.

Step 1

As always, you’ll need to start with an image you’d like to add the effect on. Since I’m going to be showing you this for a tear drop – and since I already had the picture on hand – I’m going to be using the same sad girl face I used on my book cover.

Feel free to use the picture above, or you can choose your own sad person, or water bottle, or forehead if you’re going to be creating sweat or condensation. Though I will say, it might be easier to follow along with the tutorial in the same way first. Just so that you have the steps down before you start deviating from the tutorial. I’ll add example pictures of condensation and sweat at the end of the tutorial, so you can see what it looks like on those images, too.

Okay, so once you have the picture you want to add the effect to, we’re going to make a New Layer, and then on that New Layer, use the Pen Tool to draw a shape. Preferably, a tear/water drop shape. (Or as close as you can get) If you’d like, you can also rename this layer to something simple yet identifying, like Pen Tear Drop.

If you’ve never used the Pen Tool before, the way to use it is by clicking multiple times, which are called Anchor Points, to create the shape you want. It’s similar to the Polygonal Lasso Tool (which I showed you in this tutorial), except the line doesn’t hold until you create the next Anchor Point.

Each one of those squares are the Anchor Points where I clicked. If you don’t use multiple Anchor Points to create your shape, you won’t end up with a shape, but you’ll instead just have a dot. Or if you click once to ‘start’ the tool and once to ‘stop’, you’ll get a line.

For example:

So you’ll want to make sure to use the Anchor Points to create the shape, otherwise the Pen Tool won’t appear to work. If you need to, you can also zoom in on your picture to make creating the shape easier. To zoom in, use the CTRL and + buttons on your keyboard. (Zooming out is CTRL – , makes sense, right? Clicking ‘+’ brings you more/closer and ‘-’ minuses/moves you farther away)


Step 2

Once you have a shape you’re happy with, you’re going to right-click on the shape and then select Make Selection from the drop-down Menu that appears.

In the Make Selection Dialogue box that appears, you shouldn’t need to change anything from the default, but this might depend on your version of Photoshop, so I’ll list what the values should be below. Once you finish changing them, or if you didn’t need to change them at all, just click the Okay button.

Feather Radius: 0 pixels

Anti-Aliased Check Box should be Check-marked

New Selection for Operation (in my version of PHSH, the other options are greyed out)

After you click the Okay button, you should notice that the shape you drew is now now shows the dotted selection lines, instead of the Anchor Point square dots.

Once you finish that, you’ll want to Fill the shape with white. To do this, you can use the CTRL + Delete buttons on your keyboard, or if you switch from the Pen Tool to the Selection tool and then right-click on the shape, select Fill from the drop-down menu, and then pick White from those options.

If you noticed my Layers panel has an extra layer, this is because I created 2 tear drop shapes. The first one I forgot to fill with white, and then wondered why Step 3 wasn’t working. I had to go back and re-draw the tear, so it will be a different shape for the rest of the tutorial. Also see? Even us pros mess up!

Once your shape is filler with White, you can now Deselect it (right-click using the Pen or Selection tool and choose Deselect) to get rid of the dotted outline. After this, go on over to the Layers Panel and change the Fill to 0%. You can either do this by sliding the slider all the way to the left, or simply type the number 0 into the box.


Step 3

Next, you’re going to right-click on the Tear Drop layer and bring up the Blending Options Dialogue Box. From there, you’re going to check-mark the Bevel and Emboss option, and then change the following values:

Bevel and Emboss:

Inner Bevel


Depth: 530

Direction: Up

Size: 50

Soften: 0

Angle: -90,

Altitude: 0

Highlight Mode: Screen (White)

Opacity: 50%

Shadow Mode: Multiply

Opacity: 75%

After you change the Bevel and Emboss values, you’ll also want to add an Inner Shadow, with the following values:

Inner Shadow:

Linear Burn (Leave Black)

Opacity: 30%

Angle: -63 (Uncheck Global Light)

Distance: 4

Choke: 0

Size: 16

And finally, a Drop Shadow, with the following values:

Drop Shadow:

Multiply (Leave Black)

Opacity: 55%

Angle: 127

Distance: 7

Spread: 0

Size: 8

At this stage, your tear should actually look like a tear. If however, you’re in the same boat as I am and it’s not looking even remotely close, don’t panic!

I discovered through creating yet another tear (yes, I ended up making 3 for this tutorial) that you need to do the steps not only in order, but without breaking between them, especially between making the selection, filling with white and first applying the Bevel and Emboss effect.

I have no idea why, but for some reason, the Bevel and Emboss effect just won’t look the same if you take breaks between those steps. I know it makes no sense, but sometimes Photoshop is just… let’s say finicky.

My 2nd tear drop ended up looking badly because to make these tutorials, I’m writing the steps while I’m also doing the effect in Photoshop. This is not only in case I need to make any tweaks to the steps I already have written, but also so I can get the screenshots used in the tutorial.

Unfortunately this breaking up of the steps seems to make the Bevel and Emboss effect act weird, so I had to make another tear and do the first steps up to the Bevel and Emboss values a second time.

I’ll admit it you can’t tell that the shape looks better in that picture, but you can clearly see the difference between the third tear and the second one at the same stage.

After seeing the Bevel and Emboss wasn’t acting wonky, I went ahead and applied the Inner Shadow and Drop Shadow.

I noticed however that while this third tear was looking closer, it still wasn’t quite as accurate as I thought I could make it, so I also changed the values for the effects to the following:

Bevel and Emboss:

Style: Inner Bevel

Technique: Smooth

Direction: Down

Depth: 530

Size: 10

Soften: 0

Angle: -124 (Uncheck Use Global Light box)

Altitude: 0

Highlight Mode: Screen (White)

Opactiy: 68%

Shadow Mode: Mulitple (Dark Grey #373737)

Opacity: 75%


Inner Shadow:

Blend Mode: Linear Burn (Lighter Grey #525252)

Opacity: 30%

Angle: -145 (Make sure Use Global Light is un-checked)

Distance: 4

Choke: 0

Size: 8


Drop Shadow:

Blend Mode: Multiple (Dark Grey #1e1e1e)

Opacity: 55%

Angle: 127

Distance: 4

Spread: 0

Size: 3

If your tear isn’t looking quite like a tear, try these second set of values to see if that helps. A lot of the time in Photoshop, trial and error is the only way to get an effect to look right. This is because of a lot of different factors, but the main one will be the image you’re applying the affect to. If you’re not using the same picture I am the colours, lighting, shadows, etc. are all going to be different, so the values you choose to create your effect will vary.

This is why I always recommend playing around with values, to see if you can find different ones than what I use to get the effect to work on your image.


Step 4

Yes, there’s still another step to the tear process! However, these last two steps are completely optional. This step, which involves warping your tear shape to make it look more realistic really only needs to happen if you didn’t draw the shape exactly how you wanted it to look the first time around.

If you’re already happy with the shape of your tear, feel free to skip ahead to Step 5!

If you’d like to try changing the shape of your tear, follow along. This is called Warping, which I may have talked about before, but off the top of my head I don’t remember, so I’ll just explain it again.

To Warp your shape, right-click on the shape and then select Warp from the drop-down menu that appears. If the first time you right-click the only options that come up say the current layer name (in my case, Tear 3) and Layer 1, you’ll first need to click on one of the squares that’s outlining the shape. (The ones you’d use if we were going to resize it)

After clicking the resize square, then right-clicking should bring up the drop-down with the Warp option.

You should notice after selecting Warp that a box/grid shows up over your tear, with little circles at certain points around it. These circles are the points you’ll use to warp the image.

I’d suggest starting out small, because over-warping could ruin all your hard work. Try at first if you can, to just slightly warp the tear so it looks like it’s moving over the bottom of the eyelid. This should mean slightly adding a curve to the top part of the tear.

Once you’re happy with your warped tear, click Apply in the dialogue box, or the Enter button on your keyboard to keep the changes.


Step 5

The final step (aside from saving) is to add a highlight to your tear. This is also an optional step, since the Bevel and Emboss effect should’ve added at least a slight highlight to your tear. But if you want to add another one, here’s how:

You’re going to make a New Layer and can rename it something identifiable (I called mine Highlight). Then, use your Pen Tool to draw another shape. This one should be smaller than your tear, and a skinny, almost banana shape. Once you’re happy with the shape, the process is the same: Right-click to Make Selection and then CTRL + Delete to make it white.

After this, you can change it’s Opacity so it’s not as stark white, or rotate it if you didn’t draw it exactly the same bend as the tear.

Once you’re done fiddling with the highlight, or if you didn’t think you needed one, go ahead and zoom out and take a look at your masterpiece!

If you’re happy with how it looks zoomed out, the only step left to do is save your file! Don’t forget to save both a .psd (Photoshop) file and a picture (.jpeg, .png, etc.) file so that you have a work file, just in case you need to come back to it. (Or to remember how you created the effect)

Like this tutorial? Check out the rest of the series here!