December 27th, 2015
Eric in Southern California asks:
I live in southern CA where we are in a water drought and trying to conserve water as much as possible. With that in mind, I come across a lot of properties where the agent wants to water-down the driveway, walkways, etc. and on a sunny day when it’s hot and dry it’s already starting to dry before they even finish or turn off the water. Have you seen a tutorial or something for a way to get the “wet look” in Photoshop that would take a lot of work or time?
I was not able to find a good video tutorial on how to make pavement look wet but the following is a Photoshop technique that works pretty well. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough to save California some water. The example above shows a dry driveway on top and the same driveway “hosed down” with the technique I describe below:
- Open the image with dry pavement in Photoshop. All this will work in most older versions of Photoshop.
- Right-click on the layer and duplicate the layer.
- Select the pavement area you want to look wet in the top layer.
- Use Image>Adjustments>Curves… to bring up the Curves dialog box.
- Click on the lower left section of the curves line and drag it to the right until the pavement area selected darkens so it looks wet. Don’t go too far or the pavement will look more like asphalt. In many situations, you may be satisfied by stopping here because this darker look is usually better than the dry light look. The second characteristic of wet pavement is it has reflections. You can add your own reflections manually, but this can be tricky. Here is a video tutorial that shows adding reflections in a nighttime situation.
- A quick and dirty way to add some reflections on the dark driveway is to use the Plastic Wrap artistic filter in Photoshop (it’s been there a number of years I think). While the layer that you’ve darkened with the Curves adjustment is selected, select Filter>Artistic>Plastic Wrap. Then play with the Highlight Strength, Detail and Smoothness sliders until you get a look you like. On the example above I used a Highlight strength of 8 and Detail and Smoothness of 1. Note: To get the Artistic Filters to show up you have to go to Preferences>Plugins… and check the Show all Filter Gallery groups and names checkbox.)
- Finally, you can adjust the Opacity of the wet cement layer to get just the look you want.
There you have it. Much faster and effective than hosing the driveway down and you’ll get very close to the same look and save a bunch of water.