If you're unsure what a rainbow should look like in
a photo, do a search of photos in stock image sites on Google.
Here's one site, and there are literally millions more. It seems
there are also a million and one ways a rainbow can appear, so be
Preset: #Hoods - Instant Rainbow
This preset creates a great instant rainbow on an 800 x
800 image. For other sizes it's as good as instant, because you will
soon get the hang of changing the settings as described below.
Choose a photo or any other image to which you want
to add a rainbow. For now, start with the default settings of 800 x
800 and play around afterwards. The smaller the image, the greater
the adjustments you will have to make.
Add a new transparent layer. Don't fill this
Open Plugin Galaxy and bring up the Presets list
with the F2 key. Choose the "#Hoods - Instant Rainbow" preset, which
should be listed near the top. You will see the rainbow as shown in
the cropped screenshot below. If this is what you want, click OK and
go straight to Working
in your Graphics Program.
Adjustments to the preset:
On the Edge layer: the Size and Smooth
sliders work together to create the rainbow arc. You will need to
adjust both to suit the size of your image.
On the Rainbow layer: adjust the color
rotation by moving the Angle slider.
Adjusting the position: a partial, offset
rainbow can often be more effective than a full semicircle.
Theoretically, you can position the rainbow anywhere you want to,
but it's very fiddly trying to get the exact same random coordinates
for both layers involved. However, the good news is you can use the
fixed positions provided to quickly and easily change the position
of the rainbow to get a right or left quarter circle as seen in the
header photo of the pelican.
Working in your Graphics
- Use your program's scaling tool/function (Ctrl T in Photoshop)
to size the rainbow to your requirements, and to move it to where you
- Adjust the opacity of the rainbow layer in the layer palette to your taste and
requirements. Using the Overlay blend mode can
improve the rainbow's appearance in some circumstances - try it.
(You can of course set blend modes and opacity from within Plugin
Galaxy, but it's more successful for this exercise to do it
- Blur the rainbow with Gaussian blur, only if you want to, to your taste and
- Lastly, use the eraser :
- with a soft, large brush setting at low opacity, to gently and
gradually erase parts of the rainbow where it should fade into the
image below - e.g. parts of the clouds, and/or
- with a smaller, opaque brush to remove any parts of the
rainbow which you want to appear behind something in the photo. e.g.
the rainbow over the pelican was erased where it fell across the
bird's head and beak.
- You should end up with a very
nice rainbow in a few minutes.
- The secret to creating a rainbow with broader bands yourself
(from within Plugin Galaxy) is reducing the Frequency of the
Rainbow slider to a low number, then decreasing the values of the
Size and Smooth sliders on the Edge layer contents. What you will
see on the Preview screen is a very tiny rainbow, with "fatter"
bands. When you scale this up and blur it outside Plugin Galaxy, you
will get a nice broad rainbow. See below.
- Once you have the size you want, use the Angle slider back on
the Rainbow layer to get the correct spectrum of colors. Click OK.
- Back in your graphics program, deselect, then scale the rainbow
up, Gaussian blur and otherwise modify things as necessary.
- Using Presets: If you are working on a large (high res)
photo/image - i.e. one that's significantly bigger than 800 x 800 -
the quickest, easiest way to get a broad band rainbow is to:
- Make an 800 square or 400 square empty selection on the
transparent layer above the photo, and open Plugin Galaxy.
- Apply either the 800 Full or the 800 Half preset to an 800
- Apply either the 400 Full or the 400 Half preset to a 400
- NB: the smaller the square selection you use, the
more you will have to scale the rainbow up, and the broader the
bands will be.
- You can see zoomed out screenshots of the stages used to get
the rainbow used for the
photo below which, in its original size, is a 1700 x 1200 shot.