How to Create a Fog Effect With Photoshop

Photoshop is a graphic-editing program renowned for its many functions that add realistic-looking effects to photos or graphics. The fog effect is an effect that seems like magic and too difficult to learn by yourself. However, with a few simple steps using Photoshop's powerful tools, anyone can add realistic fog to images.

Things You'll Need

  • Image
  • Photoshop CS2 or greater (recommended versions)


    • 1

      Open the image that you want to add fog to in Photoshop. JPEG format works best. GIF might have too many colors to use layers in all versions of Photoshop. If this is the case and your version is 6 or greater, try resetting preferences by holding down ALT + CTRL + SHIFT while Photoshop is loading.

    • 2

      Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Go up to "Layer" and choose "New Adjustment Layer" then the "Hue/Saturation" option. On the New Layer box, use the default settings and click "OK." On the Hue/Saturation window, set Saturation to -100 and Lightness to +100 and click "OK."

    • 3

      Add fog to your image. First, press "D" on the keyboard to set default colors and then "G" to select the Gradient tool. On the gradient toolbar, choose the "Foreground to Background" and the "Linear Gradient." Go to the Layers palette and click on the Layer Mask thumbnail. Go to the image and, using the cross hair cursor, click and drag the line from the bottom to the top. This creates a fog on the bottom half of the image. To create fog at the top, drag the cursor from top to bottom.

    • 4

      Remove or lighten the fog from some foreground areas. Select the Layer Mask. Choose a large brush and the color black. Paint any foreground areas of the image that extend into the fog. The painted areas will clear away the fog in varying degrees, depending on the brush settings and how many times you brush over the areas. This will add depth to the image. The example uses the following brush settings: brush:, Airbrush Soft Round 50% flow; Master Diameter, 75 pixels; Hardness: 20%; Opacity 50%; Flow: 50%. You might need to play around with the settings to get the desired look.

    • 5

      Add texture to the fog. Create a new layer by going up to "Layer" and choosing "New" then "Layer." Go to the Layer palette and move the new layer between the Background and Hue/Saturation layers. Select the "Rectangular Marquee" tool, set the Feather to 30 pixels, and select an area in the middle of the image. Go up to "Filter" and choose "Render" then "Clouds" to fill the Marquee selection with clouds. Deselect the Marquee with the keyboard combination of "Ctrl+D."

    • 6

      Blend the Clouds into the fog. Go to the Layer palette, right-click on the middle layer, and choose "Blending Options". On the Blending Options window, go down to "This Layer", "Alt+click" the black triangle to separate it into two pieces, and move the right piece all the way to the right end of the gradient bar. Click "OK".

    • 7

      Position the clouds. Go up to "Edit" and choose "Transform" then "Perspective." A box outline appears on the image. Drag a top corner handle in about a quarter way toward the middle of the image until it forms a trapezoid. This positions the clouds nearer the center and resizes them. Press "Enter."

    • 8

      Widen the fog area. Go up to "Edit" and choose "Transform" then "Scale." Set the Width to 1000%. This widens the fog across the entire width of the image, so that the mist trails appears to disperse evenly. Press "Enter."

    • 9

      Adjust the fog, if necessary. The Hue/Saturation and the middle cloud layers may be edited until the image meets the user's liking. Save the completed image.

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