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Flaming Pear Flood

Water effects for Adobe Photoshop By Dave Nagel
Flaming Pear is a company that you might not be familiar with but that has put out some pretty serious effects filters for Photoshop. I've previously reviewed two of their products, BladePro and Super BladePro, both of which are designed to generate general material effects like stone and metal. This week we'll look at a plugin of theirs that has a much more limited scope but that might prove pretty useful to you compositing folks out there. It's called Flood, and its sole purpose is to place bodies of water onto an image.

Not sure what this means? Well, take a look at the before and after shots below.

Flood is a compositing dream, assuming that you have a need to composite water around a subject. If you do, then this is certainly a better solution than doing it manually with a piece of stock photography. It's just as realistic, and it lets you customize the appearance so that you can build just about any kind of water body you need, from rice paddies and mud holes to big, wide seas.

This filter is incredibly easy to use, and it requires very little tweaking to get it to look right. The skyscraper image above and the castle image below used essentially the same settings, but the filter automatically match the water to the scene.

You simply set the horizon to match the original image, and all of a sudden you're done. Unless you want to customize the look of the water, of course.

But customizing isn't difficult. The plugin itself matches the water to the scene, so all you need to worry about is the shape and density of the waves, the undulations of the ripple (if any) and the angle and perspective of view. You can also change the wave color, select random settings or load (and save) presets.

How it works
Flood operates off a single filter located in the Flaming Pear directory of the Photoshop Filter menu. Once you're there, you see a preview of the effect on your image and are given 11 adjustable parameters, all of which are pretty easy to get the hang of. The Horizon setting lets you set the position of the horizon, while the Offset parameter allows you to move the effect down away from the horizon, while still maintaining the horizon. Perspective and Altitude settings are also included.

The Flood interface

For wave control, you're given options for Waviness, Complexity, Brilliance (similar to highlight brightness) and Blur. Blur is particularly useful for "muddying up" the water and just generally bringing in more of the dominant colors from the original image.

Finally, you also get to add in a ripple, if you'd like. To do so, you simply click somewhere below the horizon line in the image preview. Then you get to set the Size (diameter), Height and Undulation. (Undulation determines how many ripples will flow off the main ripple.) You can adjust the overall look of the ripple by adjusting the altitude and perspective of the view.

You can save your settings (and load them) from within the Flood interface; you can apply random settings; and you can choose the "glue" (apply) mode, including normal, dissolve, screen, overlay, "superlay," multiply, add and subtract.

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