How to make a Paint Drip Effect in Adobe Photoshop

Paint drip effects can add a touch of creativity and movement to your photos and designs. In this tutorial, we will learn how to create a realistic paint drip effect in Adobe Photoshop using a combination of brush strokes and displacement maps.


Before you begin, make sure you have the following:

  • A photo or background image
  • A brush set with various paintbrush textures
  • A displacement map image

Creating Realistic Paint Drip Effects

  1. Open your photo or background image in Photoshop.
  2. Create a new layer above your background layer. This will be the layer where you will create your paint drips.
  3. Select a brush tool from your brush set. Choose a brush with a texture that resembles paint, such as a splatter brush or a textured brush.
  4. Reduce the opacity of the brush to about 50%. This will make the paint drips appear more translucent.
  5. Set the blend mode of the brush layer to “Multiply.” This will darken the paint drips and make them blend more seamlessly with the background image.
  6. Choose a color for your paint drips. You can use a variety of colors, depending on the desired effect.
  7. Start painting your paint drips. Use the brush tool to create various shapes and sizes of drips, varying the opacity and brush size as needed.
  8. Create a displacement map image. The displacement map will be used to distort the paint drips and make them appear more realistic. You can create a displacement map by painting a black and white image, where white areas will create bumps and black areas will create valleys.
  9. Convert your displacement map image to a Smart Object. This will allow you to apply non-destructive edits to the image.
  10. Drag and drop the displacement map layer below your brush layer. This will make the displacement map affect the paint drips.
  11. Adjust the blend mode of the displacement map layer to “Displace.” This will apply the displacement effect to the paint drips.
  12. Adjust the displacement scale and displacement opacity sliders in the Properties panel. These sliders will control the intensity of the displacement effect.
  13. Fine-tune the opacity and brush size of your paint drips as needed.


Here are some examples of how to use paint drip effects in your photos and designs:

  • Create a vintage poster with paint drips. Use a textured brush and dark colors to create a dripping effect that resembles old paint.
  • Design a typography piece with paint drips. Add paint drips around the edges of your text to create a dynamic and eye-catching effect.
  • Add a splash of color to a plain background with paint drips. Use a variety of colors and brush textures to create a vibrant and textured background.
  • Create a surreal or abstract artwork with paint drips. Experiment with different techniques and colors to create unique and expressive artwork.


Paint drip effects can be a fun and creative way to add a touch of realism and movement to your photos and designs. By following these steps, you can create stunning paint drip effects that will elevate your creative projects.