What you'll need
Working in the Standard workspace, import your footage and place it in a new composition. Rename the footage layer Foreground plate. Add a solid on top (Layer > New > Solid) and name it Foreground rain in the Solid Settings dialog box. Click the chip color, set it to black (#000000), and click OK. Click OK again to close the dialog box. Switch the Mode for the Foreground Rain layer from Normal to Screen. (If you don’t see the Mode column, toggle the Switches/Modes button at the bottom of the Timeline panel.)
Go to the Effects & Presets panel (Window > Effects & Presets) and type rainfall in the Search field. Drag the CC Rainfall effect to the Foreground Rain layer. Change the effect’s settings in the Effect Controls panel, depending on how hard you want the raindrops to fall, how much rain you want visible in the scene, whether it’s showering or drizzling, and so on. Size and Speed have a noticeable effect, so experiment with those until the rain looks right to you. Play the sequence. If the rain looks fine, you’re done — but you may wish to add some depth to the scene.
With the Foreground Plate layer selected, activate the Pen tool and draw a mask around whatever defines the foreground in your scene. Expand the Mask 1 layer and add some feathering. Scrub the timeline. If anything happens to stray outside this static mask, click the stopwatch next to Mask Path and then reposition mask path points as necessary to contain the foreground objects as they move. This may take several minutes to complete accurately. (Add a second mask to the Foreground Plate layer to include noncontiguous objects in the same plane.)
Duplicate the Foreground Plate layer (Command/Control+D) and rename the copy Background plate. Duplicate the Foreground Rain layer and rename it Background rain. Stack the layers as follows:
- Foreground rain
- Foreground plate
- Background rain
- Background plate
Select the Background Plate layer, press M, and delete the mask on that layer. Select the Background Rain layer and adjust the CC Rainfall effect’s settings in the Effect Controls panel to account for generally smaller drops falling more slowly since they’re farther away. Preview the composition.
Depending on your scene, consider keyframing CC Rainfall settings (from small to large or vice versa) to simulate the onset of a cloudburst or of rain tapering off.
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