PaintShop Reflections

Creating PaintShop Reflections is relatively easy.   You can create some stunning results,  and darn - it's just flat out fun! 

When you have completed this technique you will have 4 layers plus the background layer.  

If layers make you tremble with fear - well - just go to your happy place and follow along.  By the time you are finished you will no longer fear layers.

If you would rather be really, really familiar with layers before you start the tutorial then the Layers Tutorial may be a good place to begin.

This is nice straight forward 6 step process.

Before we get started, here's a samplel image and its resulting reflection.

PaintShop Reflections

Step One
Choosing an Image

Choose an image for your surface reflection.  It's best if it's a simple image with nothing in the background.  My little pumpkin that I used for the videos was taken in a school gym full of children and their parents carving pumpkins - the background was far too busy.  The part of the image I wanted had to be carefully removed from the cluttered background.

If you have a lot of "stuff" in your background then you will need to do some selecting to isolate the portion you want to reflect.  As a matter of fact, getting the selection correct may be the most difficult part of the procedure.

For text of my PaintShop Reflections tutorial I selected a Porsche badge I found on-line.

The Selection Tools you can use include ...

  • Edit Selection
  • Freehand Tool (Edge Finder or Point to Point or Smart Edge)
  • The Pen Tool

Once your image is completely selected make a copy of it for the next step (Ctrl-C). 

Step Two
Create a Working File

 Make a new file about 1/3 longer than your original image file (the longer part is where your surface reflection will be).  What you have now are two files - the original image you will be working with and the new file. 

This image is 300 pixels by 357 pixels so my new file will be 300 pixels by 477 pixels.  The height does not have to be exact but you want room for the reflection.

Make the new file active and paste in your copied image as a New Layer (Ctrl-V).

This will give you a white Background layer and the pasted image layer you just created. Resist the inclination to Merge Down the layers because you want the image all by itself on its own layer. 

Now we are ready to start building up the necessary layers to create a great surface reflection. 


Step Three
Add a Gradient

Select the white Background layer and create a new Raster Layer.  This layer will have the background Gradient that you will be creating.  The gradient will be behind the surface reflection.

You select or create Gradients with PaintShop Pro X8 in the Material Properties.

The location of the Gradients will depend on the version of PaintShop Pro you are using.  In all versions, however, if you double click on the Foreground Color the full Materials Palette will load. 

I selected a Black to Red Linear Gradient for the Porsche Badge as you can see in the Layers Palette.

Here's the PaintShop Reflections project with the addition of the Gradient.

Step Four
Make the Reflection Surface

Create another Raster Layer above the Gradient Layer and name it shiny surface.  

Select the Rectangular Selection Tool and make a selection about 1/3 of the way up the layer.  Make sure the selection goes part-way up the image.

Make the foreground color black, select the Flood Fill Tool and click on the selection -

This is how your layers will look now ... 

Here's the project with the addition of the Shiny Surface.

Step Five
Making The Reflection

Now comes the fun part - we're going to

  1. flip a copy of the image (the badge in this case)
  2. move it down and then,
  3. apply a Black to Transparent Gradient.

Activate the Image Layer (Badge Layer), right click on it and select Duplicate.  You'll see a new layer created above your image layer named Copy of ...(Copy of Badge).

Select Image > Flip (Ctrl-I) to turn the image upside down.

This is where we are now ...

Make sure the Flipped Layer is activated, select the Move Tool and then either use the down arrow key to move the image down or move it down with the Move Tool.

In my case I want the flipped image to be just underneath the original image like this ... 

To get your flipped image exactly where you want it zoom in and use the arrow keys to move it left/right or up/down. 

Step Six
Fine Tune the Reflection

This step will use another gradient to tone down the reflection.  

With the Flipped Image layer activated, add a new Raster Layer (at the top of the stack) - this is for the Black to Transparent gradient.

  1. Draw a rectangular selection from left to right and from the the top of the flipped image to the bottom of the image.
  2. Before opening the Gradient editor, make sure the Foreground color is Black and the Background color is Transparent.
  3. Open the Material Properties and go to the Gradient Selector once again - choose a Black to Transparent (Liner or Circular) Gradient.  


Now select the Flood fill tool and click on the layer - you may have to do it a few times until you are happy with the look. This will appy your Black to Transparent gradient over the reflection ...

This is the end layers palette ... 

And this is how the PaintShop Reflections final image looks ...!


And that, my friends, is how to create a reflection with PaintShop Pro! 

PaintShop Reflections
One More Thing

Someone suggested (as a comment on the YouTube video)  that it is unusual for a surface reflection to be absolutely perfect.

He was right, of couse!

After everything is finished and the layers are all merged together then it may be educational to add some distortion to the finished reflection.

I tried it with Effects > Distorion > Ripple and it seems to be a reasonable suggestion.  Select only the reflection and apply whatever filter you want to it.

This is the result ... 

Makes sense, doesn't it?


PaintShop Reflections Video




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