Here is how to make your own reflections with Photoshop ... and this is the end result of this tutorial.
The technique works best on a single image like a bottle or a baseball or anything by itself with no distracting background. Once you get the hang of the technique then you can try more complicated images.
If you don't have a practise image sitting on your desktop waiting to be reflected then download a copy of the horse cut out ... this is the image of the front badge of a rare old Mustang that I cut out using the pen tool (another page on my site).
These are two reflected images done by Lucy from Romania
By itself this image doesn't look like much (unless you're admiring the amazing cut out job with the pen tool) but it looks much better with a nice reflection!
This is a 6 step process
- so let's get started!
In truth, preparing your image is probably the most difficult part of the technique!
This image was cut out of the front of the Mustang using the pen tool. What you want is to have an image that has no background whatsoever, not even white, and that can be a bit of a challenge unless you are a master selector.
The selection options are:
Once you have your image selected you are ready to begin - finally!
The first thing you want to know is the size of your image so you can create your background. Go to Image > Image Size and make note of the numbers (choose pixel size).
Now create a new file with a white background and make it larger than the image you will be reflecting. My original horse size was:
405 pixels by 151 pixels
so I made the blank file:
425 pixels by 375 pixels.
So far you have an image that is all alone with no background, not even white, and you have a file that is larger than the image you are going to reflect.
Here's what to do ...
Take the Magic Wand (yes the Magic Wand) and click on the transparent part of your image file. This will put the marching ants all around your image. Go to Select > Inverse to move the selection to the image. Make sure that your feathering is low - Select > Feather ... > 0.5.
Grab the Move Tool and drag the image onto the new file you created. Position the image near the top third of the file. If you look at the layers palette you should have a Background layer that is white and the image layer you just dragged there.
If you refer back to the image above you can see there is a gradient that gives the original image some life - some pizazz.
Normally I would suggest your take a couple of color from your image to make your gradient but th eimage I am working on has no real color so I had to be somewhat creative - so I chose purple as my primary color.
The gradient certainly helps the horse image stand out, doesn't it?
Now for the next step ...
The reflective surface is on a layer directly above the gradient layer and below the image layer.
That was easy, right?
Almost there - just one more thing to do before you can sit back and admire your work!
The last step is to tone down the reflection so that it looks realistic. Here's how to do that ...
At this point you can either keep the nice crisp, sharp reflection or further modify it to simulate a real world surface - like water for instance.
If you decide to add some distortion to the reflection simply select it and then try out the various filters. You will find something you like.
Page LinksStep 1 - Preparation
Step 2 - Combining Files
Step 3 - Background Gradient
Step 4 - The Reflective Surface
Step 5 - Copy, Flip and Move
Step 6 - Fine Tuning
My puppy Libby
This reflection is on
a white background
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