SBI! Monthly Billing Option

Paint Shop Pro
Surface Reflection

Site Search

Creating a surface reflection is relatively easy with Paint Shop Pro Photo and you can create some stunning results.  And darn - it's just flat out fun! 

paint shop reflection paint shop reflected image
Original Reflection

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.

This is nice straight forward 6 step process.

Step 1 - Choosing Your Image
and Removing It From The Background

Choose an image for your surface reflection.  It's best if it's a simple image with nothing in the 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.

The Selection Tools you can use include ...

  • Freehand Selection
  • Edge Finder
  • Point to Point
  • Smart Edge
  • Magic Wand (because you can select the appropriate match mode for your image)

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

Step 2 - 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.

reflection start

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.

paintshop layers

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

Step 3 - Create a Gradient on a New Layer

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

If you don't know how to create a Gradient with Paint Shop Pro - well - here is how you do it ...

Creating Gradients

paintshop reflection gradient
You select or create Gradients with PSP in the Materials Palette.

Drop down the little menu bar under the current color and select the middle icon - this is where you will find the Gradients in PSP.

Click on the Gradient that is visible in the Materials Palette and the following screen will appear.

paintshop gradient editor
Material Properties (Gradients)

This is a very useful screen - you can change the Horizontal and Vertical position of the center point and choose the kind of Gradient you want.  In this procedure we will create a Sunburst Gradient and for the final step later a Linear Gradient.

You can see in the image above that the Sunburst Gradient is selected.

PSP has a whole whack of Gradients available and you can see them by clicking on the Active Gradient.  If you see one that fits your image then simply select it and you are done.  If not then you will need to create your own Gradient with the Gradient Editor.

You might as well learn how to create a Gradient now because you will need a Black to Transparent Gradient later and it is not included in the pre-set PSP Gradients.

Click on the Edit button directly below the active Gradient to bring up the Gradient Editor.

paintshop gradient editor
Gradient Editor

Click New to create your unique, and probably stunning, Gradient - give it a name.  

In the middle portion of the Editor (where it says Gradient), click on the little Marker at the left end of the gradient (the left facing red arrow)and then move your cursor over the image and it will change into the eyedropper.  

Choose a color from your image and you wil see this color on the left end of the gradient in the editor.

Now click the Marker on the right end of the gradient (the right facing red arrow) and select the second color from your image and it will appear on the right end of the gradient in the editor.  

Now you have a gradient that is all your own!

If you move the little diamond on top of the Gradient left and right you can change the appearance with the colors you have selected.  When you are satisfied then click Close.

The final step to complete your reflection needs a Black to Transparent Gradient and this is how to make one.

In the editor, make the left end of your Gradient black.  Do this by either selecting the left Marker and use the eyedropper to pick up black from your image or click on the Custom Color box (the big red arrow) and select black from the choices.

Now select the right Marker and make it white.  

Go down to the Transparency section, select the right Marker and lower the Opacity to 0.

Now you have a very useful Black to Transparent Gradient.
The following video explains these procedure in detail ...

Gradients Video

Back to creating a surface reflection

Now you have the Background layer and two additional layers.  Activate the new layer you created (below the image and above the Background), select the Flood Fill Tool and click on the image to put your gradient on this layer.

reflection layers reflections first gradient
New Layer Added Gradient Added

reflection first gradient

This is starting to look good with just the addition of the Gradient!

Step 4 - Make The Reflective 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 ...

reflection layer reflection shiny surface
New Layer Added Black Surface Added

And this is how your surface reflection image looks now ...

reflection badge

Step 5 - Make 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 ...

reflection layers reflection badge flipped
Layer Palette Flipped Badge

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 ...

reflection points

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 6 - Fine Tune The Surface 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. Open the Materials Palette and go to the Gradient Selector once again - choose a Black to Transparent (Liner or Circular) Gradient

    reflection gradient

  3. select the Flood Fill tool and click on the layer  - you may have to undo and re-do this step until you are satisfied

This will appy your Black to Transparent gradient over the reflection ...

This is the end layers palette ...

reflection all layers

And the final image!

reflection final

And that, my firiends, is how to create a reflection with Paint Shop Pro Photo X2!

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 ...

reflection ripple

You decide if you like the effect or not.

Surface Reflection Video

The Surface Reflection Video

Page Links

Remove Image From Background

Modify The File

Reflective Surface

Making The Refelction

Fine Tuning

One More Thing

Reflection Video

Other Reflections

reflection banana
Tasty Reflected Fruit

reflection camera
Not Digital

badge reflection
Reflected Vegetable

reflection Libby
My Little Girl Libby
On A White Background

Reflection mustang
Mustang Badge

Make Your Words Sell

Enjoy This Site?
Then why not use the button below, to add us to your favorite bookmarking service?

Return to top

Site build It!

Use the Contact Form to ask questions, provide feedback or comments.

Questions are good - so are comments - or requests!

Return To Paint Shop Pro Tutorials  from Surface Reflection
Copyright© 2009-2013.