Creating a reflection effect in Photoshop can be a daunting task, but it really is not. To create the effect of reflecting objects in Photoshop, it is enough to follow the following steps carefully. In this article, we will teach you to step by step how to create the effect of reflecting objects in Photoshop software. With this tutorial, you can edit a photo of a sidewalk or dry street as if it were wet and the reflection of the object was on the surface of the water.
If you do this step by step with our tutorial, it might take you about 10 minutes. But after practicing and mastering this process several times and becoming more familiar with the Photoshop environment, creating a reflection effect may not take you even 5 minutes. All the steps required to do this are summarized below.
- Copy part of the image
- Paste it as a new layer
- Flip this layer
- Adjust the position of the photo
- Change the Blend Mode of that layer
- Create a Mask layer
Tip – You can download the photo we used in this tutorial from here and go through all the steps step by step with us.
Step 1 – Copy
To get started, select the part of the image you want to reflect using the Marque Tool (by pressing the m key on the keyboard) (Photo 1). Make sure you select the exact circumference of the image. On the other hand, the height of the selected section should be sufficient. If you have selected more than necessary, there is no problem and it can be corrected in the next steps. But be sure not to choose too little space.
Copy the selected section.
- Right-click on the selected section. On the menu that opens, select the Layer Via Copy option (second photo)
- You can also select Copy from the menu at the top of Photoshop and in the Edit section. Or, by pressing Control + C (Command + C on a Mac), copy the section.
Step 2 – Paste the new layer
In the previous step, if you proceeded from the first method, the selected section will automatically become a new layer. But if you have chosen the second method. You have to go to Edit> Paste from the top menu of Photoshop or press Control + V (Command + V on Mac) with the keyboard. Our recommendation is the same as the first method. The result is something like Photo 4.
Of course, you might think that nothing has changed. If you look at the Layers panel (bottom right in Photoshop), you will notice that the selected section is created in the form of a new layer. Now we have to move on.
Step 3 – Invert the image
To create the reflection effect of objects, we must keep in mind that the reflection of objects is symmetrical to the real body. So in this step, we have to reverse the selected part (new layer).
To do this, go to Edit> Transform> Flip Vertical. The result should look something like Photo 5.
Step 4 – Adjust the position of the photo
Select the Move tool from the toolbar on the left side of the Photoshop screen (Photo # 6). You can also use the V shortcut key to select this tool. Move the new layer (inverted) and set it where you want the reflection to start. For example, in the image we are teaching, we have considered the sidewalk edge as the starting point for reflection. If you feel that the images are not superimposed very well and it is a bit abnormal, do not worry. In the next steps, we will go into more detail using the Mask layer.
Note that the result should look something like Photo 7. Make sure the reflection is in the right place. When adjusting the inverted layer, pay special attention to its left and right alignment. This is more important than height adjustment. Of course, if you have selected the entire length of the image in the first step, you will not have a hard time in this step and it is enough to bring the layer a little lower and adjust its height.
Tip – After selecting the Move Tool, you can also use the arrow keys on the keyboard to move the layer. Using these buttons is especially convenient when you want to move the layer a very small amount. For larger transitions, the use of keyboard buttons is not appropriate.
Step 5 – Change the Blend Mode
In this step of creating reflection for objects, from the Photoshop Layers panel (bottom right), change the Blend Mode of the reflection layer to Lighten Mode (Photo # 8). This option is located at the top left of the Layers panel, next to the Opacity settings. By default, Blend Mode is set to Normal.
There are several modes of Lighten in this list; Lighten, Screen, Color Dodge, Linear Dodge, Lighter Color. Choose the one you think will work best on your photo. If you are curious to know, different Blend Mode modes show how this layer interacts with its underlay. When we select one of the Lighten modes, only the parts of the layer that are brighter than the bottom layer are displayed. In other words, not all sections that are darker are displayed. In any case, choose the option that has the most beautiful result in the image you want.
As you can see in Figure 9, the result is much more like a reflection.
Step 6 – Create and adjust the Mask layer
The task of creating an image reflection can be considered almost finished. But it is better to make more settings to make the photo more natural. For example, the reflection of neon lights in our image is very bright and clear. This is not natural light. Because the reflection of images is usually darker than the real image. Therefore, using a layer of mask and Gradient Tool, we make the reflection of the image a little darker.
First, create a mask layer. To do this, from the low price of the layers panel, click on the Add layer mask option (photo number 10). You can also do this from the Layers> Layer Mask> Reveal All menu.
For the next step, select the Gradient Tool from the Photoshop toolbar. You can also use the G shortcut key to select this tool. Select this tool as shown in Figure 11. Then press the D button to return your Photoshop colors to default (black and white). Then press the X key to replace them. In general, note that the foreground color (top) is black and the background color (bottom) is white (Figure 12).
When the color selection is complete and the Gradient Tool is ready to use, be sure to be on the mask layer. Note that we must be on the Mask, not the layer itself.
The function of the mask layer is such that wherever the mask is painted white, the contents of the main layer are displayed. On the other hand, any part of the mask is black, blocking the content of the main layer and nothing from that layer is displayed. Therefore, we intend to gently blur the corners of the layer and move it towards the center of the image to make the image more natural. By doing this, the corners of the image are gently blended with the underlying layer, and the original image of the layer is gradually found.
The Gradient Tool moves from the foreground color (black for us) to the background color (white for us) by default. The amount and direction of fading depend on how you draw the Gradient. With a few trials and errors, you can achieve the results you want. Each time you feel like it’s not the result you want, just press the Control + Z buttons to go back one step.
In this step, we have to drag the Gradient Tool on the reflection layer. We start from the bottom of the image. One-click, hover the mouse over the top of the reflection area and release the click. By doing this, the Foreground color starts at point A and gradually changes to the Background color at point B. A color spectrum is created between these points. It is better to try a little with different modes of drawing this color spectrum to get a beautiful and suitable result. There is no specific formula for this and everything will be different depending on your photo.
Note that your color spectrum moves from black to white. In this case, the mask layer starts and works from the corners of the image, the further we go to the middle of the image, the whiter the spectrum becomes, and the less the mask effect and the more image it displays (Figure 13). If this does not happen, look no further than white and black. Pressed the x button to replace them.
Final and optional corrections to add reflection effects
The training to create the reflection effect of objects is almost over. In this section, we will provide just a few tips to improve your work. Use this method if you do not want to show certain parts of this reflection in the image and blur them. Select the Brush tool. From the menu at the top of the page, select transparency of 10 to 20%. The color of the pen should also be black. Now select the mask and draw on the points you want to hide with this black pen. As we said, black on the mask means hiding the content under the mask. Therefore, these points are deleted. On the other hand, if you want to show certain parts of the reflection layer, use the white pen.
If you feel the reflection of the image is too blurry and abnormal, we recommend lowering the Opacity slightly.
In photo number 14, you can see the final image of our edit. As you can see, we have also activated the Mask around the reflection layer to make the reflection look more natural. At this stage, depending on your tastes and photography techniques, you can use the mask layer to further edit the shadow. It may not be a bad idea to cover a few points of the reflection with a mask to create the feeling that the reflection surface is not very wet and the reflection is not well created in some places! Such creations make your image look much more natural.