How to Create a Reflection Using Photoshop

Here is the end result of this tutorial:

Here I have a scenic photo that I’ll add a reflection to:

The first thing I’ll do is extend the canvas where I want to add the reflection. I’ll go to Image / Canvas size:

Here the Canvas Size dialog box comes up. I’ll click on the top arrow because I want the added canvas to be at the bottom of the image. Where it shows the Height, I’ll add a few inches. The Height I’ll make 18. Here is the box when it first opens:

Here is the Canvas Size dialog box after the adjustments. Then I’ll click OK:

Here is the image with the extended canvas:

The next thing I’ll do is use the Magic Wand tool to select the white canvas:

I’ll click once on the white canvas to make the selection:

Now I’m going to pick a greenish color straight from the image. I’m using a greenish color, because it just happens to suit this image to give the water a greenish, murky color. I’ll use the Eye Dropper tool from the tools palette. I’ll just hover the dropper over the color I want, and click. I’ll be able to see the color I choose in the color picker box:

The next thing I’ll do is use the Brush Tool to paint in the color green into white canvas:

Here is what the image looks like so far:

Now I’ll hit CTRL+D to deselect the green section of the canvas:

Now I’m going to make a copy of the background layer. I’ll hit CTRL+J on my keyboard. Here’s what it looks like in the layers palette:

The next thing I’ll do is use the Rectangular Marquee tool to select the top part of the image. I will not be selecting the solid green section of the image. While using the Rectangular Marquee tool, I usually start at the bottom left or right corner and drag up to the opposite corner, then release the mouse:

Now I’ll go to Edit / Transform / Flip Vertical:

Now I’ll use the Move Tool to drag the flipped image down so that it covers the extra green canvas:

This is what it looks like at this point:

In “Layer 1” I’ll lower the Opacity to 60%:

See the results:

Next I’ll use some filters. The first filter I’ll use is Gaussian Blur. Filter / Blur / Gaussian Blur:

Here the Gaussian Blur dialog box comes up. I’ll use a Radius of 3.7 pixels:

The next filter I’ll use is the Wave filter. Filter / Distort / Wave:

Here the Wave dialog box comes up. The settings I used for this are: Number of Generators: 24, Wavelength: Min. 6, Max. 29, Amplitude: Min. 6, Max. 20, and Scale: Horiz. 6%, Vert. 6%. The Type I’ll keep at “Sine”, and the Undefined Areas I’ll keep at “Repeat Edge Pixels.” Then I’ll click OK:

Now I’ll add a layer mask to “Layer 1”. I’ll make sure that “Layer 1” is selected and then I’ll click on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the layers palette:

Next I’ll go to the Gradient tool in the tools palette. I’ll choose the Linear gradient. I’ll set the Opacity to 50%:

Now I’ll drag the Gradient tool, starting at the top center of the reflection and ending at the bottom center of the reflection:

Here is the end result:

17 thoughts on “How to Create a Reflection Using Photoshop”

  1. I remember getting on here last year and asking you for help…. your tutorials are still awesome!! 🙂 I’m using Photoshop in EAST and am still using your techniques! Thanks!


  2. Very cool–I’ve created reflections by flipping the picture, but I love the effect of adding the gradient.

  3. You are in a league of photographing that I can’t even imagine! I’m here from the Kayview Gallery link. Incredible work. Your mind is magnificent!

  4. Greetings! I’ve been following your weblog for a while now and
    finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you
    a shout out from Kingwood Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the good work!

  5. This tutorial is really helpful for beginners. I do the same process for creating reflections on my work. I also have a blog with lots of free tutorials. I invariably admire surreal digital artwork.

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