Reflections Photoshop Tutorial

This Photoshop tutorial is pretty basic but you can achieve some very cool effects with this simple technique. You can apply this tutorial on text or on objects within in your picture. I have included some variations on the technique at the end of the tutorial.

First off open up the object that you want reflected. I am going to use some text for this example. Your text or object must be in a layer by itself, it cannot contain a background. So essentially in the begining, have a all white background layer and your text/object layer on top of that.

Reflection Photoshop Tutorial Step 1

Duplicate the text layer so that you have two of them. To duplicate an the contents of a layer drag the layer to the new layer icon in the layers palette. Or right click the layer that contains the text and choose duplicate layer. You will now have three layers, your white background layer, your text layer and a copy of the text layer.

Working on the top layer, add a drop shadow layer effect. To add a drop shadow go to Layer/Layer Style/Drop Shadow or double click the layer that you want to add a drop shadow to which will open your layer style option menu. Select drop shadow on the left and make sure its check box is checked. Play with the settings until you have a nice soft shadow that is underneath your text. I used the following settings for my drop shadow. Your image should now look like the image below.

Reflection Photoshop Tutorial Step 2

Now working with the lower text layer, vertically flip the layer. You can do this by going to Edit/Transform/Flip Vertical. Choose your move tool (the keyboard short is “V”) and move your newly flipped layer so that it sits under your top layer as shown in the picture below.

Reflection Photoshop Tutorial Step 3

Now adjust the opacity of the lower layer to soften it up a bit, a value of around 30% tends to work great.

Reflection Photoshop Tutorial Step 4

That pretty much covers the basics of it, pretty cool huh? I love how simple it is to achieve such cool results in Photoshop. You can do much more with reflections as well. Continue the tutorial to see some variations utilizing the technique discussed in this tutorial.

By changing the perspective on the reflection layer (Edit/Transform/Perspecitve) you can get an effect like this.

Reflection Photoshop Tutorial

By adding the ripple filter (Filters/Distort/Ripple) to the reflection layer you can make it appear as if the image is being reflected on water.

Reflection Photoshop Tutorial

By adding a gradient overlay (Layer/Layer style/Gradient Overlay) to the reflected layer you can achieve something like this.

Reflection Photoshop Tutorial

By doing a Guassian Blur (Filter/Blur/Guassian Blur) you can get an effect like this.

Reflection Photoshop Tutorial

As you can see, the possiblities with this simple technique are limitless. Explore and play around with Photoshop and see what you can come up with. If you have any questions or comments about this Photoshop tutorial please let me know by filling out the form below.

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5 Questions/Comments/Trackbacks so far

  1. Posted by: jim bender
    October 18, 2010 7:35 PM

    the greatest, esiest to understand instructions on the web!! keep up the great work. you are a genius!!!! thank you for the help!

  2. Posted by: Jose
    March 20, 2011 1:22 AM

    Nice tut easy, simple just wat i needed thanks to who ever post this.