Photoshop Tutorial – Reflections

Ooh… Shiny

Many see the pretty reflections in lots of Photoshop work these days. Logos with a reflection in the space below them reflected buttons, what have you. But how is this effect achieved? After reading this article, you’ll be capable of this dazzling effect with ease.

The attached images illustrate what the effect we’re creating is, so take a look at them before proceeding.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Part 1 – Reflection of an object.

Step 1. Create an object to create a reflection of.

This is the part where you get creative, decide what you’d like to make a reflection of. Reflections can add realism, pseudo-realism, or just a nice graphical flare. They create a nice effect with text, so that’s what I’ll be discussing here.

– Pick your favorite font, and make some simple text.
– Rasterize it.

Step 2. Make a copy of the object.

This is going to become the reflection.

– Select the layer that your object (the text, in our case) is on, and right click->Duplicate Layer (or hit ctrl+j).

Step 3. Flip and position the copy.

This is what gets us ready to turn the copy into a reflection. It’s fairly simple…

– Select the layer with the copy.
– Press Edit->Transform->Flip Vertical.
– Hold shift, and either uses the arrow keys, the mouse, or a combination thereof to move the copy until it’s 1-2px away from the original.

NOTE – Though it may seem obvious, I should mention that the copy should be below the original.

Step 4. Turn the copy into a reflection.

Here’s where the magic happens.

– Select the copy layer.
– Add a layer mask. There are many ways to do this, one of them is to click the icon below the layers area that looks like a paper with a hole cut from it.
– Click on the layer mask (it is a second box to the right of the layer preview).
– Set your colors to the defaults (click the small black and white boxes near your colors on the left).
– Select the gradient tool, and be sure it is on “Normal” blend, with the standard non-transparent gradient selected.
– Hold shift, then clicks and drag the cursor from the bottom of the copy to the top of the original object.
– If this doesn’t look correct, repeat the last step, but starting at the top of the original then going down.

NOTE – I recommend you link the reflection and original layers, it makes it easier to move them without messing things up.

Step 5. Revel in your glory.

You have gained 1 point in Photoshoppery. Congrats. ^-^