Creating Reflection with Photoshop

This tutorial will show you how to make a reflection with your Photoshop. I used Photoshop CS2 when creating this tutorial, but I guess it does not make any difference even if you do it with Photoshop CS.

Picture used on this tutorial is Australian Parliament House in Canberra, by

Photoshop CS Tutorial

Step1: Open your image, copy your background layer, and fill your background layer with white

Photoshop CS Tutorial

Step2: After you open your image, go to image>canvas size and lock the anchor at top centre, type in a new figure for height. Mine is 600 pixels.

Photoshop CS Tutorial

Step3. Right click on image layer in your layer palette, and duplicate your image layer

Photoshop CS Tutorial

Step4. Click on your new layer then edit>transform>flip vertical

Photoshop CS Tutorial

Step5. Position it very carefully so it looks most like a reflection of the building as shown on this image below. You can shunt it up and down with the arrow keys to get its position pixels-perfect.

Photoshop CS Tutorial

Step6. Go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur. We’re looking to create the softening, stretching effect characteristic of reflections in large, slightly rippling bodies of water.

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Step7. Go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur. No we need direction of the blur to be at right-angles to the Horizon, so set Angle to 90 degrees and move the Distance bar, experimenting with various values until you like what you see in the previews.

Photoshop CS Tutorial

Step8. Go to Filter>Distort>Ripple. By moving the slider we can select the degree of wave movement on the surface of our lake. Aim to create the effect of a light breeze, so keep the waves Medium sized and don’t go overboard on the amount of ripple.

Photoshop CS Tutorial

Step9. Change the perspective a bit by edit>transform>perspective

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The reason of doing this is that Real water has an effect on an object’s perspective. Reflections tend to spread slightly when they hit the water, so we’ll try and recreate this in our Parliament image.

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Step10. Let’s apply some more motion blur to make that water look even more realistic, but this time, we’ll make it parallel to the horizon. Again, be subtle to make it as effective as possible.

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Step11. Now we’re going to boost the blues by adjusting the appropriate slider in the color balance window (image>adjustments>color balance)

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You’re done!

Here’s my final image:

Photoshop CS Tutorial

22 Responses to “Creating Reflection with Photoshop”

  1. yasserxp says:

    iam sorry i think that there is one page only
    iam sorry man
    thanks for this lesson

  2. trevor from oz says:

    i’m sorry, but there’s no water directly in front of our parliament house.

  3. Looie says:

    So? They’re only using it as an example. Thanks for the guide.

  4. koolkain says:

    not enough detail. Bad tutorial

  5. Nakagawa says:

    no way.. i was looking for a basic reflection like this for some of my Anime backgrounds, and this effect is great!. domo arigato.


  6. Patty Adams says:

    I liked it. Very useful.

  7. abelfattah Chekroun says:

    thank you very much for this tutorial,
    the image , object to this tutorial ,has a horizontal basis;wich makes it easy
    to clone a reflection
    the problematic situation such as a man standing on a any surface that needs reflection is not such easy , please try to make a tutorial with
    such an image

  8. nihal says:

    nice article ,,,,,,,,,,, but i want to know reflection 45 angle images.

  9. davnenko says:

    Nice tutorial article – I always wanted to create something like this. But the thing is that it’s better not to make the reflection so blurry. It will much better if you put little bit of opacity to your reflection, let’s say 57%.

  10. joe bloggs says:

    I’m also trying to figure out how to create a reflection of an object that is sitting at an angle… can’t simply invert image. E.G. a bike standing in water, with front wheel closer to camera than rear wheel. Flipping image won’t do it.

  11. xxx says:

    you bad boy. this is good tutorial

  12. Ashish says:

    Heyy bro thnxx alot for publishing this nice tut…no words for thnxxx……carry on for new babies..;-)

  13. AWESOME is all I can say. This is one of the best CS2 tutorials I’ve seen. Hooked up a FAT ship in 10 mins (the time it took to follow your instructions). Thanks for the great post!

  14. sam says:

    excellent tutorial – precisely what i was looking for ..

  15. Rob Wallace says:

    SEM sez I liked the finesse of the motion blur part and I never knew about the perspective tool. So waht if I didn’t — bite me you effetist CS snobs.

    So all in all it was a good tutorial, I picked the wrong image it was oriented hroizontal. Sucked.

  16. Najwa says:

    It helps me a lot in my digital assignment for a new user for Photoshop like me. Thank you very much.

  17. brian says:

    Worked beautifully for a quick project. Thanks!.

  18. corkytoadhall says:

    Good project, I think you have overdone it a little with the end blur but still a good tutorial. Thanks.

  19. ThierryD says:

    In the link below
    you can see a tutorial for water reflexion with photoshop with real water.
    It is a good completion for this tutorial

  20. cardbaba says:

    great tutorial…thank you for sharing!!!

  21. Andre says:

    Photoshop classes were fun in college, but I didn’t retain much. This was very helpful in regards to the things that I’m trying to do.

    Thanks again!

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