Ever wanted to know how to make a reflection effect like the one in my header, in Photoshop?

There are several ways to achieve this, and I’m going to show you the one I use. The easiest one in my opinion. For this example, I will be reflecting text, much like in my header, but you can of course use any graphics.

You might have noticed how the reflection effect is more or less a gradient. In fact, in my example I could have achieved the desired effect by using a gradient going from black to transparent. Often though, you want the fade to be transparent, not black. That is, what you really want is a gradient that erases instead of painting over.

1Startingpoint

I started out with my image in Photoshop, and made sure the text was on a separate layer.

2Flipped

Next I made a duplicate of the text layer (Layer -> Duplicate Layer). I then flipped this layer vertically (Edit -> Transform -> Flip Vertical), and moved the duplicate layer right below the original text. Also I made sure to rasterize the copy (Layer -> Rasterize -> Layer).

3Selection

The third step was to create a selection around the flipped layer. The selection should cover all the text, and then some. At the top of the text, the selection should preferably follow the edge.

4Feathered

Now the fun part. The “secret” in my recipe is Feather. I go into Select -> Modify -> Feather… The radius I set here determines how tall the reflection will be in my example. I used a Feather Radius of 5 pixels. Notice how the selection gets rounded corners to indicate the radius. Feather is sort of like a blur filter, for selections.

5Finished

Then just hit delete, and that’s it! Pretty much the effect I wanted.

6Trulytransparent

And just to prove it really is transparent…

This is not meant as a definitive answer, but more of a starting point. You will probably get a decent result if you follow my instructions, but play around a bit with the selection size and the feather radius. And as with any fancy effect, don’t overuse it 😉 Happy reflecting!

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4 Responses to “Reflections in Photoshop”  

  1. 1 Joe Jacobs

    Very nice touch at the end.
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    I meant the feather thing. 😉

  2. 2 Andreas

    Yeah, it’s a powerful effect 😉 The feather.

  3. 3 Teddy

    Good tutorial Andreas 🙂 I actually do my reflections with a layer mask and using the gradient tool. I feel that I have more control over the reflection depth.

  4. 4 Andreas

    Thanks Teddy. I actually used the technique you mention on my header right here, but when I later discovered the use of Feather, it seemed simpler.


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