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Add pizzazz to your photo by faking a reflection

Added on Monday 6th of September 2010 04:36 am EST


Adobe Photoshop CS2/CS3/CS4/CS5

Operating Systems:

Macintosh, Microsoft Windows


When shooting a photo, capturing the reflection as well as the reflective object can be a challenge. We’ll show you how to eliminate the hard work of capturing the reflection with your camera by adding your own reflection using Photoshop.


To create an image reflection, we’ll:

     Select a photo that lends itself the addition of a reflection.

     Duplicate the reflective object and position it accurately on the reflective surface.

     Remove any parts that shouldn’t be visible on the reflective surface for greater realism.

     Alter the opacity and blend mode of the duplicate to provide the reflection with transparency.


One of the greatest benefits of Photoshop is the ability to add objects to photos that weren’t there at the time of the shoot—such as clouds to skies, grass to lawns, and leaves to trees. Another great benefit of Photoshop is the ability to add surface treatments to photographs that were either impossible to achieve at the time of the shot, or not thought of until well after the fact. Shadows, ripples, and reflections are all examples of treatments that can add a little pizzazz to an otherwise less-than-awesome image. We’ll show you how adding a reflection can produce extra visual interest in almost any image.


Find a photo to enhance with a reflection

We’ll create the reflection in Figure A by duplicating a portion of the original, then altering the opacity and blend mode of the copy. To follow along, download the file from the URL given at the beginning of this article, extract the file parrot.jpg,  launch Photoshop, and open the image shown in Figure B. (Images provided by PhotoSpin. Some images modified for educational purposes.)




Looking at the photo, you’ll notice that the parrot in front of the window lacks a reflection, making it a welcome addition to the photo. To create this reflective visual feature, let’s begin by adding another parrot.


To duplicate the perched parrot:

1.       Select the Magnetic Lasso tool from the Tools panel.

2.      Set the Feather value to 5 px on the tool Options bar.

3.      Click on the edge of...


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