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by Wendi Elizabeth Martha Scarth


Object Reflections
Adobe Photoshop


Create Graduated Reflections From Objects
Suitable for Adobe Photoshop CS, CS2, CS3, CS4, CS5, CS6 & CC
Skill Level - Intermediate Plus

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This tutorial demonstrates how to create reflections from photographic objects. To work along you will find the bottle/glass image HereUnzip the file and open the image onto Photoshop’s workspace ready to utilise. 

Understanding Masks
Understanding Layers
Understand The Workspace And Palettes

Images will always react uniquely; therefore, for personal reflections - experiment with all settings I mention in this tutorial.

Undo and Navigation Steps
Two ways of undoing steps are from the top menu, Edit then Step Backwards. Alternatively, click a previous snapshot in the History Palette.

Navigate (zoom in and pan) your image using the Navigator Palette,

or the Zoom Tool.

Activate The Hand Tool by tapping the Spacebar, keeping the Spacebar pressed, pan your image in the usual way.

Open your choice of Start Image onto Photoshop’s workspace, and enlarge it by
double-left-clicking its upper menu bar. Or by left-clicking and dragging out one of its corners.

If necessary, enlarge the lower (reflection) area with the Crop Tool.

(Isolate your image with a Crop Bounding Box: then enlarge the bounding box by tugging the tiny outer handles that are attached to the large Bounding Box. This in turn, enlarges your image).

Now, isolate the object - or objects, with your choice of tool; for example,
The Pen Tool, The Polygonal Lasso Tool or The Magnetic Lasso Tool - I am utilising the Polygonal Lasso Tool with a Feather of 0. After you have completed this step, your object will be isolated with a moving selection marquee - and you are ready for the next step.

If you plan to place the glass and bottle onto a coloured background: after you have first surrounded the outer contours with a Selection Marquee - click the following Subtract from selection icon in the Polygonal Lasso Tool’s Options Bar.

Now apply a Selection Marquee inside the space, highlighted below.

(Remember to include the area between the two objects, as this ensures a clean copy - next chapter).

Now you have isolated your object with a moving Selection Marquee, press your Keyboard’s Ctrl key, then press the letter J. This copies the isolated object, as a New Layer in the Layers palette, and it will be named Layer 1. (The Selection Marquee will no longer be visible because it is applied to the lower Layer).

From the top menu, choose Edit then choose Transform then choose Flip Vertical.
The duplicated object will be flipped upside down - as illustrated below.

Activate the Move Tool , and reposition the duplicated object to form a reflection.

Now, working with the duplicated Layer (Layer 1) - lower it’s Layer Opacity to around


Working on Layer 1 - from the top menu, choose Filter then choose Blur then choose Motion Blur. In the subsequent Motion Blur dialogue box, set the following attributes, then click OK. This fades the reflection further.

If you are happy with the reflection’s appearance, proceed to
Chapter 15 to save your
work. To apply a graduated fade to the reflection, continue with
Chapter 8 - next chapter.

Press your keyboard’s D key to set the Default Foreground and Background Colours.

Then from the Tools Toolbar, activate the Gradient Tool.

Navigate to then left-click Reset Gradients - and click OK to the “Replace Gradients?” prompt. Now, double-left-click to set the Foreground to Background gradient (black to white) - as illustrated below. Note: Ensure the gradient direction is Linear Gradient.

Working on Layer 1 - activate the following Edit in Quick Mask Mode.

Your Gradient Tool remains active; therefore, (working with Layer 1), press (and hold) the Shift key, then left-click, and drag a gradient line upwards - as illustrated below. Stop when you reach the bottom of the object - then release your mouse button.

Upon release of the mouse button, a (red) mask will be applied over the upper object, as illustrated below.

The red
mask protects the upper object from any changes.

Now, still working on Layer 1 - from the top menu, choose Image then choose Adjustments then choose Brightness and Contrast. In the subsequent dialogue box, set the following Brightness and Contrast attributes, then click OK

Then click the following Edit in standard Mode button - found at the foot of the

And a Selection Marquee will isolate the unmasked area of your image.

Now, press your Delete key, and the bottom half of the reflection will fade - as illustrated below. Note: The Black to White gradient has caused a graduated to fade.

Then press Ctrl then D to remove the Selection Marquee: (Select then Deselect).

Then from the top menu, choose Layer then choose Flatten Image.

your work is complete, and is now ready to save.

Notes For Angled Reflections
When working with angled objects, first isolate them with a Selection Marquee, as usual.

Then Press Ctrl then J to copy the object as a new layer - then Flip Vertical the copied reflection - exactly as you did with the straight object. 

Now, from the top menu, choose View then choose Fit to screenNote: ensure you can see the image’s grey workspace, before you proceed. 

Then from the top menu, choose Edit then choose Transform then choose Rotate - and a deformation box will immediately surround your reflection.

Now, working with both the Move Tool, and the Free Transform command, rotate and position the reflection so it is beneath the object. This can take a little practise. Complete the change by pressing the Enter key of your keyboard. Then continue as you did with the straight object - demonstrated back in
Chapter 6.


Wendi E M Scarth. 
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