ugaldew's blog

Make Reflections

posted by ugaldew, Jun 6, 2006 4:32 AM — 55 comments

Hi SXCers and guests : In today's trick we will learn an easy way to create reflections , that will give our stock some more credits and make it more selling, for this tutorial you will need Photoshop and do not worry if you are a PS newbie , the visual steps will guide you step by step

This is the effect we want to achieve at the end of the practice



Winter 1 by Pivo at SXC

So Lets Get Started !!!

>> Step 1
Open , Select desired reflected area and Copy

Open Your image

Select the desired reflected area use your favorite tool for the kind of selection you will do Rectangle , polygonal lasso etc

Then copy and paste the selection ( pressing Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V ) or using the menu (edit / copy ) and ( edit / paste ) Now the image will be duplicated in a new layer called “layer 1”

>> Step 2
Flip Vertical and Move

In this step we have to make a flip vertical transform so go to ( edit / transform / flip vertical )

Then move the object to the bottom of your reflected object If you press Shift it will help to make a vertical movement , so it matches better

>> Step 3
Reduce reflection height (transform)

To create a realistic effect we have reduce the reflection height only the height so we need to press Ctrl+T or in the menu ( edit / transform / scale ) and drag the middle adjustment point in the bottom to the top ( see the image below )

>> Step 4
Add a mask and a b/w Gradient

First add a mask layer in the layer of our reflection (layer 1) . To add it , just click the (add mask layer) button in the bottom of the layers palette

Now we have to trace a gradient that will cover our reflected object
So lets select the gradient tool and make sure the gradient goes from black to white

Now Apply the gradient . the start point will be a bit lower then bottom of our object and the end point a little bit further than the top of it

The reflection should look like these

>> Step 4
Reduce opacity

This is the last step our technique , just to add a more realistic effect we have to reduce the opacity a bit
In the layers palette select the layer of our reflection (layer 1) and click the opacity button and and drag the opacity’s slider to the left until you get the desired effect

And that was all

Mine ended up like this :

TIP : To have an even better effect add some Gaussian blur to the reflection’s layer

This refelction can be applied in white , black or more elaborated backgrounds with great results and it is prety cool cause in some cases it gives the effect of glass and it will make look our stock very classy and better selling

have a happy practice I hope you can easily apply this trick , and that you have enjoyed as much as I did writing it , please feel free to ask anything in this weblog's comments or write an email to if you have more doubts or comments about this tutorial

Miguel Ugalde Ugaldew

Comments | RSS

1. posted by Kiet9, Nov 24, 2009 7:42 PM

Thanks for your information :)

Marie Curie scientist website:

2. posted by Mosselman, Jul 14, 2006 3:35 PM


That should have been.

3. posted by Mosselman, Jul 14, 2006 2:57 PM

You are all wrong, it actually would reflect like that (the laptop that is, not the envelope that is wrong). Just put ur laptop on a mirror and look at it from the front, you will get the same reflection.

Reflection works like this:
O: Original
R: Reflection
====: Mirror

Still doesnt take away the fact that its a great effect, but for someone with clients (thenss) you should have more insight in the way photos and images work, not to mention real-life objects.

4. posted by knedlicek, Sep 2, 2006 5:14 PM

Good work! Thank you

5. posted by saxasrules, Jul 15, 2006 11:05 AM

thanx dude

6. posted by staz, Jun 6, 2006 2:51 PM

But, its wrong?

The shaddow on you object indecades that it lays down, and therefore there cant be a refelections in that direction.

7. posted by ugaldew, Jun 6, 2006 7:15 PM

Yes!!! LOL thats right , !Also the computer woudnt give that reflection , but you would be surpriced on how many designers use this technique and how many people doest think too much about it !

But I tell you that in many cases it is a very good selling technique for stock

8. posted by thenss, Jun 6, 2006 11:21 PM

I use reflections a lot and most of the time they are unrealistic.

the clients eat it up....

9. posted by hackenet, Jun 8, 2006 3:00 AM

cool, i'll try it.

10. posted by rrss, Jun 9, 2006 12:34 AM

@1,2,3 - Yep absolutely you can spot the same effect on bill-boards all round the world.

95% (if not more) of the poplulation don't notice and just think "cool, think I'll buy that".

Great tutorial.

11. posted by rrss, Jun 9, 2006 12:36 AM

An additional step to make it a little more realistic is to use photoshop 'perspective transform' tool to a little perspective to the reflection. (i.e. make the bottom of the reflection slightly wider than the object.

12. posted by hilaryaq, Jun 10, 2006 9:27 PM

Very nice Miguel! You should make a book, or a site with all of these, they're so useful!!!!

13. posted by Zela, Jun 19, 2006 10:29 PM

Great tutorials! I will certainly try those out.

14. posted by robapollo, Jun 27, 2006 9:33 PM

muy bien, miguel.
Gracias por hacer estos posts que nos ayudan a todos los principiantes en PS jejeje

15. posted by Manthy, Jun 23, 2006 3:50 PM

veeeeeery cool!chears

16. posted by lumix2004, Jun 24, 2006 2:30 PM

Very nicely done and easy to follow, Miguel. Inspiring! Thanks for sharing, too!

17. posted by ms_nina, Jul 19, 2006 11:01 PM

Hola Miguel!
He visto esta y otras tutorias y me gustan mucho, por que para mi al menos estan muy claras. Gracias y ojala sigas con tu trabajo.

18. posted by hilaryaq, Jul 22, 2006 1:57 AM

I've been approving photos with this effect, so people really are doing your tutorial Miguel! Well done, and thanks!

19. posted by jbyarssr, Jul 22, 2006 6:15 AM


20. posted by jpriest, Jul 24, 2006 11:44 AM

Unrealistic :o(

21. posted by otonyel, Jul 28, 2006 4:04 PM

muito bom! Very good!

22. posted by dfr3sh20, Jul 28, 2006 8:27 PM

Great tutorial, Miguel! Everyone's criticizing the accuracy of your envelope placement, but they are forgetting that the point of a tutorial is to teach. Way to show us how to do it.

23. posted by yakupnun, Aug 2, 2006 12:24 PM


24. posted by esouth, Aug 3, 2006 10:29 AM

Thanks for this great tutorial. I used it to teach my Adobe User Group. Here is my attempt: ook.jpg

25. posted by JDesigns14, Aug 6, 2006 2:12 AM

It's a great effect, but get real, the example you used was so not right for the tutorial, when I saw the laptop example, I got pretty excited, because it was a great example and a pic that is perfect to use the effect on, but the envolope is just weird.
I agree with the second and third comment though, nice tutorial!

26. posted by Slantsixx, Aug 7, 2006 6:03 PM

Excellent post!

27. posted by galus, Aug 8, 2006 6:35 AM

seems not like reality,maybe it`s a envlope latter, could`t had been standed on the desk.

28. posted by donjory, Sep 2, 2006 8:56 AM

Excellent, very helpful.

29. posted by freska, Sep 11, 2006 1:50 PM

The laptop reflection is technically wrong as well. You wouldnt be able to see the keyboard surface (or any other upward facing surfaces) in the reflection. How can light get from the back of the keyboard down to the reflecting surface and back to your eye?

A quick and dirty way to get a reflection, but anyone who knows about lighting would see straight through it.

30. posted by robcode, Sep 23, 2006 10:54 PM

so serious some of these people. honestly..cheers duck it were great quick fix.

31. posted by bmcvn, Oct 21, 2009 11:59 AM

Yeh, It may not be very realistic with the reflection but man look at car ads or new stereo product ads they all use it. It is glossy and shiny and a very easy way to make money off of even if it is used thousands of times. Heck if it works use it. Unless you are a designer or photographer, nobody will notice a thing. Unless you just do a really bad job at it. Than you should think of another career path.

32. posted by malenaisa, Oct 31, 2006 3:15 PM

chevere, pero ahi nomas, eso si, se supone que el tipo de brillo variaria dependiendo de la superficie reflectiva, en este csao estaria en el aire, lo cual esta bien.

33. posted by scarica, Nov 5, 2006 10:40 AM

bello, grazie

34. posted by blei, Nov 7, 2006 9:02 AM

Multumesc. Extraordinar de usor!

35. posted by g_lady, Nov 20, 2006 7:58 AM

t y

36. posted by IronHeel, Nov 30, 2006 3:47 PM

Great stuff, I reflected a face in a toilet bowl from a head looking through the seat, it was ok as an image but all wrong; I wish I`d had your tips then.

37. posted by Vattycj, Dec 6, 2006 3:23 AM

I'm kinda confused by the effect of the envelope me, it seems like the envelope is elevated(the reflection would still be wrong), but others are saying it means the envelope is lying down. ?? (it's probally my consumer eyes :P)

Great tutorial! Since this(and your shadow one) is directed at people who aren't as experienced, too, maybe you should add a note that taking in the surroundings and where the light source is, etc. allows for a more realistic effect?

38. posted by gpollard, Dec 23, 2006 4:12 AM

I love the way this effect looks. Thanks for the tutorial.

39. posted by dAmnMeyra, Jan 15, 2007 1:31 PM

Great tutorial, from you I've finally learned the reflections trick!

Thank You :)

40. posted by nano_dino, Jan 20, 2007 2:01 AM

Thanks for the great tutorial. Very nice tutorial for newbe like me. Keep it on...
Thanks :)

41. posted by t-florie, Jan 22, 2007 11:00 AM

I think the reflection effect is a little passé, and people should be really carefull when to use it, when they do webdesign for an example..

Macintosh use it quite often, and in some ways it fits to their products, but I just dont find that effect cool anymore, and my clients dont get it either. The effect were cool a couple of years ago, but not anymore. Time has changed

42. posted by visay, Feb 6, 2007 12:07 PM

I know your situation t-florie. To satify your client, you need creative rather than just effect. This tutorial only gives you a way to make thing look smart or something else. you may need to find other creative tutorial to satify yourself. Good luck :).

Anyway , Thanks for your tutorial ugaldew.
keep going on.....

43. posted by styledept, Apr 4, 2007 11:21 PM

The shadow of the envelope is not right. It must be flat like a pancake. At least 2 third of the envelope.

44. posted by lapsea, May 15, 2007 7:26 AM


45. posted by madmandie, May 24, 2007 2:46 AM

Thanks for the lesson..
Im a total newbie and its great to be able to see and understand the basic explanation.

The way I see it is the envelope is just an EXAMPLE because it is EASY and a BASIC shape...

For people that have clients etc have forgotten that they were once newbies as well..

Thanks for taking the time and effort..

46. posted by kriku, Jul 11, 2007 11:43 AM

Thank you very much.
This is very effective.

I hope you can help us by more lessons.

47. posted by WEBDSNR, Sep 12, 2007 4:19 PM

Yeh, It may not be very realistic with the reflection but man look at car ads or new stereo product ads they all use it. It is glossy and shiny and a very easy way to make money off of even if it is used thousands of times. Heck if it works use it. Unless you are a designer or photographer, nobody will notice a thing. Unless you just do a really bad job at it. Than you should think of another career path.

48. posted by MichaelAsh, Sep 14, 2007 6:23 AM

those reflections would never happen in the real world.

It frustrates me the amount of unreal reflections that amateur 'designers' use.

These example reflections look like crap!

49. posted by sxchuman, Sep 20, 2007 2:08 PM


50. posted by nemesis26, Oct 17, 2007 12:13 PM

Totally wrong!
Study physic!!!!

51. posted by jarasangel, Dec 10, 2008 1:33 AM

Great tut, thanks! I'm going to give it a try.

52. posted by moonysea, Jan 29, 2009 11:50 AM

ur tuts r the best!

53. posted by surfit, Mar 26, 2009 5:24 PM

Great. I am going to use it for

54. posted by trainer2, May 31, 2013 9:03 AM

Looks like it would fun to try.

55. posted by trainer2, May 31, 2013 9:07 AM

Simple and very effective :D


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