photoshop creative

Create digital reflections

Posted in:
General, by The Photoshop Creative Team
August 31, 2011

Dust off the Displace filter and generate realistic water ripples

It can be very annoying taking photos of reflections. You may envisage the scene you want to capture; a beautiful, calm mirror image, but visualising and actually photographing something are unfortunately two very different things. Luckily for us, we can fake reflections using Photoshop. In issue 78, we show how to create a water ripple texture that can be used with the Displace filter to achieve a convincing reflection in water. This texture can then be saved and reused in your future reflective projects.

The guide can be broken down into two parts to build the perfect image of a landscape reflected in water. The first will investigate how to create the water texture and the second will show how we can use this to make the reflection. The water texture is made using a combination of the Noise, Bas Relief and Motion Blur filters. The Noise filter creates random pixels while the Bas Relief evokes the texture of waves and fluid movement. We smooth the texture out slightly using the Motion Blur filter and to finish it off the texture is given some perspective using the Crop tool.