A Little Exercise In Reflections

Posted By Tom S

Date: 12/30/2002 7:14:32AM

I posted this on the PF as a gag, but it might be more interesting here as an example of creating reflections where they didn’t exist in the original shot.

It might seem at first that it’s just a matter of taking the inserted (watch) image, flipping it vertically, and once placed below the original, just decreasing the opacity and adding a little blur.

Not that simple, though. This image takes a minimum of five layers in Photoshop. Here’s why: One layer is the original photograph. One layer is the watch you are inserting. But it takes three layers to do the refection watch. That’s because when you decrease the opacity, you begin to see the existing reflections through the watch. Not so good. So what you need is an underlying layer that will block the underlying reflections. Make sense?

But it can’t be white, because that will make the watch too bright as the opacity decreases on the reflection watch. It can’t be black, because that will make it too dark. The answer? You need both. Marquee the reflection watch, make a new layer, and fill that selection with 100% white. Don’t get rid of the selection marquee yet. Now make another layer, and fill the selection area with black. Now make sure the order is this: Original photo (of course) under the white-filled selection, under the black-filled selection, under the reflection watch. Now adjust the opacity down on the reflection watch layer. It will start to get too dark because of the underlying black-filled layer. But when you reduce the opacity on THE BLACK layer, you can get the exact level you need. If you didn’t have the white layer under the black layer, you would begin to once again see the original reflections in the original shot.

There. Simple, huh? Hey, you gettin’ this?



*Content and photos used with permission from the Author*