In this photoshop tutorial, we will learn how to create a realistic water reflection to a photograph in Photoshop. If you want to create a reflection on graphics or text, see this tutorial instead.

Here you can see the preview of the final result.

This is a guest post by Simone Sala


The very first thing you have to do is to open the image you want to modify in Photoshop. Then go to “Image”, click on “Canvas Size” and double the “Height”. Make sure you choose the top as the anchor point.
(Note: You can also use the crop tool and crop the image larger than the canvas size)

Thus, we have created the space for the reflection.


We’ll begin constructing the reflection in this stage. Make a copy of the previous layer and name it “Reflection” by pressing CMD/Ctrl+J. Click “Edit>Transform>flip Horizontal” after that.


Now, we’ll create some blur. Filter>Blur>Motion Blur. Set the angle to 90° and the distance to 30 pixels.


Choose the “Smudge Tool” and adjust the “Smudge Tool”‘s settings to 150 pixels in width, 0 for hardness, and 20% for strength. Create some surface irregularity resembling that of water using this tool.
I advise you to play about with the settings to find the one you like the most.


It’s time to make the waves in the water.
Make a new layer now and fill it with white. Select Add Noise under Filter > Noise.
400% as the amount, with Gaussian as the “distribution” and “Monocromatic” checked.


Select Motion Blur under Filter>Blur. Set the distance to 40 pixels and the angle to 0 degrees.
We’ll now adjust the contrast. In order to use the following values, press Ctrl + L.

Black input: 147
153 midtones
White input: 219


We’ll work on the perspective to give the waves a more realistic appearance.
Therefore, select “Edit,” “Transform,” and then “Perspective.” Simply drag the corner out of the bottom left or right corner. Drag in a top corner while doing the same.
You ought to see this outcome.


Go to “Filter”, “Blur” and Gaussian “Blur”: set the Radius to 3 pixels.
Now set the layer opacity to 30% and the blend mode to Soft Light.


duplicate the layer before it.
To invert the colours, press Ctrl + I. Set the level’s blend mode to Overlay and its opacity to 25%.
Do not forget to place these two layers between the “Reflection” layer and the one containing the original image.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *