Stock images for this tutorial
Full Size Screenshots
An easy way to add surface texture is to grab it from another image. A photo that shows the surface of a lake or ocean will work well for this tutorial. Once the sampled image is desaturated and blended with the reflection, it turns a glassy surface into a realistic reflection.
This tutorial turns a lawn into an undulating lake. In the real world, creating exactly the image you want usually requires the application of more than one effect, so let’s start by enhancing the colors in the original photo.
The image we’ll use in this tutorial is perfect for this kind of project. The building makes a dramatic focal point, and the grassy area in front is large enough to provide space for the lake. However, the color of the bricks could be more intense, so you’ll increase the color saturation before reflecting the image of the building. If the image you choose needs similar tweaks, it’s best to handle them now.
- First, auto-adjust the Levels histogram. Open the Levels dialog (ColorsLevels) and click the Auto button, then click OK to close the dialog.
- Next, open the Hue-Saturation dialog (ColorsHue-Saturation). Click the R button just below the red box at the top of the dialog so we only adjust the red colors in the image. Then increase the Saturation [image below shows “Lightness” at 75 – OK? The image is incorrect – Saturation should be set to 75. I'll provide an updated image.]to 75 to bring out the details in the building.
- Finally, open the Brightness-Contrast dialog (ColorsBrightness-Contrast) and set the Brightness to 30 and the Contrast to 25.
Creating the Initial Reflection
- Make a square selection around the subject—in this case, the building. Also, include some of the grassy area in front of the building. The selection covers from the top of the image to just below where the grass lawn meets the building. Copy the selection and paste it into a new layer, then click the layer name and change it to Reflection.
- Select the Flip tool from the toolbox. In the Tool Options dialog set the Flip Type to Vertical and click the canvas to flip the layer.
- Use the Move tool to drag the Reflection layer down on the canvas. If the Reflection layer does not span the width of the canvas, select the Scale tool, then click the canvas to scale the layer manually.
- To look realistic, the reflected image should be more blurred and less saturated than the original. Open the Hue-Saturation dialog (ColorsHue-Saturation) andclick the Master button. Reduce the Saturation level to –45 for this image (your project may require different settings).
- Open the Ripple filter (FiltersDistortsRipple). Set the Orientation to Vertical, the Edges to Smear, the Period to 60, and the Amplitude to 2, then apply this filter to the Reflection layer. Repeat this process with the Ripple filter once more, this time setting the Orientation to Horizontal, the Period to 7, and the Amplitude to 5. Applying the Ripple filter twice applies ripples to ripples, just as waves in water cause interference patterns.
- Open the Gaussian Blur filter (FiltersBlurGaussian Blur). Set both the Horizontal and Vertical Blur Radius to 10 pixels and apply the blur to the Reflection layer.
- Duplicate the layer (LayerDuplicate Layer). Name the layer Color.
- Click the foreground color box to open the Change Foreground Color dialog. For the dark blue shown here, set the RGB values to 5/24/83 and click OK. Then drag the foreground color into the layer. Finally, move the layer below the original Reflection layer and reduce the Opacity of the Reflection layer to 80 percent.
The Ripple filter makes the lake’s surface somewhat more realistic, but adding waves would improve the texture even more. To add waves, you can grab a selection from another photo.
- Make a selection in a photo of real water waves, then copy and paste it into a new layer named Water in the original project images. Use the Scale tool to scale the layer as necessary.
- Desaturate the Water layer (ColorsDesaturate).
- Open the Brightness-Contrast dialog (ColorsBrightness-Contrast) and set both sliders to 70. This will enhance the waves for use as a bump map. Turn off the visibility of the Water layer in the Layers dialog.
- Click on the Reflection layer in the Layers dialog to make it active.
- Open the Bump Map filter (FiltersMapBump Map). Set Bump Map to the Water layer, the Azimuth to 145, the Elevation to 20 and the Depth to 3. Click OK to apply this to the Reflection layer.
This particular image lends itself well to further enhancement. The high contrast between the building and the sky allows you to make changes to the weather, perhaps even changing a sunny day into a starlit evening. Try converting this image to a nighttime scene. The Fuzzy Select tool can be used to capture most of the sky, and what is missed can be picked up easily using the Quick Mask. But be warned: The lake reflection will need to be changed too!