Photoshop CC Tutorial:  Best Technique to Create Realistic Water Reflections

Photoshop CC Tutorial: Best Technique to Create Realistic Water Reflections

Hi.

This is Marty from Blue Lightning TV.

I'm going to show you what I think is the most realistic way to create water reflections from scratch.

This is an update of tutorials I've done onearlier versions of Photoshop.

Open a photo you'd like to use for this project.

I downloaded this one from Shutterstock.

The first step is to check its resolution.

Go to Image and Image Size.

To ensure that your results will look similarto mine, make its resolution 150 pixels per inch.

Then, click OK or press Enter or Return.

We'll convert our photo into a Smart Object,so we can modify it non-destructively.

To do this, click the icon at the upper, right of the Layers panel and click "Convert to Smart Object".

Go to Image and Canvas Size.

Click the top, middle arrow.

This will keep our photo flush with the topof our document.

Change the measurement to "Percent" and inthe Height field, type in 200.

Then, change the measurement back to Pixels.

Note that your photo’s width and heightwill most likely be different than mine.

Jot down the amounts you see in yours.

We'll be referring to them later.

Notice, our document is now twice as high as the photo.

We'll make a copy of it by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + J.

Go to View and make sure "Snap" is checked.

If it isn't, just click it.

Press Ctrl or Cmd + T to open your Transform Tool.

Go to the top, middle of the Transform andwhen you see a vertical, double-arrow, drag it straight down until it snaps to the bottomof your document.

It'll snap in place because we have Snap checked.

Then, press Enter or Return.

Drag the top layer below the other layer.

Name it “Reflection” and name the top layer, “Photo”.

Make the Reflection layer active and go toFilter, Blur and Motion Blur.

Make the Angle”": 90 degrees and the Distance: 10 pixels.

Then, click OK or press Enter or Return.

Click the eyeball icon next to the Reflectionto hide the layer.

We’re going to make a new layer below it.

Ctrl-click or Cmd-click the New Layer icon.

Name the new layer, “Water”.

We’ll fill it with a muted blue color.

Press Shift + the F5 key at the top of yourkeyboard to open the Fill window.

Open the fly-out list and click “Color”.

Pick a muted blue.

I already picked the color I want.

If you’d like to use this color, its hexadecimalnumbers and letters are 296FB7.

Then, press Enter or Return twice to acceptand close both windows.

Make the Reflection layer visible again.

We want to make the reflection have no bluron the bottom and gradually become blurry as it gets closer to the shore.

To do this, click the Motion Blur’s layermask to make it active and open your Gradient Tool.

Make sure your Linear Gradient is active.

Open the Gradient thumbnails and clickthe Black to Transparent thumbnail.

Go to the bottom of your image and press andhold Shift as you drag the Gradient Tool straight up to the top of the reflection.

Then, release.

Pressing Shift kept the tool perfectly verticalas you dragged it up.

Next, we’ll reveal the blue color as itgradually disappears as it gets closer to the top of the reflection.

Make the reflection layer active and clickthe Layer Mask icon to make a layer mask next to it.

Once again, drag the Gradient tool from thebottom to the top of the reflection.

Shift-click the thumbnail of the Water layerto make it active, as well, and convert the 2 active layers into one Smart Object.

We're ready to make a displacement map, which will create water ripples and reflection distortions on the water.

Go to File and New.

Make the Width, Height and Resolution thesame as the amounts you jotted down earlier.

Then, click OK or press Enter or Return.

We want the foreground and background colorsto be black and white, respectively.

Either press "D" on your keyboard or click this icon.

Go to Filter, Noise and Add Noise.

Make the Amount 400%, Gaussian and Monochromatic.

Go back to Filter, Blur and Gaussian Blur.

Make the Radius 2 pixels.

Open your Channels panel.

If you don't see it, go to Window and Channels.

Click the thumbnail of the Red channel tomake it active.

Go to Filter, Stylize and Emboss.

Make the Angle: 90 degrees, the Height: 1pixel and the Amount 500%.

Click the thumbnail of the Green channel tomake it active.

Go back to Filter, Stylize and Emboss.

Change the Angle to 180 degrees.

Click the thumbnail of the RGB channel tomake all the channels active and open back your Layers panel.

We're going to warp our image and need a lotof room to do it.

Open your Navigator panel.

If you don't see it, go to WIndow and Navigator.

Drag the slider to the left to zoom out untilyour image approximately this size.

Click the lock icon to unlock the layer.

Unlocking the layer allows us to transform it.

Go to Edit, Transform and Perspective.

Go to a bottom corner of the Transform anddrag it out approximately this much.

I dragged the bottom out 1500%.

To accept it, press Enter or Return.

Open your Transform Tool again and this time,go to the top, middle anchor point and drag it down until it snaps to the center.

Then, press Enter or Return.

To fit it back onto your canvas, press Ctrl or Cmd + 0.

Go to File and "Save As".

Save it to your Desktop and name it, "Displacement Map".

Save it as a PSD file.

Then, click "Save".

If you see this message, just click OK.

Open back your reflection image and go toFilter, Distort and Displace.

Make the Horizontal Scale: 30 and the Vertical Scale: 60.

Tick “Stretch to Fit” and “Repeat Edge Pixels”.

Click the "Displacement Map" PSD file and click "Open".

Instantly, our water reflection took on natural-lookingripples and reflection distortions made from the displacement map we created.

To hide unwanted areas of the distortion alongthe shoreline, open your Transform Tool.

If you see this message, it's just tellingus that the displacement effect will be temporarily turned off as we use the Transform Tool.

Just click, "OK".

Go to the top, middle anchor point and dragit up a little.

Then, press Enter or Return.

Notice, the unwanted areas along the shorelineare now hidden.

To fill in the slightly transparent ripplesthat you may see at the bottom of your image, press Ctrl or Cmd + J to make a copy of the layer.

Lastly, we'll add a little depth along the shoreline.

Make the top layer active and click the NewLayer icon to make a new layer above it.

Open your Rectangular Marquee Tool and drag a selection to the other side approximately this wide, centered from the shoreline.

Go to Select, Modify and Feather.

Feather it 20 pixels and press Enter or Return.

We'll fill the selection with black and sinceblack is our foreground color, press Alt or Option + Delete.

Then, deselect it by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + D.

Change the Blend Mode to "Soft Light" and reduce its opacity to 80%.

This is Marty from Blue Lightning TV.

Thanks for watching!.

Source: Youtube