How to Create Realistic Water Reflections in Photoshop

Create natural reflections in Photoshop. In this episode, we will create highly realistic water reflections using the simple blend if sliders and path/motion blur. Be it a skyline, landscape or object, creating a water reflection will use the same simple steps.

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Time an again when say, the image is dull or there is water in the image but not dramatic and plain, then we create reflection in Photoshop to make it look interesting. Instead of using complex displacement masks, we can achieve better results and create realistic ripples in Photoshop.

Making a reflection with shine makes it look authentic. In this tutorial we are going to use the background water as a reference to create the shine required. This is the the best technique till date to create realistic water reflections.

Mimicking the properties if water is not just limited to ripples. If you have ever observed a lake or any kind of still water with reflections, you would have noticed that the reflection of the object is more saturated than the object itself. It is more vibrant, i.e. has more colors. Often times, the reflection is lesser exposure than the sky, or, in simple words, darker. These properties, along with shine and ripples need to be applied in order for the water to look real.

Reflections enhance the mood of the complete scene. It adds a dramatic effect to the image. This method only works with water reflections. For other surfaces there are different techniques as the texture is unique to each.

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