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Reflections in Puddles

Creating a reflection that looks like a puddle on the ground is a fun technique:

  1. Start with an image of a pavement or brick and convert the background layer to a regular layer.
  2. Add a new layer on the image. Using black paint and a semi-hard brush with 100% opacity, paint a puddle shape over the image.
  3. Open the image to use as a reflection in the puddle and flip it vertically (Image > Transform > Flip Vertical). Drag this layer onto the image with the black puddle in it and move it to the bottom of the stack.
  4. Control-click the layer thumbnail for the puddle to select it. Add a feather to the selection and choose Select > Inverse to invert it. Hide the puddle shape layer.
  5. Click the original image layer and choose Add Layer Mask. A layer mask will be added to the image, opening a "hole" in the pavement so you can see the image through it. Move the image into position.
  6. Darken the pavement, if desired, by using the Burn tool. Another option is to duplicate the pavement layer, apply the Multiply blend mode to the duplicate, and then reduce the opacity to suit.

You can edit the reflection by painting with black or white on the mask layer. Painting with black adds the reflection in that area; painting with white removes it. With some fine-tuning, you should have an interesting result, as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6

Figure 6 Create a reflection in a pavement image to show off your favorite skyline or streetscape.

If you’re interested in seeing some great real-life pavement reflections so you can analyze their characteristics to apply them to your images, visit Photochiel’s Reflections slideshow on Flickr.

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