Create Reflections in Photoshop
The Cowboy – Composition Tutorial
In this simple photoshop cc tutorial I will show you how to recreate a windshield and create reflections in Photoshop. This effect can be recreated on any version of Photoshop but I will use Photoshop CC. This reflection effect is all about using your background image on a low opacity and distort it to create the illusion that the background is reflected on a shiny surface, in my case a car’s windshield.
Step 1 – Remove original background
This step is optional depending on what kind of reflections you want to create. If you just want to create reflections on a surface that has no background (a car’s hood for example) you can go to step 2. In my case I removed the background of a car so I have to recreate the windshield and it’s reflections in order to make it look realistic. I used the Pen Tool (P) to subtract the background as seen on the image below.
Step 2 – Constrain the area for the reflection
We will use a layer mask to keep the reflections on the area that we need, in this case the windshield area highlighted on the image below. You can use any Lasso Tool to make a rough selection around the area and then save it from the menu Select>Save selection.
Step 3 – New background
If you didn’t have to change the background, simply add on a new layer the new image you want to use as reflection and go to the next step. I placed a new background below the car layer. I will use the same background image to create reflections so I duplicated my new background with Ctrl/Cmd+J and I named the copy reflections.
Step 4 – Create reflections
With the reflections layer created, load the selection you saved on step 2 from Select>Load selection and with the selection active create a layer mask for the layer by clicking the layer mask icon on the bottom of the layers palette. Next, unlink the layer mask from the layer (watch video for more details). Doing this will allow you to move your reflections image wherever you want without moving the layer mask.
If you want to create even more realistic reflections in photoshop, you can add layer styles to your reflections layer as shown on the video. You can add color tints and gradients to simulate glass color or light effects.