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How to make water reflections with realistic ripples in Photoshop

How to create realistic looking water reflections in Photoshop. This free Photoshop tutorial shows a quick way to add a water reflection to a photo. There are a couple of little tricks that Colin throws in to add an extra touch of realism.

How to make water reflections with realistic ripples in Photoshop

How to create realistic looking water reflections in Photoshop. This free Photoshop tutorial shows a quick way to add a water reflection to a photo. There are a couple of little tricks that Colin throws in to add an extra touch of realism.


 

I have used an image from Adobe Stock and have included the links to the original images. You can use you own images or the watermarked versions to follow along.
(Here is a tutorial on using Adobe Stock in Photoshop CC)

>Monument Valley Photo used in Tutorial <<

Some Tips for adding Water Reflections in Photoshop

Adding these reflections is a great way of amking it look like there is water in the foreground. There are a couple of things to keep in mind.

In the video above, I show how to add a little haze at the top of the reflection. It’s so subtle, you wouldn’t actually notice it unless you take it away. Good retouching, shouldn’t be noticeable. If it sticks out, it’s probably not good retouching.  I the scene was more of a moist scene, such as a forest, or there was some fog or marine layer present, you should make the haze more noticeable. Try Googling some real images and look at how the haze looks on them.

In the foreground I added a large white gradient to simulate falloff from the atmosphere, or reflection for large clouds, or just haze. Don’t be afraid to add a little color to this if it makes it appear more natural. Each image is different and requires a different touch.

We also have another tutorial on water reflections here, if you want to see a different approach from another artist.

You can get Photoshop and Lightroom for $9.99 mo in the Creative Cloud Photography Program

Colin Smith

Colin Smith

Colin Smith is founder of the #1 PhotoshopCAFE online community which has received over 30 million visitors. Colin has Authored/Coauthored 18 books. He has won numerous awards including 3 Guru awards. He’s been nominated for the Photoshop Hall of Fame twice. Colin is a regular columnist for Photoshop User Magazine. He’s been featured in almost every major imaging magazine, and is in high demand as a speaker at major industry events including Flash Forward and WPPI . He consults such companies as ABC Disney, Apple and Adobe

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Colin Smith

About Colin Smith

Colin Smith is founder of the #1 PhotoshopCAFE online community which has received over 30 million visitors. Colin has Authored/Coauthored 18 books. He has won numerous awards including 3 Guru awards. He’s been nominated for the Photoshop Hall of Fame twice. Colin is a regular columnist for Photoshop User Magazine. He’s been featured in almost every major imaging magazine, and is in high demand as a speaker at major industry events including Flash Forward and WPPI . He consults such companies as ABC Disney, Apple and Adobe

  • Great tips. This video tutorial makes easy to understand. Thanks.