Photoshop Water Reflections of Flowers

Written by xandra lynn
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Photoshop Water Reflections of Flowers
Creating a realistic reflection in water of flowers can be achieved in Photoshop with simple tools. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

There are a few ways to achieve the Photoshop effect of water reflections of flowers. Digital photographs of flowers can be manipulated to create this illusion. Use the Liquify and Transform tools and vary your layer opacity and blend modes until you are satisfied with the finished results. To start these effects, you will need a basic photograph of flowers, preferably next to a puddle or pond for this to look realistic.

Using the Transform Tool

The most basic way to achieve a reflection of an image in Photoshop is to use the Transform tool. This tool is located in the Edit menu. Underneath "Transform" are more specific options, such as "Flip Horizontal" and "Flip Vertical." Any reflections you create will initially need to be flipped horizontally and then flipped vertically so you end up with an accurate reflection. Make a duplicate copy of your flower image and apply the transform tool to flip it horizontally and then vertically. Position and Mask your new "reflection layer" as needed over an image of water such as a pond or puddle. You can stop there, but applying the other secondary techniques will give you a more advanced visual effect.

Liquefy: Pond and Puddle Ripples

Applying the Liquify tool to a transformed and flipped reflection layer will give your image extra realistic visual appeal. The Liquify tool is located in the default Filter menu in all recent versions of Photoshop. This tool lets you apply brush strokes that "liquify" your image, creating waterlike ripples and distortions on the image. Apply this tool by hand with various brush strokes to imitate large pond or puddle ripples and click "OK" when you are finished. Be sure to select just your reflection layer with a marquis before applying the Liquify filter for computer speed, processing and memory performance.

Opacity and Blending

It's a rare reflection that is exactly the same colour tone and brightness as the original flowers growing next to the lake, pond or puddle. For a more realistic flower reflection, change the opacity of your reflection to let some of the original water shine through. You can do this most easily by using Photoshop's Opacity slider, located at the top of the Layer palette. Set the slider anywhere from 20 per cent to 70 per cent, depending on the brightness of the reflection you are creating. Adjusting the Layer blend modes (found next to the Opacity Slider) will also have an impact on the appearance of your reflection. Experiment with setting the blend mode to Screen, Overlay or the other settings until you reach a result that satisfies you.


It's a very rare and perhaps unrealistic reflection if there's no distortion applied. Applying the Transform distortion filter is another step to achieving a realistic water reflection. The option is found by going to "Edit," "Transform" and "Distort." The Distort option will allow you to change the believable angle of your reflection and shorten or lengthen the flower reflection, depending on the illusion of the time of day and sun's position in your image.

Selective Masking

One final touch to achieving a realistic flower reflection in water is to mask out (or delete) the edges of your reflection as needed to fit the shape of your pond. Apply the mask tool, or use the eraser tool to get rid of the unwanted edges and distortions of your reflection, so the reflected flowers are only revealed in the parts of the image that have a puddle or lake. If the reflection layer bleeds over into the surrounding grass or concrete next to the puddle, it will create a visual discrepancy.

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