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How to Fake a Window Reflection in Photoshop

How to Fake a Window Reflection in Photoshop

Photoshop Photo Effects

There are many different methods to achieve the same results in Photoshop and faking a window reflection over a normal photo is no exception. You can use different filters, layer blending modes, and even just change the opacity of a layer to achieve a reflection effect. Today, I will show a technique that allows you to easily change both the main image and the reflection even after the effect is made and with the freedom to adjust how much of the reflection you see and how sharp you want that reflection to be.

But before we begin, and if you want to follow this tutorial exactly as described, please download the following free images from Pexels:

Step 1

Open Photoshop and make a new file at any size you want. I will make mine at 1920 x 1280 px with the background color set to #505050.

Step 2

Go to File > Place Embedded. Locate your subject image on your computer and click the Place button.

Step 3

In the Layers Panel, Rename the layer to "Subject" and decrease the layer Opacity to 85%.

Step 4

Again, go to File > Place Embedded. Locate the image you want to use as a reflection on your computer and click the Place button.

Step 5

In the Layers Panel, rename this layer to "Reflection", set the blending mode to Screen and decrease the Opacity to around 45%.

Step 6

With the "Reflection" layer selected, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to about 10 px.
Note: You may need to adjust this value according to your image size, aim for a blurry image where you can barely see the main contours of the reflection image.

Step 7

In the Layers Panel, click on the "Create new fill or adjustment layer" icon and from the dropdown menu select "Levels".

Step 8

In the Levels Properties window apply the following settings.

Step 9

Lastly, with the Levels layer selected go to Layer > Create Clipping Mask.

Some Final Notes

Now that you know how to fake a window reflection in Photoshop, you can easily change the subject or reflection images simply by editing the smart object layer. 

Just double click on the smart object layer thumbnail, place your new image in the new opened document, save it, close it and the new image will show in the origial document.



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