A new Junior Member to the Photoshop 911 forums sent samples and asked...
Can anyone suggest a technique, tutorial or plugin that can help me create realistic mirror surface reflections of an isolated image in photoshop.
Many people these days are enamoured with the latest craze of photographing products on a glass surface with the product reflecting a very smooth, liquid reflection. Apple made it popular with their iPhone imagery.
In the old days, we had to go to some fairly lengthy set building in order to accomplish the look, but today you can do it in mere moments.
The object itself has a lot to do with the relative success of this technique. Best case scenario is a good, straight-on product shot. This eliminates the need for oblique reversals which take a lot of time, and need to have a perspective slant in order to look convincing. (See reader's example.)
Creating the reflections
Let's use this shot of a Pentax camera.
Note I've carefully cut it out of the background so no slivers of white are showing. Mistakes in removing the background will be glaring once we build the illusion.
To make the illusion, we need a much larger expanse of background.
Here, using the Crop tool, we can drag the handles beyond the image area and visually estimate the size we'll be needing. Once you commit the crop, the canvas will be expanded to fit the size indicated.
Since any reflection into glass or a liquid is a 'mirror' image of the original, we have to create that copy.
The easiest way is to merely float a copy (Cntrl/J or Cmd/J) and with the Move Tool (Tap V) drag the top, center handle down below the bottom. I'm going to leave the dragged image just a bit compressed. This lends a bit more realism to the scene.
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