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Aug 09, 2012

How to Make a (Very Hard) Reflection in Photoshop

Making a reflection in Photoshop seems simple enough, and for the most part — yes, it is a quite easy thing to accomplish; when the object you are giving a reflection to is flat. Giving objects a reflection in post becomes a bit more of a difficult task when the bottom of the still life (in this case, a Coca-Cola can) is curved. The coca-cola can has been shot in perspective so you can see the roundness of the top of the can as well as the bottom, the bottom curvature is what makes this difficult to do in Photoshop.

We’re here today answering Jeff’s question about how to add reflections to this type of object, and today’s episode is fun because we get to watch Aaron struggle. This isn’t an easy thing to do, but we’re going to show you anyway!

This is difficult because of the perspective in which the coke can was shot. We can’t see the bottom of the can in the photograph, thereore we need to create it from scratch with the brush tool.

The first thing we need to do to make this happen is use the pen tool to cut the can out of the background,. We didn’t have time in today’s episode to go over the pen tool, but if you’re unfamiliar with it you can see the basics HERE.

We then have to create the entire bottom of the can with selections, warping, and transforming the image.

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  • user image
    Michael Whitney

    I added my motorcycle to the background. Does the reflection look okay?

  • user image
    Guest

    I added my motorcycle to the picture of an empty garage. Does the reflection in the floor look realistic?

  • user image
    Jeff

    Version:1.0
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    Hi Aaron,

    Thanks for your “coke can reflection” tutorial (this is Jeff, I made the request that you do it). I left a lengthy reply in the post yesterday, but for some reason it was deleted/didn’t post.

    Anyway thanks for tackling this VERY DIFFICULT subject. This is the hardest “special effect” I’ve ever tried to create (smoke, fireballs, snow, rain, etc. are SIMPLE compared to reflecting a round bottomed can shot in perspective).

    I appreciate the tutorial and felt you were successful with creating the BOTTOM of the can. What does NOT work is the type and other elements contained in the “body” of the reflected can. The bar code skew/distortion at the bottom is especially noticeable and the distance from the bottom of the can where the bar code should begin is off as well.

    GREAT JOB for 15 minutes — REALLY. This is HAARRRDDDD!!!! If this were a paying assignment for you that had to be absolutely convincing, how long would you likely spend to get the bar codes, reflected type to be perfect, etc.??

    I liked your approach and I don’t think ANYONE could do better in 15 minutes. However the final results would not be acceptable in the commercial world. I’m still struggling with how to pull this off in an absolutely CONVINCING WAY.

    I think creating the reflection to be 100% believable would take the length of a PRO tutorial (which I would purchase). As a matter of fact, I have purchased 9 or 10 of the pro tutorials and they are a GREAT VALUE. As a matter of fact, PHLEARN is (in my opinion), the premier photography/photoshop learning and information site on the internet.

    If there is time in my day to only check out one site, It’s going to be PHLEARN.

    Thanks to you and your team for all you do!

    All my best,

    Jeff

  • user image
    Jeff

    Thanks for your “coke can reflection” tutorial (this is Jeff, I made the request that you do it). I left a lengthy reply in the post yesterday, but for some reason it was deleted/didn’t post.

    Anyway thanks for tackling this VERY DIFFICULT subject. This is the hardest “special effect” I’ve ever tried to create (smoke, fireballs, snow, rain, etc. are SIMPLE compared to reflecting a round bottomed can shot in perspective).

    I appreciate the tutorial and felt you were successful with creating the BOTTOM of the can. What does NOT work is the type and other elements contained in the “body” of the reflected can. The bar code skew/distortion at the bottom is especially noticeable and the distance from the bottom of the can where the bar code should begin is off as well.

    GREAT JOB for 15 minutes — REALLY. This is HAARRRDDDD!!!! If this were a paying assignment for you that had to be absolutely convincing, how long would you likely spend to get the bar codes, reflected type to be perfect, etc.??

    I liked your approach and I don’t think ANYONE could do better in 15 minutes. However the final results would not be acceptable in the commercial world. I’m still struggling with how to pull this off in an absolutely CONVINCING WAY.

    I think creating the reflection to be 100% believable would take the length of a PRO tutorial (which I would purchase). As a matter of fact, I have purchased 9 or 10 of the pro tutorials and they are a GREAT VALUE. As a matter of fact, PHLEARN is (in my opinion), the premier photography/photoshop learning and information site on the internet.

    If there is time in my day to only check out one site, It’s going to be PHLEARN.

    Thanks to you and your team for all you do!

    All my best,

    Jeff

  • user image
    Kyle Simpson

    Easier than this; When you are shooting a can, or similar object, turn it upside down and take the shot again. Instant acurate reflection to mask.