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Water Effect and Object Reflection on Photoshop

photoshop tutorialMany times I find myself wondering about a picture I see that does not make sense in reality. picture containing elements on or inside the water that makes me wonder "how is it done"?

In this guide we will learn step by step how to create an effect of an object emerging from the water. This guide is for beginners in Photoshop as well. Before we begin, I would like to stress that in a complex software such as Photoshop, every effect can be achieved in several ways. In this guide I will teach one of them. Soon enough there will be more guides in this website with tips and tricks in Photoshop. We hope you enjoy this guide.

In this guide we will use two pictures that were taken from this website's photo gallery (I have permission since I'm a member Smile), a water front picture from the Marina and a picture of a Jeep that I took on a trip. The thing about this Jeep is that it kept breaking down trough out the trip, so as an act of revenge, I decided to drown it in the sea for good.




Step one:
Let us define the horizontal water front in which we want the Jeep and the water to fit in, using a ruler.




Step two:
Choose the "Color Range" command from the "Select" menu on the top left corner. Choose the most contrasted


Select > Color Range >




We received a selection of the Waves behavior. Change the selection (of the waves) to a new channel, in the Channels window.


Window > Channels > New Channel




You will be asked to name the new Channel which you have just created, name it "Wave Channel" and press the OK button. At this time, the new channel does not contain anything, but the waves' selection is still active. In order to create a channel with the waves' behavior, erase (Edit>Clear) the waves' selection from the new channel.




Now, lets create, from the new channel we have created, a separate file, and save it under a new name. First, make sure that the new channel we have created is selected, like in the picture below, and then, duplicate the new channel into a new file.


Window > Channels > Duplicate Channel


A dialog box would appear. Pick the "New" option and name the new file "WaveMask", like that.




Save the new file in a Photoshop format (PSD) and that's it. The first part is over.


Step three:
Let's work on the Jeep picture. We need to cut the Jeep off it's background. I will not go into explaining it right now (perhaps in another guide). There is no need to cut the entire Jeep since we are not using the lower part of the Jeep. Here is the Jeep after it was cut out.




Let's move the new Jeep layer into our Marina file. This action can be done in several ways. I usually drag the Icon of the wanted layer (the Jeep layer) into the destination file's window (the Marina file window). Like that.




Locate the Jeep just below the water front line which we created at the beginning. Like that.




Now let's create a layer which would cover the water front line and the lower part of the Jeep, until the jeep blends in with the water. Like that.




Okay. Now that we understand the idea of the water front line. We can erase that line and from now on we will use as an imaginary line. Now lets duplicate the Jeep layer and name it "Jeep 2".


Window > Layers > Duplicate Layer

We flip the new Jeep later upside down, as if it was a mirror.

Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical


Now, lets spread the picture about half way the original Jeep picture, and locate the "Jeep 2" layer directly under the original Jeep layer. In short, we want to create a believable reflection of the Jeep. Like this one.


Edit > Transform > Scale




Great. Now, let's pick the "Jeep 2" layer (the one that is upside down) and create an effect which combines the Jeep picture with the waves. Do you remember the Wave shape file which we created at the beginning? Well, it's time to use it.


When the "Jeep 2" layer is selected, we will go to the "Displace" effect


Filter > Distort > Displace


In the effect window we feed the data in accordance with the following example. The numbers are relative to the size of the picture (It's flexible). In order to create the authentic effect of waves, what matters most is that the horizontal data will be three times the size of the vertical data. Like this.


Press the Ok button (obviously).




And now to the final Step:


This is the phase in which we give the picture its final touch. We make the "Jeep 2" layer fade out with a gradient downwards, make sure not to fade it completely. Choose the amount so that you give it a vivid sense of a reflection in water. Finally, we will make the "Jeep 2" layer transparent by 50%.
Here is the result:




In addition, each of you, with their skill, taste and talent, can improve the final result of the picture.
That's all. I hope you enjoyed and  learned some new things. If you found this tutorial to be useful, please let us know, put in a good word.

So... 'Till next time, Good-Luck
Rami Ben-Ami and Staff

| object reflect || photoshop water || water effect |