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Text Reflection in Photoshop CS3

In this tutorial, I will show you the step by step process of creating a Text reflection in Photoshop CS3. I assume that the process is very similar, if not the same, in Photoshop CS4 and CS5.

Step 1: Create a New Photoshop Document

Create a new blank Photoshop document from the File menu at the top left of the screen and choose New. Enter the dimensions you like for your document. The settings I chose are: Name = reflection, Width = 400 pixels, Height = 100px, Resolution = 72 pixels/inch. Note that this resolution setting is fine for the screen medium, for the print medium choose a Resolution = 300 pixels/inch.

Reflection tutorial. Creating a New Photoshop document

Notice that I set the Background Contents to Background Color which in my case is Black (you could chose the background color that works for you, including transparent). Click OK, and Photoshop creates the document below:

Reflection tutorial. PS blank reflection document

Step 2: Select the Type Tool

To add text to the document, Select the Type Tool in the Tools palette:

Reflection tutorial. Photoshop Type Tool

Step 3: Select Text Font and Color

With the Type Tool selected, go to the Options Bar at the top of the screen and choose the font family and the font color you like. In my case, I chose Georgia, bold 40px crisp. For the Text color, I chose hex: #fabc3b.

Reflection tutorial. Choice of Font family and Color.

Step 4: Add Your Text

Now click anywhere inside the document and add your text.

Reflection tutorial. Add your text.

When you are done, go to the Options Bar at the top of the screen and press the “Check Mark” in order to commit to any current edits.

reflection tutorial. Commit Changes.

Step 5: Duplicate the Text Layer

Now duplicate the text layer in the Layer palette by selecting the layer to be duplicated and drag it to the New Layer button Create a new Layer button. Notice that the copied Layer has the word “copy” in its name.

Reflection Layer.

Step 6: Flip the Text Layer Vertically

Next, flip the copied text layer upside down. First make sure that the copied text layer is selected, then go to the Edit menu, choose Transform, and then choose Flip Vertical. In the document, the copied text layer will appear flipped upside down above the original text layer.

Step 7: Drag the Copied Text Below The Original

From the Tools palette, select the Move Tool. Then, with the copied text layer selected, slide it down so that it rests directly beneath the original Text. A good trick is to keep the Shift key held down as you slide the text to keep the alignment perfect.

Reflection tutorial. Text flipped.

Step 8: Select the Gradient Tool

First add a layer mask to the copied Layer. To do that, press the “Add layer mask” button located at the bottom of the Layer palette Reflection tutorial. Add layer mask button. Next we need to draw a black to white gradient on the layer mask. To draw a gradient, use the Gradient Tool as shown below:

Reflection tutorial. Gradient Tool

With the Gradient Tool selected, you will see that the Options Bar at the top has changed to show you the options for the Gradient Tool. On the left of the Options Bar, you’ll see a gradient preview area showing the currently selected gradient.

Reflection tutorial. Gradient Option Bar.

If this is not the black-to-white gradient, click directly on the preview area, which brings up the Gradient Editor. Chose is the black-to-white gradient.

Step 9: Draw a Vertical Gradient From Bottom To Top

Now draw a vertical gradient along the flipped text as shown in the image below. First, make sure you have the layer mask selected and not the layer itself. You should see a white highlight border around the layer mask thumbnail in the Layers palette.

To draw the gradient, hold down the Shift key and drag up to the point where the upside down text meets the original text. Holding the Shift key as you drag keeps the line straight.

Reflection tutorial. Layer mask selected.

Reflection tutorial. Gradient direction.

Step 10: Fine Tune the Reflection Effect

If you want the text reflection to appear more faded, simply lower the opacity of the layer by reducing the Opacity option in the Layers palette. In my case I lowered the opacity down to 40%.

Reflection tutorial. Lower opacity

Here is my final text reflection effect.

Reflection tutorial. Final Result.

I hope that this tutorial is helpful to you. If you have any questions, feel free to send me a note.