In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create realistic water reflections in Affinity Photo. This technique is good to use when you want to add water reflections to images that you can’t capture perfectly on camera. Although this effect works well with landscape and cityscape images, you can apply water reflections to a variety of different images.
Before you start, go to the following link to download the image used in this tutorial.
First, go to File > Open and select the image you downloaded. Press CTRL + J to duplicate the picture. Turn the original image off and label it Original in the Layers Panel.
Second, grab the Crop Tool from the Tools Panel. In the Context Toolbar, make sure the Mode is Unconstrained and the Overlay is Thirds Grid. Take the crop tool and drag the bottom middle area up to the section below the houses. Then, press Apply.
With the cropped image selected, right click on the layer in the Layers Panel. Select Rasterize and Trim.
Go to the Document menu and select Resize Canvas. Click the Lock icon to unlock it. Make the height twice the current height. The current height is 768 px, so set the height to 1536 px (768 x 2). Then, click Resize.
Now, press CTRL + J to duplicate the rasterized layer. Label this layer Reflection in the Layers Panel.
Right click on the reflection picture. Then, go to Transform > Flip Vertical. Make sure Snapping is turned on in the Toolbar. Press Shift and drag the image to the bottom of the canvas.
In the Layers Panel, label the background layer Top and drag it above the Reflection layer.
Select the Reflection layer. Press CTRL + J to duplicate the layer. Label this layer Motion Blur.
With the Motion Blur layer selected, go to the Filters menu. Then, go to Blur > Motion Blur. Set the Radius to 40 px and the Rotation to 90 degrees.
Select the Motion Blur and the Reflection layers. Press CTRL + Shift + E to merge the two layers together. Or you can go to the Layer menu and select Merge Selected.
Now, grab the Smudge Tool from the Tools Panel. Go to the Brushes Panel. Then, go to the Basic brushes and select the 128 px Round Light Brush. In the Context Toolbar, set the Strength to 10%. Select the Reflection layer.
In the Layers Panel, click the Add Pixel Layer icon to add a new layer. Make sure this new layer is between the Reflection layer and the Top layer. Next, go to the Swatches Panel. The fill color should be white. Go to the Edit menu and select Fill with Primary Color.
With the new pixel layer selected, go to the Filters menu. Select Noise > Add Noise. Set the Intensity to 100%. Select Gaussian and check the Monochromatic box.
Next, go to the Filters menu. Select Blur > Motion Blur. Set the Radius to 50 px and the Rotation to 0 degrees.
Now, click the Adjustments icon in the Layers Panel and select Levels adjustment. Set the Black Level to 100%, White Level to 80%, and the Gamma to 1.53.
In the Layers Panel, select the levels adjustment and the filled pixel layers. Press CTRL + Shift + E to merge the two layers together. Or go to the Layer menu and click Merge Selected.
With the merged layer selected, grab the Perspective Tool from the Tools Panel. Press Shift and stretch the bottom left and bottom right corners outward. Then, press Shift and push the top left and top right corners inward. Hit Apply.
Next, select the merged layer, go to the Filters menu. Select Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the Radius to 2 px.
Press CTRL + J to duplicate he merged layer. Label the duplicated layer Shadows. Then, press CTRL + I to invert the layer. Set the Blend Mode to Overlay and lower the Opacity to 25%.
With the Shadow layer still selected, press the down arrow key to push the shadow ripples down.
Now, select the original merged layer. Set the Blend Mode to Soft Light and lower the Opacity to 40%.
Next, press CTRL + ALT + Shift + E to merge all the layers together. Or go to the Layer menu and select Merge Visible. In the Layers Panel turn the other layers off and leave the new merged layer on.
Click the Add Pixel Layer icon in the Layers Panel to add a new layer. This layer should be at the top of everything.
After that, grab the Gradient Tool from the Tools Panel. Place the tool at the bottom of the image in the middle. Then, press and hold Shift and drag the tool up to the middle of the image. In the Context Toolbar, select Reverse Gradient. Select the whit color stop. Then, go to the Swatches Panel and set the Opacity of this to 0% to make it transparent.
In the Layers Panel, set the Opacity of this layer to about 35%.
Congratulations, you’ve completed the tutorial on how to create realistic water reflections in Affinity Photo. For more Affinity Photo tutorials, read this article on how to create light rays.
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