Creating a Realistic Water Surface in Adobe Photoshop

This tutorial is about creating a water surface with realistic reflection and ripples using Photoshop. This procedure is mainly used to create sceneries. Let’s start.

STEPS

1. Open the image in Photoshop.
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2. The first step is to make space on the canvas for water surface. Go to image—>canvas-size. Double the height-of-the-canvas.
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3. Duplicate the background layer and rename it to ‘reflection’. Press ‘Ctrl T’ and rotate it to 1800. Select the move tool to move the selection under the first one so it appears as reflection.
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4. Select the background layer and press ‘Ctrl Shift N’ to create a new layer. Rename it to ‘water’. Using a rectangle-marquee-tool select the lower half of water-layer.
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5. Set the foreground color to blue. Grab the paint-bucket tool and click inside the selection.
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6. Link the two layers i.e. water and reflection. For this, select the thumbnail of water-layer. Press & hold ‘Ctrl’ and select the thumbnail of reflection-layer. Right-click and select link-layers. Create a layer mask on reflection-layer by clicking on layer-mask icon at the bottom of the layers palette. Set the foreground and background color to white and black. Grab the gradient-tool and draw a vertical gradient-line on the canvas.
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7. Press Ctrl and click on reflection thumbnail (not the layer-mask) to select the visible pixels of the layer. Go to filter—>blur—>motion-blur.
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8. Set the angle value to -900 and distance to 10 px.
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9. The reflection would be blur like this:
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10. Open a new document (File—>New). Set the custom size to 1000*2000px RGB.
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11. Go to filter. Add noise. Move the slider to the far-right corner.
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12. Again go to filter. From the blur fly-out menu, select ‘Gaussian-Blur’. Set the value of radius to 2px.
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13. Besides the layers-palette, there is a channels-palette. Go there. Click on red-layer. Go to filter tab in the main menu. Roll the mouse over stylize and select emboss.
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14. Set the angle to 1800 with 1px height and the maximum amount.
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15. Now, go back to the layers-palette. Right-click on the background-layer and select layer-from-background.
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16. Press ‘Ctrl T’ to transform the image a little. Right-click on the selection and click on ‘perspective’. Move both lower corners as far away from their point as possible so as to expand the pixels.
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17. Now go to image tab. click on image-size and lower the height to 1000 px.
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18. Save this document with .psd extension and exit.
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19. Now, go back to the original file you were working on. Press ctrl and click on reflection-layer thumbnail to select the pixels of the layer. Go to filter tab. From the fly-out menu of distort, select displace. Set the values according to the snapshot.
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20. Click ok. From the browser, select the .psd file. The image will now be like this:
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Viola! The perfect water surface is ready.
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Author: Haseeb Khan

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