Puddles Way 2 (PHSH Effect #24)


As I said in the first puddle tutorial, I found different ways to make puddles using Photoshop. Today, I’ll be showing you the 2nd way I discovered to make them.

Similar to snowflakes, not every puddle is created the same. This means that you’ll need to use different techniques to get different types of puddles. This technique will show you how to make puddles that work better in a post-rain image. (Apposed to the first way, which works great for active-raining puddles)

Luckily though, none of the techniques are hard to accomplish. As long as you follow the steps carefully, you’ll soon be a master puddle maker!


Step 1

For this technique, we’re going to need to start with a picture. You’ll want to use a picture that has a clear foreground object – whether it be a person, building, car, etc. – and you’ll also want to make sure it has a clear view of the ground.

I’ll be using this picture, but as always, feel free to use any royalty free image you have. (As long as it fits the parameters)

After you’ve chosen your picture, you’ll want to go ahead and pull it onto your new work document. Make sure the blank page as space underneath the picture. (We’ll be adding the puddles to this part)


Step 2

Now that you have the picture and document set up, you’re going to use your Polygon Lasso tool and select part of the image. This will be the part used as the puddle’s reflection. Since my image doesn’t have too much going on in it, I just decided to make my selection a rectangle.

And since the selected line is hard to see, I’ve outlined my selection for you using red.

Don’t forget to bring your line all the way back to the first point you created. This will ‘close’ off the selection for you. If needed, you can also use a Guide Line to help you.

If you have trouble using the Polygon Lasso tool, don’t have one in your version of Photoshop, or if your image is nice and simple (like mine), you can go ahead and just use the Rectangle Marquee Tool, instead.


Step 3

After making your selection, you’ll need to right-click then select Layer Via Copy from the drop-down menu.

Once you’ve made the selection it’s own separate layer, go to the Layer’s Panel (on the right-hand side) and right-click on the selection layer and select Convert to Smart Object.


Step 4

Next, using your Transform tool, you’ll want to right-click on the selection again, and this time, you’re going to select Flip Vertical. Do not press Okay after you’ve done this!

Once it’s flipped upside down, you’re going to Skew the layer to make it align under the picture better. If you’re using an image like I am, where you’re not making the reflection in sections, you can just go ahead and Skew the reflection to one side of the document.

Skewing the reflection off to one side will make it appear like it’s spread across the invisible ground of the image, instead of like you Photoshop-ed it in.


Step 5

Now that the reflection has been flipped and skewed, you can go ahead and lower it to it’s position under the image.

If you need to reflect multiple parts of your image, you’ll want to do that now. Once you’ve done that, you can Merge all the reflection layers into one layer by selecting them all from the Layers panel (hold down CTRL while clicking on them) then right-click and select Merge Layers from the drop down menu that appears.

Once all your reflections are on one single layer, you’re going to right-click it from the Layers panel again, and select Convert to Smart Object.


Step 6

Now we’re going to start the process of making the puddle look realistic. To do this, we’re going to add an Inverted Layer Mask by clicking the button in the Layers Panel.

After you click the button, your reflection layer might disappear – this is okay! It’s not actually gone, as you’ll see in the Layers Panel, we just can no longer see it. But don’t worry, because the next step will show you how to get it back.


Step 7

Now we’re going to use the Brush tool. Make sure you’re using a large brush size, and it’s soft. To do this, go up to the top menu that shows you the Brush options, click on it, and then drag the Size arrow to the right-side of the screen, and the Hardness arrow closer to the left-side of the screen.

You’ll also want to change the Brush’s Opacity to 50. (You can also do this in the top Brush options menu)

Now that we’ve got our Brush set up, comes the fun part. Brush over the part of the image you want the reflection to appear over.

It was at this point that I realized the image I chose wasn’t the best option to use for the purposes of this tutorial.

However, instead of starting completely over with a brand new image, I decided to keep this mistake in the tutorial to show you guys that sometimes mistakes happen.

And when they do, you just say “oh, crap” have a little chuckle, make a mental note to not do it again, and then fix it.

In this case, ‘fixing’ my mistake just meant I had to do Steps 1-7 on a new, more appropriate image.

So that’s exactly what I did. And I think you’ll agree, this one came out a lot better.

For reference, this was the original picture.


Step 8

Now that we’ve gotten an appropriate picture, let’s continue, shall we?

By this stage, depending on the lighting in your image, the reflections should be looking more or less closer to a mirrored reflection than a puddle.

If you chose an already dark image like my bench picture, you can go ahead and skip this step.

If you didn’t, you’ll want to head to the Adjustments panel and use the Levels Adjuster to darken the reflection.

The actual level you’ll want to adjust will be the Middle Input Slider. To make it darker, you’ll want to go ahead and slide it to your right. You’ll also want to make sure you’re only darkening the one reflections layer and not the entire image.


Step 9

If your reflection still seems too opaque, you can go ahead and change it’s Opacity in the Layers Panel. Again, this will depend on the lighting of the image you’re using. Use your best judgment for how low to go. Stop at whatever value makes it look closest to a real reflection.


Step 10

The final step to make these reflections look real is to make them blurry. There’s actually three different ways to do this. Which way you’ll want to do will depend on the image you’re using, your comfort level with playing with the different settings, and whichever way you find easiest.

The first way, is to go up to the Filters menu and add a Gaussian Blur.

The second way is by going to the Properties Panel and adjusting the Feather setting.

And the last way, is to just use your Blur tool on the reflections layer.

I personally used all three to see which one gave me the effect I wanted, but ultimately I decided on using the Blur Tool technique.

Feel free to play around with all three to see the different effects they have on your image.

Once you find a method you’re happy with, and the reflection is blurred to your desire, go ahead and save that puppy, because you’re done!

If you made a mistake, or the reflection didn’t come out quite how you thought it would, don’t worry. Just keep practising and you’ll eventually get the hang of it.

Like this tutorial? Check out more here!

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