You can create realistic water reflections in your photographs using Adobe Photoshop. But this can take quite a few steps and involves creating and using a displacement map. If you’re interested in creating water reflections in photoshop, here’s a blog on how to do it.
If you’re serious about adding reflections to your photographs or think you will do it a lot, the Flood 2 Photoshop plugin by Flaming Pear Software is worth a look. Flood 2 is an example of a plugin that does 1 think and does it right – add water and reflections to images.
Flood 2 has a variety of controls to create your water reflection. In this blog, I’ll review these controls and report my findings in using the Flood 2 software.
The sliders are divided into 3 sections: View, Water, and Ripple.
The View Section controls your perspective in seeing the reflection. The view section has these sliders:
- Horizon – Place where the top of the image meets the reflection
- Offset – Create a distance between the top of the image and the reflection
- Perspective – Gives the perspective between wide and narrow field of view
- Altitude – Controls how high the camera is above the water reflection
- Spin – Tilts the water if your horizon isn’t level
The water controls the appearance of the waves. There are 2 water styles Simple and Complex.
The Simple style give a more calmer, reflective surface while complex has rougher 3D waves and sun glitter
- Waviness – Sets the height of the waves
- Complexity – Controls the choppiness of the water
- Brilliance – Sets the brightness of the reflection. I have noticed that the image is darker in Flood 2 than when I return to photoshop
- Blur – Controls the blurriness of the reflection
Color Button – Brings up a color selector where you can choose and adjust the color of the water.
Sun Position – The white circle with the star in it sets the position of the sun for lighting the glitter in your reflection.
Glitter Color – The Color Button on the right side of the Water Section lets you select the color of the sun glitter on the waves
The Ripple section creates a circular ripple or ring in the water of your reflection. Click on the reflection to place the ripple and click above the horizon line to remove the reflection.
Size – Sets the size of the ripple
Height – The height or strength of the ripple
Undulation – The number of rings in the ripple
There are also some icons at the bottom of the left panel. These let you undo, save / load presets to a file, export, etc.
One of the most interesting is the Dice Icon as in “Roll the Dice”. This will produce random reflections on your image to let you see how different effects look, and to give you a starting point to begin editing.
Flood 2 has an interesting way to save presets called memory dots. At the bottom of the Flood 2 window, there is a semi-circle of white dots. This is where you save your presets.
Click on an empty dot to save your current settings. Click on a full (colored) dot to retrieve settings. Hover over a dot to see a preview of what is stored in that dot.
I would recommend saving your current settings in a dot. Since Flood 2 does not work with Photoshop Smart Objects, once you return to Photoshop and you don’t like what you’ve created, you have to start over. Flood 2 will automatically remember the last settings from when it was launched but this way you can go back and re-edit multiple images.
Overall, Flood 2 is an excellent plug-in for creating reflections and water filled images. You can spend hours adjusting the sliders and rolling the dice to create beautiful water reflections.
There are only a couple of places where I think Flood 2 could improve.
- Work as a Smart Object in Photoshop, this will make it easier to re-edit images. The Memory Dots are nice, but I have to remember to save it and then find which dot where the image was saved.
- The image appears darker in Flood 2 than in Photoshop. I find myself making the Brilliance lower to try and anticipate the brightness in Photoshop.
Flood 2 is a relatively inexpensive plug-in (@ $33 US) for the flexibility it provides in creating water reflections. Flaming Pear Software also has a free 2 week trial to test out the software.
Written by Martin Belan
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