Instant Lake

Here’s an extremely quick way to add a waterline to a photo.    I’ll be using PhotoShop PS6 on a Windows 7 Pro 64-bit computer.  Although I usually use a Wacom graphics tablet, for this tutorial it isn’t necessary.

We start out with the image below, which you can download if you click on THIS.

We load this into PhotoShop, and then the very first thing we do is duplicate it twice.  Rule number one:  NEVER work on your original image, always work on a copy.

You can name the duplicate layers anything.  Here I’ve chosen “Top” and “Bottom.”  The Top will be the mountains, and the Bottom will become the lake.

Make the Top layer the active one.  Using the Rectangular Marquee tool, select an area of the bottom half of the picture.  In this case, we want to remove this area, especially the foliage closest to the camera.

Once you’ve selected the area, delete the image in the box by pressing CTRL-X (on the Mac, I believe it’s Command-X).

In the image above, you’ll notice that I’ve hidden the other layers.  This is just because without “Bottom” being hidden, it doesn’t look as if anything has happened.

Next, make the “Bottom” layer the active layer.  (And un-hide it, if you’ve hidden it.)

Go to the EDIT menu, and choose TRANSFORM, and then choose FLIP VERTICAL.  Using the Move tool, pull the Bottom image straight down until it matches the edge of the Top image.

Now that we have our lake, let’s mess with it a bit.  First, create a new layer.   For the moment, it doesn’t matter where it’s located.

Click on the color picker and choose a color you like to make the Bottom image look a bit watery.  I chose a somewhat warmer blue.

Click on the Paint Bucket Tool and, making sure your new layer is the active layer, fill it with blue.    Move the layer between the Top and Bottom layers, and give it an Opacity level of 15.

And there you have it.

In the image above, I applied a Filter to the Bottom image.  I used the Filter – Blur – Motion Blur, with the angle at 0 (zero) and a distance of 8 pixels.  To be honest, I’m not really crazy about the blur, but I felt it needed something to help the illusion along.  If you come up with a better idea or a different setting, I’ll happily give it a shot and give you the credit.

Thanks for stopping by, and happy image-making.