Photoshop Tutorials: The Mirror Effect Part 1

Have you ever wondered about that mirror effect thing done in a professional way without using apps for smartphones? Well in this tutorial, we are going to teach you how to make that mirror effect neatly and properly. Do not worry about other applications because as long as you have Photoshop, you are more than safe. So let’s begin.

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Step 1: Edit the Background Layer

When you open an image in Photoshop, it automatically translates to it being the Background Layer. It is the layer which is locked and it is treated differently than other layers in Photoshop. It has its own rules about what and what not to do with it. One rule of the background layer is that you won’t be able to move it around the document so what we need to do to change it is to Double Click it in the Layers Panel. It then automatically changes to Layer 0 and you will notice that there is no lock in the side of that layer anymore.

Step 2: Add more canvas space or resize the photo

Now that we can move the image freely inside the canvas, you now need more space for the half of the mirror image to fit.

Add space in canvas:

  1. Click on Image > Canvas size
  2. This opens a new prompt. Before doing anything else, tick on the Relative options to let Photoshop know that we want to start increasing size from our current canvas.
  3. Add 70-100% in the width option only because we just want to add few spaces on the side of the canvas.
  4. Hit on Okay to close the dialog box.

You now have extra space on your image without resizing your image. Another option is to resize the image. Press on Ctrl + T/ Command + T and hold down Shift to maintain proper proportions of the image. You have two (2) choices but I prefer adding space so you won’t result to a small image.

Step 3: Add a Vertical guide that goes through the midpoint of the photo

To do this, you go on View > New Guide. Clicking on New Guide opens a prompt that has the options: Horizontal, Vertical, and Position. You want to select the Vertical and set the position to 50%. This creates a line going down the middle of your photo.

Step 4: Drag the image to one side of the guide

Select the Move tool first and then click and drag the image to one side of the guide. It doesn’t matter if you want it at the left hand side or the right hand side as long as it is on either one. For better accuracy and precision, treat the guideline as the “flipping point” of the image; it is where the reflection starts to help you gain a better point of view.

Step 5: Transform the image

To do this, the first thing you have to do is to select the image; just the image without the extra spaces. Press and hold Ctrl/Command as you click on the image layer’s preview thumbnail in the layers panel. After doing so, select the transform command. To do this, you can either press Ctrl/Command + T or you can go to Select > Transform Selection.

If you placed your image on the right side of the guide, chances are there are less image fragments on the left side so what you need to do is to drag the left handlebar to the guide line. If yours is on the other side then drag the right handlebar to the center. If done correctly, transform outline should not be the whole image if it crosses the mid-guideline; the whole transform outline should only end at the midpoint guideline.

It is quite a long process so we are going to continue this in another article so it would not seem boring and full of words. Prepare for the next lesson because by then, you will know how to mirror a certain image. Stay tuned for more.

Read: Part 2 of the mirror effect tutorial

For more Photoshop tutorials visit our Photoshop tutorial archives.

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