2D Reflection Effects Gallery
Written by Ken Lowther   
Sunday, 23 December 2007

These effects give any object the appearance that it is sitting on a very shiny surface. 


They can be applied to images, selections, even text.


All with the touch of a button.


If you have not already done so, download the '2D Reflection Effects Gallery' from the download section.

Since PhotoImpact requires that the gallery file (2D Reflections.SMP) always be present once a gallery is loaded, you will need to extract the contents of the archive to a permanent location on your system.  If you have a PhotoImpact directory already created for plugins, etc. you might want to use that, otherwise I would suggest creating a 'My EasyPalette' directory in 'My Documents' and placing the gallery file there.  It really doesn't matter where you put the gallery file as long as it stays in that location from then on.

Now that you have the gallery file in place, run PhotoImpact and go the the EasyPalette Galleries tab.  From there click on the home icon and select the Gallery Manager/Load menu item as shown below in Figure 1.

Figure 1

This will bring up the Import Gallery dialog box.  Select the 2D Reflections.SMP file from the location where you placed the gallery file. Optionally, you can select the category of where you want the 2D Reflections gallery to be located in the EasyPalette (Figure 2).  I chose 'Tasks' because these effects are actually PhotoImpact tasks, however, you may want to choose 'My Gallery' instead.  This is really just a matter of personal taste. 

Figure 2

Click Open to load the 2D Reflections gallery into the EasyPalette as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3



Thats all there is to installation.  The 2D Reflection Effects will now always be available from the EasyPalette.


The 2D Reflections gallery consists of 5 groups as shown in Figure 3 on the previous page.  They are:

  • All, all available effects in the 2D Reflections gallery are present.
  • Bottom, contains effects that position the reflected image at the bottom of (underneath) the original object.
  • Right, contains effects that position the reflected image to the right of the original object.
  • Left,  contains effects that position the reflected image to the left of the original object.
  • Top, contains effects that position the reflected image on top of (above) the original object.

There are 4 effects in each group.  They differ by the amount of the original object that is included in the reflected image.  For example, Bottom 100% will create a reflected image that consists of 100% of the original object.  Bottom 40% creates a reflected image that consists of only 40% of the original object. 

These effects use the currently active object to create the 2D reflected image.  The active object can be a base image with or without a static selection or any other single object, even a text object.  When a reflection effect is applied, a new image will be created consisting of the original object and its reflection positioned in accordance with the chosen effect.  For example, to create a Bottom 60% reflection of the image in Figure 4 simply make sure that the active object is the image to be reflected and double click on the 'Bottom 60%' button in the EasyPalette.

Figure 4

A new image window will open containing the original object along with its reflected image (Figure 5).

Figure 5

A selection may also be employed to furthur customize the reflected image.  For example, using the image in Figure 4 we can apply a standard mask from the EasyPalette (Figure 6).

Figure 6

Our base image now appears as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7

Double clicking the 'Bottom 100%' button in the EasyPalette will yield a reflected image that appears as shown in Figure 8.

Figure 8

The newly created reflection image contains a base image, the original object and the reflection object.  The amount of transparency used by the reflection tasks is 60%, however, once you have applied a reflection effect, you can select the reflected image object within the new reflection image and change its transparency value by bringing up the properties window (Ctrl+Shift+Enter) and entering a new value to suit your taste.

Reflection Tasks

Along with the 2D Reflections Gallery file, there are 4 .TSK files included in the zip file.  These can be loaded as PhotoImpact tasks and accessed from the Quick Command Panel's Task tab.   They are handy if you want to quickly create a partial reflection effect that  does not exist in the easypalette, 75% for example.

To load them, go to the Quick Command Panel's Task tab and select the task manager from the menu (Figure 9).

Figure 9

This will bring up the Task Manager dialog box.  Select 'Import' (Figure 10).

Figure 10

The 'Load' dialog box will appear.  Navigate to the location on your system where you extracted the .TSK files, select one of them and click Open (Figure 11).

Figure 11

Your new task is now listed along with the other tasks provided with PhotoImpact and can be selected for use at any time (Figure 12).

Figure 12

To demonstrate how these tasks may be used, create a new project and then add a text object (Figure 13).

Figure 13

Select the 'Reflect Bottom' task from the task list (Figure 12).  The task will now list all the steps that PhotoImact will go through to accomplish the 'Reflect Bottom' task.  We will mainly be concerned with the 2 'Resize' steps (Figure 14).

Figure 14

When you click on any of the steps listed in the task window, PhotoImpact will attempt to perform that operation on whatever object you currently have selected.  Ensure that you have the text object from Figure 13 selected and begin by clicking on the first step, Copy.  Even though you didn't see anything happen, PhotoImpact copied the current object (your text object) to the clipboard.  Continue the 'Reflect Bottom' task by clicking on each successive step in the task window.  As you do this,  you will be able to see the result of each individual step.  When you get to the first 'Resize' step, the Resize dialog box will appear (Figure 15).

Figure 15

This resize step is creating the reflection image portion of the task.  Notice that the New image height in Figure 15 is currently set at 40 Percent.  To create a reflection image of 75 percent, this will need to be changed to 75.  Before doing this, however, take note of the Active image height (29 pixels in this case, Figure 15).  We will need this value later during the 2nd Resize step.  After changing the height to 75 and clicking OK, continue on with the remaining steps until you are prompted with the 2nd Resize dialog box (Figure 16).

Figure 16

This step resizes the final image so that it includes both the original image and the reflection image.  Notice the size of the Active image (21 pixels in this case, Figure 16).  We will need to enter a new height value of 29 pixels for the original image plus 21 pixels for the reflection image giving a total of 50 pixels.  In the resize dialog box, change the New image units from 'Percent' to 'Pixels' and then enter a new height of 50.  Make sure that the 'Keep aspect ratio' option is NOT checked.  Before clicking OK, change the New image units BACK to Percent.  This should show a new percentage of 238 (Figure 17).

Figure 17

PhotoImpact actually updates the task with all changes made in any completed dialog box.  By changing the New image units back to Percent, this ensures that the updated Reflect Bottom task will correctly produce a 75% reflection of any sized image.  Continue on with the remaining steps in the task.  You will be prompted with a dialog box on both the 'Change Object Properties' and 'Fade-out' steps as well.  In the 'Change Object Properties' box, you can alter the amount of transparency for the reflection image if you wish or just click OK.  Remember, any change in these dialogs is permanently updated in the task.  After completing the last step, you should have a final image that looks something like that in Figure 18.


Figure 18

As you can see, tasks are a very powerful feature of PhotoImpact.  I hope you found this information useful.


Last Updated ( Wednesday, 13 February 2008 )