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Creating reflective text is an easy and effective technique for enhancing the look of your text, which adds depth and perspective to otherwise plain text. This technique continues to be a popular method used in many web page banners and other forms of web advertising graphics making the image visually interesting and stand out from the rest. Reflective text of course is nothing new, this technique has been used in traditional print media for many years as a favourite by many graphic artists and advert designers.

Though Photofiltre (free version) is probably not the most ideal tool for creating ultra complex reflective text, you certainly can go a long way with making cool and attractive looking text, without resorting to expensive and/or complicated graphic software. Once again, Photofiltre’s easy to use interface makes designing reflective text fun and interesting to do.

Download Photofiltre Free:

Basic technique with plain white background.

1. Use the Text Tool to create the text.


In this example I’ve used the Poster Bodoni(Bitstream) font in a dark blue(#333399) at 72pt.

The resulting text from dialogue box…

…then right mouse click to validate text.

2. Bring up the Text Dialogue box again but this time use Transform to Selection button.

Use the Transform to Selection button in text dialogue box.

The transformed outline of the text will appear. Give yourself some room to work with and drag this selection towards the bottom of the page.


Select the Gradient Tool from the top tool bar.


In the Gradient dialogue box, use the settings: Duotone, Bottom to Top, Colour-1(same as text colour), opacity 70%, colour-2 white, opacity 10%.

Use these opacity settings as a guide only, press the Preview button to check the results before you click OK.

The text should be darker (or more coloured) towards the bottom and fading away to the background colour. The next step is to flip the text….

Flipping the text

Right mouse click on the Selection and select: Transform >> Flip Vertical


When you flip the text over with the transform >> vertical flip function, you’ll see an annoying quirk with Photofiltre: It leaves a copy of the original text along with the new upside down version 🙁  To resolve this annoying leftover, either crop it out later when your done, or draw a box around it and delete/clear it.

Anyway.. move the reflective text up towards the bottom of the original text, just so there is a tiny gap between the reflection and the original text.

Zoom in with the magnifying tool and line up the reflective text with the original text so that it’s perfect.


When your satisfied with the position of the text, right mouse click and select validate.

Completed basic reflective text


On step further…Adding a Gradient Background.

The reflective text by itself on a plane white background is pretty boring. Adding a background with two gradients enhances the look of the reflective text, giving it a somewhat “looking out into the horizon” feel.


1. Start by drawing a box with the Rectangle tool for the upper gradient. Make it about 650 x 200 pixels, though it does not need to be exact.

2. Use the gradient tool with the setting of duotone, top to bottom, colour-1 70%(#567B9B in this example), colour-2 (white) about 40% opacity.


3. Create the text with the Text tool. I’ve used orange(#FF6600), BroadwayBT font at 72pt in this example and have positioned it just near the bottom of the background gradient.


4. Create the reflective text using the method I’ve described above and position it below the original text.


5. Fade the text if needed, by either:

  • Edit >> Fade text or;
  • Right Click mouse >> Paste Options >> Opacity adjustment

6. Complete the lower gradient section by drawing a box with the Rectangle tool, (650 x 100px) and positioning it over the reflective text. Next, select the gradient tool and apply the gradient over the reflective text. This is quite effective as it blends the colour of both orange text and the blue background together making it look a little more realistic.

Adding extra effects.

With the bottom section still selected, you can apply further effects such as the Lake Reflection filter, Ripple filter or Gaussian blur.

Filter >> Deform >> Lake Reflection

Filter >> Deform >> Ripple

Gaussian blur( radius=3px) + Lake reflection





Another example, another style, another way.

But wait… here is another way to create reflective text…

Use the rectangle tool to create a box, then use the Gradient Tool to fill it with black at the top, decending to white on the bottom.

Again use the rectangle tool, but this time create a solid black section and position it below the gradient part.

Create the required text with the Text Tool – click on Transform to selection and position it in between the gradient area and solid black.


Fill the text with red by right mouse click > Stroke and Fill.

Select Fill with red colour and click OK


With the text still still selected, use the the Progressive Contour(Filtre >> Stylize >> Progressive contour) to make a slight cloud around the top of the text.


Drag the Transformed to selection outline to the black area below. The red text will remain 🙂


Use the Gradient tool to begin creating the lower reflection with red and black as colours 1 & 2.


Right mouse click and select copy.


Next, is to remove the the reflective text by using the Undo function. The reason for doing this is because flipping it now will leave the old unflipped section still there (a Photofiltre quirk as mentioned before), so this technique works well.

Right mouse click and select paste.


Right mouse click and select transform >> flip vertical.


Position the reflective text into place under the main text and right mouse click to select validate paste.


Text with reflection done!


A few tips.

Upper case/lower case: Lower letters such as  g y p q j  don’t work out so well as they hang down. Use upper case instead. In general, the reflective effect works better where the bottom of the text does not hang down.

Font selection: Some fonts are better than others for reflective design. Avoid highly ornamental fonts such as Bleeding Cowboy for example…and try to avoid using italics.

9 Responses to “How to create reflective text with Photofiltre”

  1. Neo says:

    Nice tips. So you don’t use Photoshop?

  2. Jeff says:

    Hi Neo, I do have Photoshop5.5 installed but I don’t use it that much.

  3. […] bookmarks tagged reflective How to create reflective text with Photofiltre | J… saved by 5 others     LilyAllison bookmarked on 12/03/08 | […]

  4. emily* says:

    hey thanks for the tips. but how do i get to tilt my text to my desired angle?

  5. Jeff says:

    Emily*: Probably the best way to go about creating tilted reflective text is to first create the reflective text then tilt it.
    o Draw a box around the text
    o Right mouse click and select Transform >> Free, then choose the angle to tilt it.
    Another way you may be able use is by selecting Image(on the menu) >> rotate >> free.


  6. cheyenne says:

    hey thanks for this it helped me alot

  7. […] Related Post: How to create reflective text with Photofiltre. […]

  8. Heather says:

    For some reason my text isnt working right. I could have it set as size 300 and it will be the size 24 if even that. Its a lot smaller then what i set it as and its really frustrating. how do i fix it?

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