Photoshop reflection gone wrong

Last week, I posted a Deke’s Techniques showing how to reflect text in water. Since then a bunch of my buddies at have been reporting back sightings of the technique in action. (Whether the creators of these effects actually got the idea from me is very much in question.) One particularly unfortunate example has crossed my inbox so many times I figured I should just post it.

Suit and/or shit yourself, preferably with an alien arm

There’s some conjecture about whether this “mistake” (printed last Sunday in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) was accidental or not. One can’t help but wonder if this wasn’t the last act of a disgruntled designer. (In which case, it’s genius!) But a few tips on how you might avoid such imaging gaffs in your work-a-day life, should you choose to do so:

  • Avoid lowercase letters. They are a recipe for reflection disaster.
  • Don’t sink the letters into the water so you lose the distinction around the stems. A reflected u will not look like an H if its ass is out of the water.
  • What is with the baselines? Why does this text have baselines?
  • Reduce the opacity of the reflection. Or, if you’re feeling especially attentive, make some minimal effort to match any of the natural reflectivity in the scene.
  • At the very least, avoid distracting attention from your hilariously scatological text effect by arbitrarily elongating the opposing arm of your model so she looks like an alien stick insect.
  • As a layout artist, refrain from placing a Victoria’s Secret fluff piece next to an advice article about an abusive spouse. Liquified alien-armed models tend to have a pernicious effect on vituperative boyfriends. As a rule of thumb, they should not reside in neighboring columns.

If you have any more advice, by all means, share.

Next entry:Deke’s Techniques 125: Making a Person Emerge from Water in Photoshop

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  • Suit Yourself = Shit

    Suit Yourself = Shit Yourself! Genius indeed!

    It’s just crazy…

  • PS FAIL!!!!!!

    This is too funny i just watched the reflection tut and then saw this and thought, there is no way in HELL this guy learnt this from you Deke….......

  • What I find hard to believe

    What I find hard to believe is that this made it past anyone else!  I would be curious to see what the readers of said periodical had to say, or even the advertiser.  Wonder what they thought!  LOL

    No, Deke!  This definitely wasn’t a person who follows your tutorials. 

    Love your videos!


  • Sigh…


    I’m a long-time fan and follower of your blog, books and training sessions, but I set up an account just now so I can comment on this.

    I grew up in the Pittsburgh area and I love my hometown, but seeing the ‘Burgh represent itself to the world like this always makes me a little sad.

    And, still, the Pittsburgher in me can’t resist but point out, “Hey! Pittsburgh!”

    Oh, well.

  • A classic Photoshop disaster!

    To say this was embarrassing to both graphic artist and to the ad company is probably the understatement of the century!

    But, shit happens to all of us, I guess!


  • Someone got paid to do this??

    Maybe it was a very short deadline or major department cutbacks but whatever the case the person who did this sucked big time….I’d hate to think they actually got paid to do it…Even if it was done for coffee money.

  • That is a hoot!

    I saw that article right after your great reflection tutorial. That produced a big eye roll and a hearty laugh. I completely missed the alien arm and abusive spouse article until you pointed it out.

  • Ah summer…

    It’s the perfect time to shit yourself.