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Paint.NET Text Reflection Tutorial

Use Paint.NET to Make a Text Reflection

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This text reflection tutorial will show you how to create a simple text reflection effect using the free pixel-based image editor Paint.NET. This popular text effect can be suitable for adding interest to headings in printed leaflets or on web pages.

Even if you're a complete beginner to using Paint.NET, you should still be able to follow this text reflection tutorial and use the results in all sorts of ways. However I would strongly advise against using words with letters with descenders, such as a lowercase letter y or j, as these do not work well. If necessary it is better to use all uppercase letters.

1. Add a New Layer

New layer is added
© Ian Pullen

The first step is to go to File > New to open a new document, selecting a document size suitable for how you intend to use the finished text.

When text is added in Paint.NET, it isn't automatically applied to a separate layer, as it is in Adobe Photoshop, so we need to add a new layer by going to Layers > Add New Layer.

2. Add Some Text

Text added
© Ian Pullen

Before adding some text, you can select the color that you want to use from the Colors palette (go to Window > Colors if it isn't open) and remember you can click the More button if you want more options.

Now click on the Text tool in the Tools palette (it is the letter T icon) and click on the document where you want to place the text. You now type in the text that you want to reflect and change the font and/or size in the tool options bar that appears above the open document. When you're finished, if you're not happy with the position of the text, you can use the Move Selected Pixels tool to reposition the layer with the text on it.

3. Duplicate and Reflect the Text

Copy and flipped text
© Ian Pullen

Go to Layers > Duplicate Layer and then Layers > Flip Vertical to copy and reflect the text that you added in the last step.

4. Reposition the Text

Reflected text repositioned
© Ian Pullen

Now select the Move Selected Pixels tool from the Tools palette (top right) and, with the reflected text layer still selected, click and drag on the document to move the reflected text. You want to position it directly below the other text, though try and leave a slight gap between the two so that none of the letters actually touch.

5. Select the Reflected Text

Reflected text is selected
© Ian Pullen

Now click on the Magic Wand tool in the Tools palette and, in the tool options bar, change the Flood Mode to Global. The default Tolerance setting is 50% and you can leave this unchanged. If you click on one of the letters in the reflected text, you will see that the outline of a selection appears around all of the letters.

6. Add a New Layer

Reflected text is hidden
© Ian Pullen

Before applying a gradient to the new selection, go to Layers > Add New Layer. If you look in the Layers palette (Window > Layers if it isn't visible), you should see two layers called Layer 2. These are the two layers that have text on and if you click on the Checkbox in the upper one of the two Layer 2 layers, you will see that the reflected text disappears. Now check that the newest layer, Layer 4, is selected by clicking on it to highlight it blue.

7. Select the Gradient Colors

Gradient colors are set
© Ian Pullen

We will be using the Gradient tool next, but first we need to set the correct colors that we want to use, so click on the More button in the Colors palette and ensure that Primary is selected in the drop down menu at the top left of the palette. To the right of the palette, you should see seven sliders and you want to move the slider labeled S to the left, about half way or so. This will lighten the color that was used for the text. Next change the drop down menu to Secondary and then move the Transparency – Alpha slider all the way to the left.

8. Apply a Gradient to the Selection

Gradient added to reflection
© Ian Pullen

With the colors set, select the Gradient tool from the Tools palette, then click inside the selection near the top of the letters and drag the cursor downwards. When you release the mouse button a gradient is applied to the selection only. You should see two circular handles and you can move these to adjust the gradient.

When you're happy with the effect, just hit the Return key on your keyboard to apply it. If you go to Edit > Deselect, you can see the finished effect.

9. Reduce the Reflected Text Opacity

Reduce opacity of the reflection
© Ian Pullen

If, at this stage, the reflected text looks too dark, go to Layers > Layer Properties and drag the Opacity slider to the left.

10. Conclusion

Finished piece
© Ian Pullen

This is a relatively simple text effect tutorial which introduces a few different tools that are available in Paint.NET. When you've finished, you can save your finished piece into another format, such as a GIF or JPEG, for use elsewhere.

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