There are a few different recipies out there on how to fake reflections in After Effects. We recently wrote up our favorite, using a combination of 3D space, nested compositions, Shape Layers to create more controllable gradients, and the lesser-known Lens Blur effect instead of Compound Blur. We also discuss how to set up a hierarchy of compositions to make it easier to swap out the source footage later, and how to use the technique to reflect an animating object on an imaginary floor.
In addition to After Effects-only recopies, we should note that there are a couple of excellent third party plug-ins out there that create reflections. If you’re working in 2D space, check out RG Reflection inside Red Giant Software’s Warp plug-in set, which is available for After Effects, Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, Motion, and Avid Xpress Pro/Media Composer. If you’re working in 3D space, you should certainly then check out Zaxwerk’s Reflector for After Effects.
(BTW: This reflection trick is put to good use in the final lesson of our latest book, After Effects Apprentice (2nd Edition).)
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