Reflet adds rippling lake reflection effects to your photos

If you need to bring extra life to a photo then you’ll probably start by applying a few conventional adjustments and effects. Play around with the contrast, maybe adjust the colors, add a lens flare, whatever it might be.

Reflet (from the creator of PhotoFiltre) takes a more drastic approach, animating your image with a rippling reflection effect. It’s not exactly subtle -- we’re reminded of those taste-free 1990′s home pages, packed with animated GIFs -- but can work well in some cases, and only takes a moment to try.

The success of your animation will be largely dependent on the source photo, so check your options carefully. We would start with a landscape shot, something like the sample we’ve added to this post, where adding a lake is going to make visual sense. Resize it to something small -- 640 pixels wide at a maximum, ideally less to keep the file size small -- and you’re ready to go.

Open your test image in Reflet and it automatically adds a mirrored version to act as the reflection. Click Options > Animation to animate this immediately with the default settings.

The "Images" box allows you to define how many frames will be included in the animation. Reducing this will cut the output file size, but image quality will suffer too; adjust the value to find the best compromise.

Other toolbar options allow you to set the reflection height and wave type ("Perspective" or "Regular"). We were happy with "90 percent" and "Perspective" for our test landscape images, but experiment to see what works for you.

The Options menu contains two further settings for wave type and speed. Again, the defaults worked well for us, but try each option to see how it affects your photo.

When you’re happy, click File > Export, and the animation can be saved as an animated GIF, an AVI video (uncompressed, so very large), or a sequence of BMP or JPG images (perhaps best if you can animate them with something more powerful).

This probably isn’t an effect you’ll want to use every day. Not least because Reflet is extremely limited, and with a very basic interface. The program can produce good results in some situations, though, and as it’s also free and portable, you can try it without penalty. Go take a look.

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