What causes a surface to appear shiny? It’s that it reflects light! A shiny surface is a mirror. Here’s how to make your tabletop gleam in Photoshop.
A matte surface has only a shadow.
The fainter the opacity, the less shiny the surface.
A shiny surface has a reflection, too.
How to design cool stuff
Photoshop We’re about to make an artificial, 3-D reflection, which looks correct only on objects viewed at table level or round ones like this stone, which can be fudged. (1) If your image already has a background, the first step is to select and delete it, then name its layer Reflection. (2) Duplicate the layer (Layer>Duplicate Layer), and name the new layer Object. (3) Go to Image>Canvas Size, double the current height, then click the top anchor arrow as shown. (4) Add a new layer below the Reflection layer and name it Background; fill with white (this can change later). (5) Select the Reflection layer, flip the image vertically (Edit>Transform>Flip Vertical), and move it down, leaving some underlap as shown. Set its opacity to about 50%. (6) Make a new Shadow layer. Draw an ellipse beneath the stone, fill with black, then deselect. Blur the selection (Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur) until you get a dark-to-light gradient blend, set it to Multiply mode, and you’re done.
Get more on making reflections, including easy flat ones and workarounds, in Issue 37.