Reflecting images on surfaces with Inkscape and GIMP

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Article updated: Since I wrote this article I learned a very neat trick about I was not aware, so the article is updated to include it, it is about applying a mask to get the partial transparency for reflection in Inkscape.

Reflecting images on surfaces with Inkscape and GIMP

This is a trick abused often: take an image and create its reflection on a surface to obtain a kind of perspective effect. Depending of your base image, style of work and target, it can be done in vectors (Inkscape) or raster (GIMP). Of course, it can be also made with 3D graphics, but this is out of the scope of this tutorial.
The graphics we will create will look like this:
reflection text reflection photo
A vector application in not as powerful for this job as a raster editor, but it allow a lot of things to be made.

Update: I was wrong, it is possible to do much better with vectors, read on: This is so awesome and can work with any complex image that I made a streamlined diagram:
reflection inkscape

This update made part of this article somewhat obsolete, but I left it included for historical reference. You can continue and read it (is still useful for some simple cases) or skip to the GIMP section.

Reflections with Inkscape (old)

This is the best you can do with Inkscape, for more complex images you may have to do the finishing in a raster editor:
reflection inkscape

Reflections with GIMP

GIMP is very powerful here, but once you got the image in it, you lose the benefit of the vectors (which is not necessarily a bad thing, a little later we will work with a photo). That was all!


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Update: a Romanian translation is also available.

 a disclaimer will appear here soon

Many thanks to my friends at, and Inovatika for motivating me to write this.