Well, the following post does not cover a typical programming topic, but maybe even as a software engineer you might have to deal with (web) design from time to time. At least I did when developing a new website for a customer (http://heilmann-software.de).

While creating shiny and glossy effects seems to be a trivial task for the experts using Photoshop, I tried a lot until I got some good results with Gimp, the Open Source image editor.

My goal was to develop a “shiny table” effect from a screenshot that was rotated into the view. Below you can see an example (of the result, of course ;))

shiny table effect

Here are the steps to create such an image, starting with the plain screenshot.

1. Create a new image with the dimensions you wish. Choose a transparent background in the “New image” dialog.

2. Press Strg+L to open the layers dialog and delete the background layer.

3. Paste your screenshot and resize it to the desired with and height (it should have about the half of the height of your canvas).

4. Go to the layers dialog again and give the “Inserted layer” a proper name.

5. Duplicate this layer (right click on it, choose “Duplicate layer”)

6. …and give it a name like “shadow” - we will create the shadow from the duplicated image.

7. Now select the first layer again and use the “Perspective” tool from the toolbox to add the perspective effect by pulling the top right corner a little bit up. After that, pull the lower right corner down to add as much transformation as you want.

8. OK - all fine so far, so we can create the shadow. Select the second layer (Strg+L, then click on it) and move the duplicated image exactly under the original image, so that they touch at the right corners (lower right from original image to upper right corner from duplicate).

9. Flip your duplicate vertically.

10. Use the transformation/perspective tool again to drag the upper left corner of the duplicate to fit to the lower left corner of the orignal. Afterwards, pull the lower right corner of the duplicate down a bit so that the edges are in parallel.

10. You almost did it. Just give the “shadow” layer some transparency. This can be done in the layers dialog. Values around 40% to 50% seemed to give good results for me.

That’s it, your pic should now look like the one I presented above.
Feel free to ask, if you have some questions.

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