The false impression of reflection is
among the most ordinary applications on gradients.
They regularly are of two types:
- Highlights caused by light
reflecting on shiny surfaces
- That shiny table effect!
Over the past couple of years,
realistic effects of water droplets, shiny plastic buttons, glass
beads, etc, have been extremely in trend.
I have no idea about where the trends
first began, but Apple's web site must have been one of the most
influential, preceding their Aqua
interface look & feel.
Here are some examples:
The classic Apple.com
tabs, still in use today.
They utilize highlights caused by a
light source on top of the tabs, collectively with an inner, disperse
glow that makes the plastic effect.
These tabs, from one of my recent
redesigns, have a polished (from the strong white highlight) carbon-fibre
appearance. The carbon effect comes from the warm diagonal-stroke
pattern from the icon's glow.
A more nice, shiny plastic. Observe
the way in which the reflections fall off at the edge of the shape,
thereby producing the illusion of rounded edges.
The same effect on a square shape
appears like a badge.
A sense of dynamism is produced by
the non-horizontal angle.
shiny button makes use of a rounded reflection that recommends a wide
light source coming off a rounded surface.
This button from web
hosts Mediatemple has a more diffuse reflection, suggesting a
matt glass finish.
That shiny table effect!
Pioneered by Apple again (I'm sure).
This is a really nice effect which is so prevalent now, it's in danger
of being overused, now starting to look tired and is falling out of
favour with designers.
Remember, of course, that web
designers are usually more sensitive to these things, so even if we're
getting turned off by it, the general public may still think it's cool
for some time to come.
The standard Apple look. Greyed-out
and fading on a white base.
On a coloured background
Fading out to either side
More extreme angle, and a rich layered
effect reflecting the colour of the solid object
Here's how to do it (from photoshoplab.com)
Here is video tutorial on how to make