Before & After: Peony Gesture

Peony Gesture

Peony Gesture

After the rather complicated Before & After from Yesterday, I thought I’d show a much simpler example.

Original Image

Original Image


Refer to the Layer Panel below for an edit overview.

Base Edits

  1. This was photographed in natural light, so the background is not completely white. I first retouched out the clamp and floral foam base.
  2. I made the background image (peony) into a layer by double-clicking the layer.
  3. Then I added a layer below the peony and filled it with white.
  4. Then I selected the background with the magic wand, feathered it 2 pixels and used the selection to create a layer mask.
  5. I then inverted the mask so that the background now revealed the white from the layer below.


  1. I created a merged copy of the the based edits. (See: Photoshop Keyboard Shortcut: Copy Visible and Paste In A New Layer)
  2. Then I ran the Oil Paint filter In Photoshop CS6. I used a high Stylization setting, a medium Cleanliness setting and 0 Shine. (See: Using The Oil Paint Filter In Adobe Photoshop CS6)
  3. I then gave the image a levels adjustment as I’ve found the Oil Paint filter tends to flatten the contrast.
  4. Then I created a merged copy of these two layers. (first I turned off the base edit layers that I no longer needed.)
  5. Then I applied the Topaz Labs Detail 2* filter with the Creative Detail Accent preset.


  1. I then added the Heirloom2 texture from the Glorious Grunge collection.
  2. Blend Mode: Multiply / Opacity: 88%
  3. I added a levels adjustment layer with a clipping mask to brighten the highlights of the texture.
  4. I added a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer with a clipping mask to subtly shift the color from a green gray to a warm gray.
Heirloom 2
Heirloom 2 texture / Glorious Grunge collection


  1. I then added a sheet of vintage French script
  2. Blend Mode: Normal / Opacity: 100%
  3. I added a layer mask filled with black.
  4. With one of the free grunge brushes, I revealed selective areas of the script by painting with white.
  5. Then I copied the script layer, moved it and shifted the text around to see another area of the page.

That’s a mouthful for something that was quick and fast! Look at the Layer Panel to see it broken down visually.

Layer Panel

 The Script Page

This one is not yet available in the store, but any script page will do. (I’ll get some on the store soon.)

script page

Vintage French Script Page

Let me know if this Before & After has too many details. Would you prefer simpler examples that just give general details?

Topaz Labs Filters is an affiliate link. I get a small commission from any sales resulting from a click from this site (at no extra cost to you.) I really do love these filters. Nearly all of my own images use one of these filters. Thanks for supporting the site.

Find Glorious Grunge and other Textures on the French Kiss Collections Store

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18 Responses to Before & After: Peony Gesture

  1. lyne nagele June 2, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    No the details are great; in fact, i’m probably the only one who doesn’t quite get how to use the magic wand tool or even the quick selection tool. I am looking for a tutorial or even a class to teach me this. I can’t wrap my brain around it. I tried this morning and I can’t get it to work. Oh, how I wish it did because working with it looks much cleaner than throwing textures over and painstakingly masking off. Can you direct me to somewhere, anywhere to get this technique (masking using wand or quick selection?)

    Lovely work by the way:)

    • Leslie Nicole June 3, 2012 at 11:54 am #

      Hi Lyne,

      Try out Kelby Training. They have an entire class on learning how to use the selection tools. Right now, they are having a special you can get a 24 hour pass to try out their classes. Note though that I don’t usually use selection tools for textures – it usually looks too harsh. Manual masks made by building up a little at a time usually work better. I use a selection tool when I’m really trying to isolate the background. In this case, I just wanted to make the background more of an even white. For the actual mask of the flower on this one I did a very rough mask – most of it is lightly covered with texture. Look closely at the layer panel for the mask. Gotta learn to love the layer mask. 😉 think of it as knitting. Put on some music to groove or an audio book.

  2. Leona Parks June 2, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

    I believe that most of us prefer the detailed explanation since we all come from different levels of expertise and there are different ways to achieve the same thing. For those who don’t need the detailed explanation they can skim over the familiar parts. For the rest of us it is valuable workflow info. Thanks!

  3. dontstealmypen June 3, 2012 at 4:06 am #

    Omigosh, you are SO generous, and I am learning so much from you. I really like the technical stuff because it’s stretching my technical & cognitive abilities, and my goal this year is to really learn the ropes in PS and increase my skill set. Your visual instructions are very much appreciated. So, thank you!
    dontstealmypen recently posted..Friday—The Art Gallery

  4. Janice McCafferty June 3, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    Oh, the details are great,especially how you set up the actual shot.
    Thanks for a great tutorial.

  5. Dale Hardin June 3, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

    Thank you Leslie for these wonderful tutorials. I love the detail and especially the well documented layers pallet. That alone is gold.

  6. Ginger (msbelle) June 4, 2012 at 12:36 am #

    So thankful you are willing to share! It is so greatly appreciated. Amazing results! It’s so beautiful.
    Ginger (msbelle) recently posted..Hello Again

    • Ginger (msbelle) June 4, 2012 at 2:16 am #

      I did not mean to link to my blog. I don’t know how I missed the link. You do not have to publish that comment by any means as I didn’t come here to advertise myself, but to thank you for sharing. Feel free to delete it!

      • Leslie Nicole June 4, 2012 at 7:06 am #

        Hi Ginger, no problem – that’s what the comment luv link is for. I can usually tell when someone has left a SPAM message just for the link. A canned response with a link to Viagra. 😉 Links back to actual reader’s blogs are encouraged. xx

  7. Suzan June 4, 2012 at 2:18 am #

    Never too many details. Being able to see each step makes for better understanding and the ability to go back over and re-read. Thanks to you I’ve become a fan of the many masks also realizing most selection tools do make unsightly edges. Coming here and learning has become a delight and I thank you heartily.


  8. Lorelei June 4, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    The details are so helpful. Thank you, thank you! I always learn something so useful when I study your tutorials. So grateful for your generosity!
    Lorelei recently posted..Classic Beauty . . . Knoxville, TN Children’s Photography

  9. Liz July 1, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    PLEASE PLEASE keep all the detail, this was brilliant, I would never have thought about using a piece of flower foam and a clamp! Certainly opened my eyes on how some of the basic design is created! As much detail as possible is the best way to go.
    I always love your work, it is so amazing and totally inspirational, thank you for sharing it with us.

    • Leslie Nicole July 7, 2012 at 9:21 am #

      Thanks so much for the comment, Liz. Sorry I didn’t see it right away – I’ve been lost in production land the past week! It’s really helpful for me to get these comments. xx

  10. Carol Trim August 20, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    Dear Lesley

    I have just ‘discovered’ French kiss and love it, I am an Australian who lives for 6 months a year in France.
    I am learning some fabulous new techniques from you but I am embarrassed to admit that I am trying to follow the Peony tutorial and do not know how to:

    Base Edits

    Then I selected the background with the magic wand, feathered it 2 pixels and used the selection to create a layer mask.
    I then inverted the mask so that the background now revealed the white from the layer below.

    I wonder if you could clarify this part particularly invert the mask.

    Thank you for your amazing webpage.

    • Leslie Nicole August 23, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

      Hello Carol,

      Welcome! I could have done those steps differently. I could have instead inverted my selection of the background so that the flower was selected – (command + shift + i mac) (control + shift + i PC) but since I made a layer mask with the background selected the layer mask was masking out the flower instead of the background.

      So to invert what is in the layer mask, just make sure the layer mask is selected and then hit command +i or control + i.

  11. Ruth Drews March 23, 2015 at 8:03 pm #

    I just started working with textures, so I could use all the details….great stuff on your website….


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