Perusing my image database today, I found this photograph of an ornamental cabbage that I took a few years ago. I didn’t like the glass vase showing and this simple capture really needed some post-processing love to portray the vibrancy of the original.
First, I needed to prepare the original image by lightening the right side of the image, retouching out the vase and extending the canvas. I did all of these using a layer mask.
- I converted the background layer (the cabbage photo) into a regular layer by double-clicking the layer in the Layer’s Panel.
- I then extended the canvas area on the top and sides. Image / Canvas Size.
- Then, I used a Levels layer adjustment to brighten the background.
- Next, I added a layer under the cabbage layer and filled it with white. (Hit D for the default color swatches, hit X to make sure the white is the foreground and then use Option + Delete (Mac) or Alt + Delete (PC).
- Using a layer mask on the cabbage layer, I carefully brushed (with black) to reveal more of the white-filled layer below. I used 100% where the vase was to eliminate it and lower opacities for the background. Be sure to use the softest brush for general lightening and a harder brush for edge details. I found it easier to do big sweeps with a very large soft brush along the right side and then go back in and clean up the leaves with a smaller brush.
- I then merged all of these edits into a layer above using the copy via merge feature. Command + Option + Shift + E (Mac) Control + Alt + Shift + E (PC)
- Finally, on the merged layer, I used OnOne’s Perfect Effects to bring out the saturation, clarity and detail.
(See the Layer Panel below)
Well, of course I decided this now needed a texture!
(Added above the base edits.)
- I used Smoothie from the Tableaux Collection. I liked the painterly feel of it, but I altered it using layer adjustments and clipping masks for hue/saturation, color balance, and I brightened it with levels.
- Blend Mode: Multiply, Opacity: 88%.
- I masked this layer to reveal the cabbage better.
(Topmost in layer panel.)
- I then added Faith from the Glorious Grunge Collection.
- Blend Mode: Multiply, Opacity: 79%
- Again, I used a Levels layer adjustment with a clipping mask to brighten the texture a little.
- This texture required very little masking.