Lacking a nice photo today I decided to post a mini-tutorial on my previous image titled "a moment in time...". Here's a before and after image for this photo. Before is out of the camera and after is of course the post processed version.
Onto the steps then :)
First I opened up the image and as I usually do set the bit depth to 16bit to capture all tones (which aminus3 usually throws away anyway). Then I attempted two curves adjustments which kinda failed... So i disabled them and moved on to the next step which was colour balance. Here I boosted the green in the midtones and shadows to get a nicer green to the leaf and respectively background. However, for the highlights I went for a cyan/magenta mix to get a nice bluish light on top of the leaf and make it look like a natural source and not a photo painted all green.
Next step was not necessary really, I boosted the saturation by about 20, but that's just me, I like them saturated. However this brought a lot of noise into the picture.
Then a tricky step. I created a new layer and filled it with Overlay default colour which is gray. Using a soft brush at a small opacity (5%-20% depending on the region) i pretty much dodged and burned the leaf. The drop was dodged, the contours of the leaf and the nerves were burned to bring out more detail.
Then, using the pen tool I made a path around the leaf and drop to isolate them from the background and used a 20px feather (which is ok for an 8mp image) to make sure they blended together nicely. I did a brightness/contrast on the background, and then inverted the mask on a new layer and did the leaf. Background got brighter and more contrasty, leaf got brighter and a lot more contrasty (85%).
After that I saved the psd and saved the leaf selection as a path. I merged all layers, loaded up the selection of the background and added a rather large 60px gaussian blur to the background to remove the noise.
And that's pretty much it. I hope you appreciate this and spread it around, maybe some will like it and get turned on to post-production and digital editing in general. :)
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