It was an especially nice day outside today, and I was inspired to get out and do a little yard-work, which I have been slacking on for the last 6-weeks because it’s been so hot and humid. Today was beautiful, however, and the excuses were all used up.
I was cleaning out and weeding our mulch-beds when I saw this by our font door. This has had a significant amount of development work done, but it is what I saw before I snapped the shutter.
The first thing I did in LR-classic, after the 1:1 aspect-ratio, was to manipulate the colors. I took the following channels to 0-luminance and 0-saturation; Aqua, Blue, Purple, Magenta, Red. The Orange and Green channels I boosted, in luminance and saturation, and the yellow was more-or-less as-is. This made things very garish and bizarre, but I knew that later processing would tone that down.
When I got this into PS, I opened DxO/NIK Silver Efex, and created a harsh, high-contrast B&W version. I then faded that B&W layer to a result that I liked, which was about 50% visibility. It is the super-saturated colors of the background layer, modified by a partial-opacity application of the B&W layer that gives this its jump-off-the-screen, hyper-real vibe. After this I added some NIK Color Efex “darken/lighten center”. This “shifts” the light up to brighten the top half and dim the bottom half.
After this, I painted on some PS-sharpening over the foreground stems and leaves individually. I didn’t apply blanket sharpening because I didn’t want to over-do the shadows and create a lot of excess noise. After this, I opened DxO/NIK Define for NR. The default NR formula didn’t damage the previous sharpening very much, so in this case I applied the NR to the entire image.
The intention here is to give this the appearance of a style of painting called “Trompe-l’œil”, which has been popular off-and-on throughout art history. So, this is a photograph, pretending to be an oil-painting, pretending to be photo-realistic, and hopefully, Subtly Surreal.