How to Create Dappled Shade with Photoshop

Creating dappled shade with Photoshop is a quick and easy way to liven up still life photographs. This photo made at a farmer’s market was mildly interesting but lacked visual punch.
before dapppled shade with photoshop

Cleaning up a couple of minor details, using curves to expand the dynamic range, and adding a dappled shade effect changed it to the image you see below.

dapppled shade with photoshop

The video shows the transformation in Photoshop step by step.

Here are the steps outlined in the video to make dappled shade with Photoshop

  • Look for obvious things to fix. (We cloned away a small bare spot and cropped the image to remove a distraction in the upper left.
  • Assess dynamic range with the eyedropper and info palette and then use curves to expand the range by making dark areas darker and light areas lighter
  • Create a 50% gray layer and set the blending mode to overlay
  • Use the paint brush set for low opacity and moderate fill settings to paint black on some areas and white on others.
  • Toggle the gray layer on and off to assess your progress. If you go too far, switch the brush color and paint over the area again but use a lower opacity to keep from simply reversing the effect you are trying to adjust.
  • In retrospect, I see that the picture could be improved by using a spray bottle to add moisture to the fruit. I would have asked the farmer if I could do that if I had been able to speak his language better.

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