Combine Photoshop’s key tools to create this vegetable mashup and master the art of creative photocomposites
Download the start files from here
Grab the image of the peas in the pod from the cover disc. We need to remove the peas before placing in the tomatoes, so duplicate the Background layer using the Duplicate Layer option in the Layer menu. Two layers will now be visible in the Layers palette.
Pick out the Quick Selection tool from the Toolbar. Click and drag a selection over the inside of the empty half of the peapod. If the selection area overflows on to the other side, hold Alt/Opt and click over those areas.
Press Ctrl/Cmd+C followed by Ctrl/Cmd+V to copy and paste the selected area on to its own layer. Go to the Edit menu and to Transform>Flip Horizontal. Move this copied area over the peas to cover them up. This will also need enlarging using the corner points of the Transform box, holding Shift to keep proportions.
Select the Eraser tool and set it to 150px with 0% Hardness. Erase the edges of the copied section of the peapod to blend it in. The Clone Stamp tool, set to All Layers in the Options bar, will need to be used to retouch the small bits of peas out of the image.
Open up the image of the tomato from the cover disc and select the Magic Wand tool. In the Options bar, set Tolerance to 15 and click once on the white background to select it. For parts around the tomato not selected, hold Shift and click on those. Hold Shift and click on the white areas between the stalk.
Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+I to flip the selection and select the tomato. Go to the Select menu and down to Refine Edge. Increase Smooth to 2px and Feather to 1.2 and then try out the different masking previews to see how the changes affect the selection. Look to get a clean and smooth edge.
When happy with the selection, press Ctrl/Cmd+C to copy the tomato. Go back to image of the peapod and press Ctr/Cmd+V to paste the tomato into the image. Go to the Edit menu and down to Free Transform. Hold Shift while dragging a corner of the transform box to resize the tomato to fit into the pod.
Once the tomato is set in place, select the Move tool and while holding Alt/Opt drag the tomato to a new position in the pod. This creates a duplicate of that tomato as you drag it and placing it onto a new layer. Repeat this until there are six tomatoes lying in the peapod.
Select the Move tool and make sure that Auto-Select: Layer is selected in the Options bar. Now, whenever we click on a tomato, the layer is highlighted. Use Free Transform in the Edit menu to resize each tomato, making the furthest one the smallest to add perspective.
Click on the Create a New Group button in the Layers palette and drag each tomato layer into this. Go to Filter>Convert for Smart Filters and hit OK in the pop-up window. This enables us to apply a filter to all the layers non-destructively as the tomatoes are now Smart Objects.
Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and set Radius to 3px. The filter has a mask in the Layers palette. Use the Brush tool set to black to paint over the foremost tomatoes. Look to imitate the depth of field blur in the original photo with the tomatoes.
To make the tomatoes seem like they’re actually inside the pod, double-click on the layer to open up the Layer Style menu. Add a Drop Shadow style and set Opacity to 40px, Angle to 120, Distance to 55px, Spread to 0% and Size to 43px. This adds a soft shadow underneath them.
Add the Inner Shadow style and set Opacity to 55%, Angle to 120, Distance to 10px and Size to 57px. Hit OK to apply the new lighting to the tomatoes. Look to match the original lighting already in the image to better merge the two objects together.
To remove the bits of stalk over the top of the peapod, add a new layer mask to the tomatoes. Use the Brush tool set to a soft tip to remove the bits of stalk. Zoom in for more accuracy and make it seem as though they’re merging with the peapod.