I love fruit… not only do I love to eat it… I love to make it into fun and interesting creations. This tutorial will show you how to make your fruit float. No, I do not have any levitation secrets from David Blaine, although that would be WAY cooler. Still, after following these steps you will be able to wow your friends and maybe FEEL a little bit like Blaine himself.
First, we will talk about the fruit and how to take the picture.
- Sliced Fruit or Vegetable
- White countertop or poster board
Photographing the fruit:
You will need a bit of patience for this, so make sure you have a little time to spare. After you have selected your fruit and sliced it, think of how you want it to appear. You can have it floating around in a random order like you are in space, or you can have it neatly arranged and spaced apart. I like clean lines and order, so that’s what we’ll do for my example. After you make your decision, it’s time to get out the toothpicks. Take the top most piece of fruit and stick three toothpicks in the bottom of it so it can stand on it’s own “toothpick tripod”. Continue to do this for each slice. When you get to the main piece of fruit, it may need two tripods to support its weight.
Great! You are on your way to having floating fruit of your own. Grab your camera and start taking pictures. Depending on where you have this set up, your camera settings will change. I take pictures in my kitchen which has a lot of natural light and white countertops. Let me tell you, I’ve really come to love our white laminate countertops which I used to despise! I like to take it overhead and on a slight angle so I can get some depth to it.
The lens and settings for this example are as follows:
- Lens: EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM
- Focal Length: 28.0 mm
- Exposure: 1/125 sec; f/8; ISO 4000
*Note – to get to a lower ISO, plan on using a tripod and lower shutter speed, flash or studio lighting. I was just doing this to play around so I was fine with the high ISO.
Editing the fruit:
Now it’s time to edit your picture. I will be using Photoshop to edit this, but any editing software you are comfortable with will do. You do not need to be a Photoshop Master Wizard to edit this picture, but it will be VERY helpful to have knowledge on how to use either the pen or lasso tool.
The first thing to do is select each banana piece. You can do it any way you want, as long as you are able to get a clean selection.
Once you have one piece selected “Command” or “Control” + “J” to jump it to a new layer.
Return to the original layer and repeat for each banana piece.
Your Layers Palette should look something like the image below.
Next, using the Clone Stamp tool, “stamp out” the toothpicks and shadows. Alt/Option Click to pick your sample area and keep resampling as needed. I used a large brush and sampled from the white space in the upper right corner.
The last step is to recreate some natural looking shadows. Command (or Control on PC) + Shift + Click each banana piece layer – this will select all of them.
Once they are all selected, go to the Select menu > Modify > Feather.
I recommend a Feather Radius of about 10 pixels.
Now go to the Layers Palette and create a new layer. Drag and drop it right above the Background layer. This will be the layer for your shadows.
Go to the color picker and choose a light gray. #BBBBBB works well. With your new layer selected and all of the banana pieces still selected, fill the selection with light gray.
Hit Command (or Control) + D to deselect the pieces. Then, using the the Move tool, move the shadow below the pieces so that it looks natural. If needed, adjust the opacity of the layer.
Feel free to touch up the picture as needed, or use your favorite MCP Actions to enhance the image.
Once you get this technique down, have fun practicing with other fruits and veggies!