Sometimes I wonder if I should go back to older images and re-do them in Photoshop. Of course I don’t do it, but in many cases it would make so much difference.
It’s incredible how much you learn and how this never ends. Of course it’s the tools as well. Take this bicycle for instance. I have used Topaz Detail to give it an extremely graphic and overdone look, basically by combining the presets “Creative Detail Accent” and “Micro Contrast Detail”. Then I have made a mask to restrict the effect to the bicycle alone. In the next step I have layered on top what I call my “Neutral Blur” (see “542 – The Show Is Over, Say Good-Bye” for details), and as base of the blurring I have taken the original image.
That’s something that I use very often: two opposite effects, both pretty overdone, layered in two groups, one above the other, and then I fine-tune the overall effect by varying group opacities. Whatever the result is, due to the leveling effect of the blur, it needs a “Levels” adjustment layer, and finally I do some sharpening, mostly in the mid-tones and probably again with pulled back opacity. Normally I also apply an edge mask to the sharpness layer, here I simply took the mask that I already had made. Does this make sense? Hmm … I really should make a tutorial of that.