Photoshop – Cezanne Deconstructed

For our 2nd project, we’re working with a classic painting as an image source: Paul Cezanne’s “Still Life with Apples”


Photoshop is a powerful tool for working with rasterized images in layers. Since there are several different elements in this painting (Potted plant, fruit, plate, table, and wall), we’ll need to create new layers for these elements.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 7.28.42 PM

If you look in the lower right corner of this screenshot, you’ll see several layers listed (most cannot even be seen. There are that many).

Let’s take a closer look at some of these isolated elements:

This is where things get interesting. You’ve probably noticed that many of the objects overlap one another. How can we hope to get a whole lime when there’s a firkin’ lemon getting in our way?! Adobe has an answer for this: Content-aware fill

“Content-aware” is an algorithm which takes into consideration what the surrounding elements in an image are like: things like color, vale, texture, etc. Let’s try a practical example with our partial lime. We’ll start by selecting the lemon in this element:


Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 7.42.05 PM

Those “dancing ants” let us know what part of the image is going to be filled.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 7.47.30 PM

This is better, but it is still not perfect. You’ll notice that there is a “seam” where the content-aware fill applied its magic. We’ll need to handle this manually:

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 7.48.30 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-22 at 7.50.00 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-22 at 7.50.54 PM

I used the Healing Brush Tool to achieve this. This brush works in three steps:

  1. Select a “sample” area to determine what you want the “damaged” part of the image to look like.
  2. Paint over in small sections the area you want to heal.
  3. Repeat step 1, by selecting a new sampling area and then move on to heal a new small section

This method has allowed me to reconstruct the unseen portions of these visual elements. Next, we need to make these layers into separate files:

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.16.03 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.16.36 PM

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 8.45.09 PM.png

This is what the files look like in Finder. You can download copies of my PSD files here.




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