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Original Photo: enter image description here

Masked Photo (in photoshop): enter image description here

I used a black background as to make it supposedly easier to see the object. But I guess since it's transparent it messes it up.

I was using a photography box for this so the black is near the transparent object.

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    I'm not seeing any hint of a white backdrop. Could you clarify? – Tetsujin Aug 9 '19 at 8:09
  • Sorry I meant black – Pherdindy Aug 9 '19 at 9:31
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Kind of, but it won't look right. You can set the black BG as the white point using a levels adjustment layer. This will make the image almost entirely white. Then use the layer blending option and set the layer to only affect darker tones. This will leave you an image that is light and mid tones. Mask out the surrounding BG as required, and put a white layer underneath everything.

The problem is then that your highlights and shadows are primarily inverted from where they should be. And that is because you used a black BG; because it makes it easier to see the translucent material highlights.

The right way to do it would be to take the picture on a white/light BG and use negative lighting (black cards/fabric) for the translucent plastic to reflect. Then, all of the edges/lines that are currently white would instead be black. It's not really important that the BG photograph as pure white, that can be edited... what is more important is the correct tonal relationships in the image as recorded.

Here is a quick edit done as I described (if it is not your image, or you disapprove of me posting it, I will remove it).

enter image description here

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  • This looks interesting :o) – Rafael Aug 12 '19 at 16:53
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I don't see an attempt at a white background either.

Pure white is rather easy to obtain, have a white background (quite far) behind the subject and blow it out with a flash (which is itself behind the subject). The trick part is getting white without getting a bloom on the edges of the subject, so use the histogram to see when you get white and don't go further. Your background will be pure white out of the box.

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  • I don't see how this answers a post-production answer. It merely suggests the use of a physical white backdrop – timvrhn Aug 9 '19 at 9:19
  • @timvrhn It also tells how to make the white backdrop appear white in the final product. The question is not just about post-prod, it is about shooting+post-prod, and this shows a way to minimize post-prod. – xenoid Aug 9 '19 at 10:08
  • But that is not what OP is asking. I agree they ought to have gotten it right when shooting, but that's not what the question is about – timvrhn Aug 9 '19 at 10:21
  • Thanks for the help. Any method in general is good. I am not sure using a plain black background was the best choice also in order to get a clear shot of the transparent object. The distance of placing the white background seems to be the key here which I never thought about – Pherdindy Aug 9 '19 at 10:29
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I agree with the suggestion to use a white backdrop with transparent objects if you need a white background. It will be nearly impossible to apply a realistic whitening through the transparent plastic. Just use any white fabric. You may need to backlight a little or set your lights at a lower angle to shine through the plastic from the side. You'll also need to punch up the contrast a bit.

If you simply want to show transparency, buy a cheap poster frame. Paint the backside of the glass with 6-7 coats of gloss black paint. It makes a high contrast black mirror on the front side. Transparent objects look great on it. Use an antistatic cloth to remove dust. Don't scratch it. Don't use mirror spray because it is silver. You want regular glossy black spray paint.

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  • IDT gloss black paint is the best choice. It will keep the back of the glass more reflective and contribute to double reflections. Flat black would be better, and then the first surface (top) provides the single reflection desired. If the glass is thin enough it may not matter... in which case you could just place it on top of black paper/fabric instead of painting it. – Steven Kersting Aug 12 '19 at 13:58

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