Waffle House: My Beacon in the Night. (watercolor treatment)
I thought I would try my hand at a sort of watercolor effect with one of my photos. I chose the Waffle House shot because, well, as a night shot it already needs a lot of post-processing just to make it presentable what with all the digital noise and purple-fringes. So, I went with that.
To achieve this, I first used the sign from a different, darker exposure so the letters would stand out better (had to do some resizing and rotation to get the sign to fit). I applied a lot of contrast and saturation enhancement. I also adjusted the curves to bring the mid-values up. I sharpened the edges pretty heavily but then did a very heavy application of "edge preserving smooth." Twice.
After, I fiddled with a few elements. Straightened the photo so the center pole was truly vertical. Darkened the reflective section in the bottom, added a little bit of left-to-right motion blur to the reflective area to smudge it around a bit.
Then I added some texture to the whole thing, a wee touch of vignetting, and, "Et Voilà!"
Compare to my black and white cutout version.