Making A Fake Plant

Jun 1, 2024 | Lifestuff

There are so many photos of fantastical plants making the rounds on social media. Black Iris with neon-colored veins and white stars…pink Hosta with orchid-like spires of flowers…one more outrageous than the next, and always people who think they are real. So this morning I decided to have some fun with Photoshop’s AI feature and make some fake plants for myself. Here is what I did, start to finish. 




I started with a photo that I took of a group of 6 sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana) seed pods. This is an accurate photo of the color and shape of this native tree’s seed pods…and you have to admit that they are both interesting and lovely. Note that a red seed is popping out of one of the pods…the seeds are magical as well! No need for enhancement, but let’s have some fun.

I drew petal-shaped lines at the base of all of the pods, and then opened the Generative Fill option in Photoshop 2024. When the box came up, I typed in “purple flower petals” and the AI filled those areas with the petals you see here. Not bad, but not fantastical enough. 

Next I used the lasso tool to select an oval-shaped area on top of the seed pod, and asked the generative feature to fill those with “red and yellow sepal-like petals.” A but subtle, but all the more realistic looking for it, I decided. These could be actual plants…

Finally, I circled small areas on the stem below the purple flowers, and asked AI to fill them with “fluffy, thin, yellow petals.” Now we’re talking more unusual, yes? These could be passed off as the latest Magnolia purpapetala, the hottest thing in wedding boutonnieres. I was tempted to add some bright orange stamens somewhere, but there’s only so much time I have to devote to fake flowers. 

I have to admit that I have trepidations about creating these…even with the intention of just having fun, and showing how such false photos can come into being, I’m aware that this might be contributing to the problem. It’s possible that among fake plants, Magnolia purpapetala might become an invasive species! So pass on the URL to this blog post, but not the finished photo. #friendsdontsharefakes 


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