Thanks Ziggy thats a good alternative, but I'm actually more interested in how to set up the lighting to shoot it without having to do a lot of post processing.
... The set up Ziggy explained with the translucent plexi with lights in the back and lights underneath the table is the way we used to do it in the studio that I worked at in NYC back in the early 80's. I remember spending a lot of time flagging off the strobes to make sure the light only hit where we wanted as well as flagging off the lens to make sure no extraneous light bounced around the elememts to destroy the color. The set looked more like a film set with all the grip stands, sand bags , flags and scrims everywhrere. Not to mention a lot of polaroids... It is so easy today with Photoshop , it just amazes me. ...
I was either secondary/backup or principal photographer for 31 years doing product and display advertising images. We started with a 4x5 Crown Graphic, moved up to a Calumet monorail 4x5 (wore one out and bought another), and then digital in 1995 with the Kodak DCS-460 that cost a very real $16,000 in 1995. I convinced them to upgrade that in 2003 to the Sony F828. Later, I started using my own equipment as well.
Digital does help in processing, but the exposure has to be dead on for many subjects and the light has to be relatively less contrasty.
The company produced replacement hardware for households as well as farm and industrial hardware. They had shiny finished stuff like chrome, polished brass and bright steel and then black and white painted pieces as well. We shot everything from component pieces of maybe 1/2" in length to 48 foot displays.
The point is that the lighting component of the image setup was very similar, whether film or digital. Each had benefits and limitations, but digital had enough benefit overall to make me never want to go back.
Landscapes are still pretty desirable on 4x5 transparency material, formed by that perfect Rodenstock or Schneider optic. (Where's the drool smilie?)
Thanks for the trip down memory lane!
Almost 13 years, and almost no major change whatsoever - Pen tool or Select>Color range will both accomplish the selection today -
The Pen tool still works great but does require just a bit of use to become really proficient with it - Naive PhotoShop users usually haven't mastered the Pen tool early in their Photoshop travels.
Color Select will grab a white background that is a couple stops brighter than the subject pretty reliably.
Or one can continue in Photoshop to Refine Edges or Select and Mask
Despite all the PS capability, proper lighting and flagging CAN and WILL make the selection tasks faster and easier.