30 Days of Creativity: Day 7

Saxon tackles a dragon!

My latest experiment is the result of a curious creativity surge and a Saturday evening with nothing else to do.  I wanted to work exclusively with Photoshop Elements®, also known as ‘Photoshop Lite’ by some.  I also wanted to do some work with layers and masking, neither of which I really know much about.  I do have a great book called Layers (2nd edition) by Matt Kloskowski, which helps to understand how to do a lot of cool things with layers.  However, you do have to poke around Elements a bit to find how to set the layers.  (Go to your layers stack, click on the layer of interest, then select what type of layer you want – Normal, Multiply, Dissolve, etc. – from the drop down menu.)

Likewise, I didn’t know how to set up a mask and I couldn’t find it from the main drop down windows.  However, this is where Matt’s book really helped me out – and thank you to Adobe® for putting this power into Elements!  There is a little button on the bottom on your layers stack that looks like a square with a circle cut out of it.  This will add a mask to your selected layer so you can work with it.

Naturally, I picked something nice and difficult to work with, like my furry cat.  I masked out the background (my window shades) and eventually had to copy the resulting image into its own layer.  I tried fill layers, but they kept showing me the background, so I grabbed an image off the internet.  This image is the Skyrim© dragon.  It made a nice backdrop and it looks as if Saxon, my cat, is trying to catch a dragon! 😉

Basement cat killz ebil dragon

Now, as for the colors… no, my cat is not purple.  He is actually black.  But I had taken the image inside so the white balance was off and he looked brown with yellow eyes.  (His eyes are green-yellow and look green more often than not.)  To to correct the white balance, I used the function Enhance>Adjust Color>Remove Color Cast.  Well, a purple cat is about as far away as you can get with this function, so I decided to leave it as not only a lesson learned, but because I thought it was fun. 🙂

I used another layer (select, copy & paste) to make the blanket green, just for contrast.  His eyes were the only serious thing I did: Enhance>Adjust Color>Adjust Hue/Saturation.  Now, it isn’t a perfect match, nor was it a perfect selection (zoom in on his left eye and you can see the flaw) but this is a little closer to his natural eye color – still yellowish, but green at the same time.  I know the selection around the cat isn’t perfect either, but I liked the back lit look so I didn’t try harder to fix it.

All-in-all it is a very “Photoshopped” image, but it was fun to make – and that’s the idea, isn’t it? 🙂

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