Enhancing the Giant Egotistical Cat

Bud the Cat, with Splashy Sunlight

Bud the Cat, with Splashy Sunlight

Starring, Mighty Bud, my purrtector during these difficult times. He’s a large, deep sable brown and white tuxie. His great arcing whiskers and grass green eyes came from his mother Anna, now passed on. She’s pictured in the website banner, above. After I told him, “These techniques will show you off even more”, he agreed to head the household committee on photo editing. Not that he really needs a boost to his already uh, robust sense of self-worth.

Most of my photos aren’t edited. The main exceptions are the ones I’ve used the brush tool to ‘paint’. Described in this post: https://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/brightening-cat-photos-with-added-color/

Photo editing adds another dimension of artistry, and almost everyone uses it. Since I came late to computers, I’m an absolute novice at it. Now the husband is slowly infusing my head with techniques I didn’t know the old editing program could do. So in the photo above I used a “curves” box and tweaked between lightness and darkness, and then used the “brightness and contrast” sliders. I had no idea what I was looking for. I stopped when I felt like Bud looked sharper.

Mid-March, early spring, leaves are scarcer and smaller; sunlight blasts through the canopy. I left the door in the photo because it does not draw focus away from the cat shape, so it made pictorial sense to reveal the main light source behind the highlights and shadows. When venturing just beyond reality, things still need to look reasonable.

I painted the background, then didn’t exactly like the resulting color. So I used the “replace color” feature to get the hues closer to what I wanted. A problem for me with this editing program is that it changes any trace of a chosen color throughout the picture. Because sunlight is comprised of all colors, and bounces and refracts a bit when it crosses fur, there were bluish and purplish highlights on Bud that became more saturated when the background was changed. I fixed some and left some.

I know, this is all rudimentary stuff to seasoned photo editors and artists.

Bud keeps track of everything I post on the computer

Bud keeps track of everything I post on the computer

In the above photo I’ve used the curves and sliders, and then color replacement to make the eyes greener. This pushes the hue and intensity beyond the natural colors I actually see in Bud’s eyes daily, but works for the picture, I feel. You also see the green that popped out elsewhere on Bud when I did this. I left it, for now, because this work is so labor intensive for limited me.

Bud the Cat in repose

Glorious Bud

This photo got tweaked every whichaway. I used the “polygon lasso” to increase eye color. I pushed the light-dark-bright-contrast continuum slightly beyond nature for effect, purposely making a picture that could be called ‘too contrasty’. I painted the background twice, didn’t like the orange I began with.

These ‘tricks’ of editing could enhance pictures of black cats, who are said to be so difficult to capture well. Wish I’d been familiar with these tweaks at the time I wrote my post about Black Cat Noir beauty and how to capture it:


I ran through multiple gradations in each editing feature before choosing one. You can go way out there into the wildly extra-natural or stick with subtle enhancement. For me they take so much draining work, I’ll never explore more than a few permutations. But I would like to find out how to glaze a layer of semi-transparent hue over a section of a photo, with a few clicks, so it doesn’t have to be ‘painted’. I know that can be done ’cause I’ve seen it. I’ve seen that with kitty whiskers and furry feline outlines showing through. I’d want a choice of the full spectrum of hues; those ‘replace color’, and ‘lasso’ techniques seem to offer a limited hue range. The husband did work out a way to place a solid color over part of a photo, but I’m not so fond of smooth unbroken color fields in pictures. I like things ‘painterly’. Alongside the painted or overlaid settings, for now, I want to mostly preserve the marvelous color-light-shade balance of sunrays and/or artificial illumination on the cat face, form, and pelage.

So from this date most of my cat photos here will be enhanced. Landscapes will likely be right out of the camera. I’ll designate either way.

Bud, you Magnificent Beast, you’re in every picture of this post; you happy now, big fella?

About Leah

I'm Leah T. Alford, a writer fascinated by the natural world and animals, especially cats.
This entry was posted in Art, Cat Topics, Cats, Nature and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to Enhancing the Giant Egotistical Cat

  1. Ellen Hawley says:

    Egotistical? A cat? Surely not.

  2. Cat says:

    You’re lucky to have such a handsome “purrtector”! He’s a beautiful boy.

  3. The photos of Bud all came out looking nice….I enjoyed your post. I also have a lot of fun with the editing soft ware, and try different things until the picture feels right. I am a complete amateur when it comes to processing photographs, but some come out 🙂 Thanks for the interesting post!

    • Catwoods says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post, bluerthanindigo, and thank you for your kind words! I find photo editing really exciting, but it would take much more time and energy than I have to really explore it.

  4. He is a gorgeous subject!

  5. RMW says:

    Purple looks good on him as it does on all royalty!

  6. Love the posterized backgrounds! Now do tell– does Bud sit on your lap & backseat edit with you? My cat certainly would! 🙂

    • Catwoods says:

      I’m so glad you like the pictures, Lori! You have Bud pegged, he has a huge role in the editing process. (He always leans towards, more Bud in the posts.) His preferred way of making his wishes known is to jump onto the keyboard, which helps keeps me alert so I can move it out of his way in time.

  7. sunsetdragon says:

    I love you kitties, but then I also love all kitties. Your Bud is a handsome boy.

  8. Is it fresh or degeorno[sic] frozen pizza? Photo editing is a craft within itself. I liked the editors that had the button: fix it or something to that effect. I push and it was done. You can end up spending more time fixing (that’s what I do is “fix”) the photos rather than writing post text!

    • Catwoods says:

      Well it would be good to have that ‘quick fix’ button! Editing is time-consuming, but to me as a visual artist it’s a new world with endless possibilities. However, because of my limited time and energy, I won’t always use it.

  9. chattykerry says:

    Bud looks great with every effect – well done! I like him surrounded in regal purple.:)

  10. Thanks for the photo editing tips, your cat piccies are lovely. 🙂

  11. moégrrl says:

    Reblogged this on MoéGrrL.

  12. Deziz World says:

    Well take it fwum us, yous no novice. We didn’t unnerstand anyfin’ yous sed or did. MOL Mommy’s old and new to all this hers selff and foto shoppin’ is a weal lesson fur her. And altho’ she recognized a few of da words yous used, she has no idea how to use those tools. MOL We luvved all da fotos. We fink Bud looks weally handsum.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Lexi

    • Catwoods says:

      Thx Dezi and Lexi, Bud will be very pleased. I enjoyed looking at your pictures! I didn’t grow up using computers so I’m new to everything compared to younger folks. I’ve gone at photo editing slowly, and it helps to have an experienced person give you pointers. There are also books about it, I will probably read one but have not so far.

      • Deziz World says:

        Fank you. Mommy be purretty good at da point and click foto apps. MOL She twied usin’ dat lasso fing once, bein a cowgirl she figgered she kuld do it no purroblem, but OMC she was so lost and finally had to chuck da foto cuz she kuldn’t figger out what to do, MOL Mommy didn’t gwo up wiff puters eever, and then had hers accident when da innernet became pawpular fur homes and she kuldn’t use one much less affurd one. this be our furst ever catputer and weez only had it a kupple years now so she’s still learnin’ everyfin’.

        Luv ya’

        Dezi and Lexi

        • Catwoods says:

          There was one form of the lasso, the ‘magnetic lasso’ I couldn’t use either, because I have loss of fine finger coordination and strength. I used the ‘polygon lasso’, where you can move for short distances and complete the ‘loop’ that way, then click when you get back to the starting point; the area is then surrounded by ‘marching ants’ and you can then adjust your colors. Much easier, for me, anyway.

  13. abbylynn says:

    photos look great. Above all, I think you have a super model/subject!

  14. arlingwoman says:

    Sooner or later, I’m going to explore this editing pictures thing. When I read something like your post and see the results, I think, hmmm, I should try that! But it’s a way off, I think. Your Bud is beautiful.

    • Catwoods says:

      Bud and I thank you! It was kind of a big jump for me to start doing this. When I started painting the backgrounds it was because they were too busy, and I felt they distracted the eye from the subject. I had to get used to the idea of making changes in the cat himself.

  15. Bud is absolutely gorgeous! 😀

  16. joey says:

    I like how you used the word painterly.
    He’s a handsome cat, and surely he is proud to be the center of such an expose! 🙂

  17. D.S. says:

    What a beautiful kittie, Leah! Bud looks like he’s brimming with feline personality — whether the photos have been enhanced or not. 🙂 I’m really fascinated with your description/explanation of how you used the artistic tools to enhance the photos. I’ve just started using a new app, LINE Brush Lite, and I’m finally getting used to working with it. Sometimes I think I get carried away playing with the tools — instead of writing, lol. Anyway, I love what you’ve done here … and I love Mighty Bud! Hope you’re enjoying this mild autumn so far. 🙂

    • Catwoods says:

      Oh Bud would absolutely love you, you say all the things he likes to hear! I’ve been seeing the new drawings you are making; it looks very exciting and I really love the art you’re making with it. I’m just using an ancient photo shop program. I enjoy the milder autumn weather, we were 20 degrees below normal for a few days, but will get back to 80’s this week. Sometimes we stay there until Nov. or longer. Anyway I think leaf changes are underway elsewhere, but just beginning here. Warmest wishes always, Leah

      • D.S. says:

        And Bud deserves every good word! I was so glad to learn of your technique with your tools — I find that so interesting, and educational. I’m just sort of floundering with my app, but I do thank you for you kind words re: my graphics. I have no standards for my art — which makes them very attainable! LOL Yes, it got colder here, too, but now we’re on a warm up. The leaves are just starting to turn. Soon, I expect, I’ll be outside with rake in hand. 🙂 Have a great evening!

  18. Timothy Price says:

    I love your kitty photos. Fun with editing.

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you so much! The editing is indeed lots of fun!

      • Timothy Price says:

        I do very little editing anymore, except for when I really need to or it really makes sense. The composite photo I did of the blood moon a couple of Sundays ago was the most editing I’ve done it a long time.

        It’s mostly because the OS and programs are getting way ahead of my computer hardware, and I don’t want to upgrade the hardware. So as programs quit working or start giving me too much grief over lack of memory, etc. I simply do the minimum or use depth of field and exposure for the effects I’m looking for.

        • Catwoods says:

          That’s very interesting! I went and looked at your sites and your photos are just beautiful! You have the mastery to control effects by adjusting the camera. I’m not really a photographer, I’m a frustrated painter.

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