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.
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.
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?