Aby-a-Day – 3 August: What I did instead of packing for Copenhagen (Photoshop Friday)

Yeah, so…after yesterday’s post about Lorelai “helping” Björn in the kitchen, you knew I had to do this…

Aby-a-Day – 27 April: Cats with tiny faces is a thing (Photoshop Friday)

Well…it has been a depressing couple of weeks around here, hasn’t it? Time for something pointless and silly. I found this a while ago: Apparently, cats with tiny faces is a thing now. Okay, I’m game. Let’s play.

I don’t think it works well with Abyssinians…

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Oh, that’s just silly.

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Oh, that’s not too bad.

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Yeah, just as I suspected. It works better on solid (or mostly solid) coloured cats.

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And last but not least, a tiny little Singapura stink-eye. Well, it was kind of fun to do…not sure how impressed I am with the results, though.

Aby-a-Day – 19 January: Pam Dave Zarings style portraiture (Photoshop Friday)

If you haven’t seen the hilariously bad “professionally” retouched family photos a woman posted on her Facebook account last week, you just might want to click those two hyperlinks above and take a look.

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And, of course, some clever person figured out how to get this hot new Photoshop look that’s trending right now. A Finnish Photoshop expert created a tutorial on how to recreate the captivating and bewitching look. Well, I’m always up for a good Photoshop challenge (like the Woodpecker, Snowmobile, and Man Bun memes), so I thought I would try it on Jacoby and Angel. I took this photo of Jake (appropriately enough, on the ferry leaving Helsinki) and created the masterpiece at the top of this post

I couldn’t find a brightly-lit photo of Angel’s face, so I used this one of her in a tree:

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And I came up with this:

I don’t think it works quite as well with cats as it does with humans, because the unretouched hair is part of what make the faces look so…odd. I tried get the same effect with the ears, but it’s just not quite the same.

Aby-a-Day – 12 February: Jake’s man bun (Photoshop/Fashion Friday)

So okay. Man buns, stupid as they may be, are a thing. Björn sent me this gallery of politicians rocking the man bun, and I was hit with inspiration.

Oh, yes I did. I took this photo of Jacoby and this Pinterest photo of a sad, sad hipster and brought the magic.

And there you have it: Jake with a man bun. Now can we stop this madness?

Aby-a-Day – March 20: Two into one (Photoshop Friday)

Here’s a simple one for you:

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I had this photo of Jacoby…

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…And this photo of Angel…

Which, cropped, make two absolutely lovely photos:

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One of Angel in the snow…

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…and one of Jake.

But I was rather intrigued with the little bit of Jake visible in Angel’s photo, and the little bit of Angel’s tail that you could see in Jake’s photo, so…

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…I put them together! Actually, I put the photos back together, as this is how they were standing when I took the original photos. I just knitted the two photos back together by making the canvas double the original width and pasting them next to each other (with a natural overlap), cleaning up the scene, merging the layers and then cropping them as a single image with the original proportions. I will say, though, that it is much easier to do this with a winter scene than with a summer one!

Aby-a-Day – March 6: On the wings of a woodpecker (Photoshop Friday)

So, I’m sure you’ve all seen the incredible and internet-infamous photo of a weasel riding a flying woodpecker by now.

If not, you probably saw my Wordless Wednesday post this week.

However, after I posted this on Wednesday, I got to thinking that…while it was good, it could be better. So, last night I went back and fixed it. And while I was doing that, I thought people might be interested in what I’d done to make Jacoby ride the woodpecker.

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For the quick original version, I went through all my photos of Jake looking for one of him in a pose similar to that of the weasel’s on the bird’s back. I finally decided on this one of Jake playing with the kittens in the Kitten Bowl.

Then, I found the biggest, highest-res image of the #WeaselPecker on the internet that I could, and I erased the weasel, leaving only the bird.

Then I scaled Jake down, put him on the bird’s back, and filled in the “holes” with colours taken from the bird and painted on underneath Jake using a feather brush. I also refined Jake’s edges using the “Refine Edge” tools under the “Select” menu. Then I toned Jake down to match the lighting on the bird a little better and put a slight motion blur (1 pixel) on him using the Motion Blur filter.

And it was good…but I knew I could do better. Jake’s front arm didn’t look right to me, his shoulder looked Photoshopped – even though it really wasn’t! – and I didn’t like the way his tail looked. So I went through the photos again, looking for arms and tails that would look better on my flying Jake.

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I found this photo of Jake hooking a toy with his paw, so I selected just his arm and shoulder, copied it onto a new layer over the current Jake and sized it down.

Then I erased the original arm, and blended the new arm in. Using the “Warp” function under the Transform menu, I tweaked the arm a little bit to make it look like Jake was holding onto the woodpecker’s neck (despite what National Geographic might think, it’s not that hard to make a mammal virtually hug a woodpecker).

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I also wasn’t happy with Jake’s tail. Even though that’s how it really looked in the original photo, on the back of the woodpecker it looked odd. So, I took Jake’s tail from this photo of him and Angel.

Just as I’d done with the arm, I selected the tail and part of Jake’s rump, pasted it onto a new layer, and blended in to the rest of Jake.

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I still wasn’t happy with Jake’s neck and shoulders in the original version. Even though they weren’t Photoshopped at all, they looked like they were – it looked like I’d attached Jake’s head and shoulders to a different body, even though I hadn’t. So I took a nice shot of Jake’s body that I had considered as a possible arm donor…

This time, I didn’t need to flip it. I sized the body piece down, placed it over the rest of the body, and blended it in using the eraser in brush mode, with one of my fur brushes.

I did one more tiny tweak to Jake’s tag, bending it back with the “Warp” tool to make it look like it was being blown back by the wind. Then, when I had all the body pieces blended together the way I wanted them, I merged the layers to create a consolidated Jake.

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I turned the woodpecker layer back on, placed Jake on the bird’s back, and touched up the empty spaces underneath Jake with the rubber stamp tool. Then I added a slight motion blur to Jake as well as a slight drop shadow. And there you go: Jake riding a woodpecker!

Aby-a-Day – February 6: This was a good decision (Photoshop Friday)

Remember this LOLcat I made last year?

It is, of course, based on the “I should buy a boat” Aby:

Recently, I discovered a continuation of the meme, in which Mr. Aby does buy his boat:

There’s also a “bad decision” version which is pretty funny, but it doesn’t use an Aby as the cat. And, since the “bad decision” is funnier, really, than the “good decision,” I came up with this…

But how did I do it? Well…I’ll show you. First, I found a photo of a snowmobile without a rider on it that I liked.

And yes, I did look for a green snowmobile if at all possible. I got lucky when I found this photo! I cropped it like this:

Then, I found a photo of Jacoby that would fit with the buried snowmobile.

Since he was already in snow, I didn’t have to do much to blend out the background to fit him into the churned snow behind the snowmobile.

I used a feathery brush to blend in the edges of the snow and his coat.

Here’s a close-up that shows how I’ve actually erased parts of Jake’s coat so that it looks like it’s buried in the snow even more than he actually was.

I also placed the text at the bottom for two reasons: one, to match the first LOLcat, which also had the text at the bottom, but also to disguise the Photoshop blending between the snow and Jake’s coat. I could probably do more to improve the lighting match between Jake and the background, but for an LOLcat, it’s good enough.