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IT'S EASY AS 1, 2, 3...

The Original
Here's Bubba! Cats pose where they want to pose, not necessarily where you'd like them to. Taken with an Olympus D600L in late afternoon light, it's a mess...except for Bubba, of course...he looks wonderfully composed...just as a Southern cat named "Bubba' should. The background needs to be simplified, there's an odd light spot on his head, and both eyes are a bit soft, with the right one (to your left) needing some brightening. He's on a glass table, too, and that could use some fixing. Best of all, no artistic talent is going to be required...not a steady hand nor the ability to draw a straight line.

Original
Original

Step One

I've used photo tool equivalents of hammers, saws, and screwdrivers, not fancy stuff. First, I'm going to sharpen both eyes, and lightened the right one. That's done by picking a brush size about the same diameter as the eye, placing its outline over the eye, and just clicking. The more times you click, the brighter (or sharper) the eye gets. You can check it out visually by undoing and redoing as many steps as necessary with PhotoFix or Picture Window. Next, I've picked the clone (or rubber stamp) tool to extend Bubba's black fur into the light spot at the top of his head. Simply click on an area you want to duplicate and then stamp (or brush) it over another, as I've started to do with the background.

Step 1
Step 1

Step Two

The background is finished. Of course, sometimes I went a bit too far and part of Bubba disappeared. That's when multiple undo/redo can save hours of work. Just undo as many steps as you need to, and try it again. You'll also notice I made the glass tabletop into a blanket by cloning again. I've also smoothed out some of the fur on Bubba's back with yet more cloning, and the picture is pretty much finished. Everything is subtle and not overdone; in fact you may have some trouble telling the subtle differences between elements in one picture compared to another because the photos have been compressed to download quickly and not keep you waiting.

Step 2
Step 2

Step Three

Here's the final picture. I could have asked the program to give it more overall sharpening, but I preferred a softer look. I did let PhotoFix take a crack at automatically improving contrast and color, which it did a fine job of. Compare it with the original. I did it with only three tools...clone, sharpen, and brighten...not the entire arsenal. It took me about 20 minutes. After you spend a few days getting the hang of the program, you could get the same results in less than an hour.

Step 3
Step 3

 



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