photoshop creative

How can you perfect animal portraits?

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Q&A, by Mark White
March 16, 2017

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Editing pictures of animals is a completely different process to how you’d edit a picture of a human. Facially, lighting and shading needs to be different, and you must bring the detail out in the fur, rather than smooth away the detail of skin.

Colouring is a good place to start; go to the Fill Layer icon (to the le􏰀 of Mask) and choose Levels. Tweak the stoppers to increase the contrast, and use the drop- down RGB menu to alter the colours of the animal. Merge everything to a layer at the top of the stack (Cmd/Ctrl+Alt/Opt+Shi􏰀+E), go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and choose 40px. Set to So􏰀 Light to add a subtle so􏰀 focus.

Hit Cmd/Ctrl+Alt/Opt+Shi􏰀+E once more; set the layer to Multiply, 60% Opacity, hit mask, then Cmd/Ctrl+I and brush in shading around the face. Repeat this, only this time set to Screen and brush in highlights. Create a new So􏰀 Light layer, fill with #808080 and again, brush on lighting and shading a little more, with a bigger brush.

Lastly, tweak Brightness/Contrast and Hue/Saturation via the Fill Layer icon, and go to Filter>Other>High Pass. Choose 4px and set to Overlay to sharpen.