Fluff Trumps All

Dina’s Wonderland

I love my cat Dina. She has been part of my wife and I’s family for approximately two years and gives us great joy with her companionship. When I tell people that I upgraded my iCloud storage to accommodate an excessive number of Dina pictures, they often don’t believe me, but the truth is Dina is a photo magnet.

Most people are already familiar with Alice in Wonderland and two of its most interesting characters: the Queen of Hearts and the Cheshire Cat.  While Dina is certainly sweeter than the queen and far less meddling than the cat, in our household she certainly shares Cheshire Cat’s omnipresence and the queen’s royal status.

While some fantasy builds entire new worlds full of strange creatures and exotic lands, some takes our world and tweaks our reality.  These tweaks broaden our perspectives on the elements that the fantasies still share with our reality.

The Quest

Take a picture of your pet. Then, using a picture editor (such as paint, or pixlr.com) over-edit your pet. Put makeup and add as many accessories as you want! You could even change the background and put your pet in a different situation!

For someone with as many photos of his/her pet as I have, there is ample to choose from for this prompt.

Welcome to Pet-Tropolis

Dina Pultz, Princess Paisley as her court referred to her, sat atop her velvet-upholstered throne. The quilting in the fabric, matted down with the winter coat she was beginning to shed, was in desperate need of power-bathing, vacuuming as the humans often called it.  Since her father had introduced domesticated humans to the household, cleaning had certainly become easier.  Instead of hacking up fur-balls every Spring, she simply had her servants comb the gray and white coat that enshrouded her.  In general however, she still liked bathing the old-fashioned way; ointments and oils did not suit her as they did her sister, and she enjoyed the casual act of cleaning with her own tongue.

While skeptical at first, she had come to appreciate her two attendants and even found herself enjoying their company.  Hollis and Meg were their names; they were a breeding pair King Pultz had obtained from the local man-trade.  The male, Hollis, was particularly gentle with her, always singing melodies during combing sessions to ease the tension of tugged undercoat, and petting her softly with words of encouragement during those dreadful claw-trimmings.  Meg was sweet and trained in the art of thread pictures.  While Dina had not previously understood the concept of mangling perfectly good toys into a piece of fabric, the cross-stitches Meg produced were intricate and colorful and brought a pleasant feeling to Dina’s home.

The Making of Her Royal Meowstriss

Adobe Photoshop is awesome. I haven’t touched it in years and, even though I never knew all the features, I am blown away by the power of the new version I downloaded from Adobe.  After my install completed, I walked through some of the built-in interactive tutorials. With a half hour of time spent learning editing tools, I was able to create this picture.

I started with a picture of Dina laying on my couch with my mom.  I had to use the Spot Healing Brush tool to remove some of my mom’s fingers where she was rubbing Dina’s neck.  Once I had reclaimed enough of Dina’s neck, I used the Quick Selection tool to select just Dina’s body.  In fact, one of Dina’s back legs went beyond the frame of the picture, so I cut that leg off.  This is not noticeable in the final product, as she simply appears to be sitting with one leg under her body.  For both these tools, I found that a brush size of fifty was sufficient, but used a hardness of zero for the selection tool and one hundred for the healer.

After I had Dina selected sufficiently, I created a new mask on the selection, hiding the unselected areas of the picture.  Since I used to do much work in AutoCAD, I’m very familiar with using layers to manage different parts of a drawing, so this next part was a breeze.  I created a new layer on to which I copied the throne picture from the internet.  Resizing was necessary, but that was simple, selecting that part of the image with [COMMAND] + t and then dragging the corner points with the mouse.  Then I created another layer for the crown, which I also obtained from a Google Image search.   I had to use the Quick Selection tool and mask for the crown, but this time I used a brush size of ten so that I could really grab with precision.   After that, I created one final layer for the paisley background, which I also source from online.

Lastly, I had to draw Dina’s makeup and ring.  Using the Brush tool, I drew in her lipstick with a small, round tip and her eyebrows with a narrow slanted tip, left slant for the right brow and right for the left brow. I went back to using a round tip for the ring.

Purrrfect.  Now What?

This experience with PhotoShop was both successful and highly gratifying; my little princess looks stunning, and I feel like I nailed the prompt.  What cat photos will I alter next?  The possibilities are endless… or at least fit in fifty gigs of cloud storage.


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