My Adventures In Photography

A while back I started a photography column for my hometown's local newspaper — you'll find all of my columns from those pages here as well as new ones that I write.

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Funky photographic fusions

  BALD CAT-ROBIN: It’s interesting to fuse animals that are natural enemies together. When creating animal fusions it’s best to shoot the photos with the animals in a similar position and with lighting that is consistent between each photograph. Doing these things makes the workflow when you fuse them together in Photoshop much easier. (Left) After placing a cut-out of the cat over where I want it to be fused, I created a mask on the cat layer so I could blend the two layers together using a soft brush tool. Making the orange feathers and the cat’s fur blend was a challenge.

BALD CAT-ROBIN: It’s interesting to fuse animals that are natural enemies together. When creating animal fusions it’s best to shoot the photos with the animals in a similar position and with lighting that is consistent between each photograph. Doing these things makes the workflow when you fuse them together in Photoshop much easier. (Left) After placing a cut-out of the cat over where I want it to be fused, I created a mask on the cat layer so I could blend the two layers together using a soft brush tool. Making the orange feathers and the cat’s fur blend was a challenge.

A photographer using Adobe Photoshop is capable of creating just about anything if they have the right imagery.

In today’s post I took a shot at animal fusions.

Animal fusions?

But...

But, why?

Why not? Fusing different animals together can prove to be both a challenge and a hilarious topic of conversation amongst friends when you show them what you’ve created.

For instance, juxtaposing animals that are generally natural enemies can be a nice visual joke.

Every now and then you’ll find a cat shooting a death-glare out the window from a house at a bird that is simply picking up some lunch near a feeder. 

Given the chance, that cat would shoot out of the house and try to nab a taste of our flapping friend.

Who can bring these two species together in harmony?

Well, probably no one, but creating a hybrid cat-bird certainly has an ironic flair.

To create this hybrid animal I set out to get images of the individual animal in roughly the same pose and roughly the same lighting environment.

  COW-CAT: There are a lot of cats in this post, huh? Oh, well — they’re versatile creatures. For this animal fusion I took each photo in the same place: A barn. The lighting for each animal was already consistent between the photos. The only challenge was to get the animals in similar positions and, after waiting a while for them to actually get into position, I was able to get the shots I needed to blend them together. Overall, I think this fusion is a success.

COW-CAT: There are a lot of cats in this post, huh? Oh, well — they’re versatile creatures. For this animal fusion I took each photo in the same place: A barn. The lighting for each animal was already consistent between the photos. The only challenge was to get the animals in similar positions and, after waiting a while for them to actually get into position, I was able to get the shots I needed to blend them together. Overall, I think this fusion is a success.

The photo of the robin was captured in Grand Rapids on my way out of the Rivertown Mall. It was just sitting in a tree during an overcast day and it didn’t mind me getting close enough for a shot.

The next shot would prove to be tricky.

I needed a photograph of a cat with the right kind of fur in the right environment so the lighting between the photos was roughly the same.

So I headed over to Osceola County Animal Control to see what I could find.

Luckily, just the right cat was there and after some adjustments I finally got a shot of the cat’s head that was pointed in the same direction as the robin.

Getting the photos is the easy part, however, because blending the two images together in Photoshop can be challenging.

 The first step is to layer the cat image overtop of the bird in your open document. Next, line up the head of the cat to the bird by using transform tools.

After that, fusing the head to the body is a matter of using masks and different adjustment layers in the program to match the color of the animals so there isn’t an awkward look to the fusion.

Overall, I think the fusion of the two animals turned out fairly well. It’s a little awkward because the white fur of the cat is in contrast against the darker feathers of the bird, but it’s not a horrific difference.

I also took the opportunity to make a second fusion once I visited my parent’s home in Hersey.

I took a photo of a calf and one of the barn cats while they were both in the sunlight.

Making this fusion was easy because the photos of the animals were taken in the same environment with the same light source.

Animal fusions are a unique project and, while the images can be humorous, they also can prove to be a challenge for your Photoshop skills. Have some fun if you try it!