From Masterpiece to LOL Using Photoshop
Choose a Painting
Find the image you wish to alter. In this case it’s a work by Edward Burne-Jones. I’m going to replace one face with the head of a cat.
Briar Rose, Garden Court Detail
Intensify the Color
- I duplicate the image (top right downward pointing arrow),
- lower the Opacity of the duplicate layer (top) to 21% and
- set the Blending Mode (top left) to Overlay. This intensifies the color a bit. There are other, and more specific, ways of improving the color but this one is quick.
- I also increased the Vibrance, Saturation and Clarity. Vibrance and Saturation are Adjustments that can be found under Image or Layer. They also appear along with Clarity when you open an image in Camera Raw.
Even the highest resolution photos can have imperfections due to numerous copying or mistreatment. There are some white spots in the my image that do not belong there.
- I make the bottom layer active (click on it in the Layer palette).
- Then I go to the Spot Healing Brush (Bandage) in my tool palette.
- I click on the spots on the dresses and they blend into the fabric.
An Appropriate Cat
I find some images of cats and decide which would look best inserted into the painting. In this case I choose a cat in profile so that it I can replace the head of the woman on the left. You will notice that in some of the examples I use just the head of the cat. At first I thought I might use the woman’s hair and chest. I later decided against that approach and used the entire head and neck of the cat.
- I select the area of the cat that I want and press Control – C (Windows).
- Then I click on the tab for the main image and press Control – V.
- The Quick Selection Tool is helpful. You may still need to add or subtract from the image.
Once your cat is pasted into the image you will often notice a size difference.
- To fix this go to Edit > Transform > Scale and adjust to fit. It is important to click the little chain between Width and Height in the bar above the workspace. This will maintain the Aspect Ratio.
- Hold your Shift key as you drag a corner.
- This menu also has the Rotate Tool in case your image needs further adjustment. I needed to angle the cat down a bit.
You may need to do some touch-ups. The Eraser, Clone Stamp and Smudge Tools will be helpful but be careful with the Smudge Tool; it can make things look messy very quickly due to loss of detail.
You can vary the opacity of the tools which can help to soften edges. During Cloning you sometimes get hard edges but if you go over these edges again at a lower opacity with a slightly different sampling they begin to smooth out.
I used the Eraser on the edges of the cat and ended up reshaping the neck. I also used the Smudge Tool to drag some fur down onto the dress.
- I felt that the white fur was a little too vibrant so I selected the cat and went to Layer > Adjustment Layer > Photo Filter. A New Layer dialog box appears. Click OK.
- A warm color is what's needed to tone down this bright white. You can choose from different colors but I picked Warming Filter (81) at 25%.
- It’s very important that the section you wish to change is selected or else the entire image will bear the result of the Photo Filter. It’s a very handy tool with which to make subtle but necessary alterations.
Some of the woman’s hair was still visible above the cat's head and the arm she's leaning on was too far over.
- I used the Clone Stamp to pick up some of the nearby wallpaper and redeposit it onto the hair.
- I then selected the arm, copied it (Control – C) and pasted it (Control – V) where I wanted it to go.
- Then I used the Clone Stamp again to cover the original arm with more wallpaper.
- Her hand was supposed to be folded over the cat's ear so I added that impression with the Paint Brush while sampling the color of her arm.
Fix those Whiskers
I realized that I had cut off some of the cat’s whiskers. It’s easier to make whiskers than it is to select them.
- I just grabbed the Paint Brush Tool sized it to 1 pixel, sampled some of the cat’s lighter fur and painted in the whiskers.
- You can fix mistakes by sampling the color from the surrounding area and painting over them.
Then I did a final save of my Photoshop document and also saved as a JPG for convenience.
I now have a modern take on an Edward Burne-Jones classic.