Cat and Dog: Creating a Fantasy Collage

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Tutorial: AKVIS SmartMask

Cat and Dog: a Fantasy Collage


In this tutorial we created a fantasy collage in Adobe Photoshop with the AKVIS SmartMask and AKVIS LightShop plugins.

The AKVIS SmartMask plugin quickly and precisely makes selections of difficult objects. The AKVIS LightShop can be used to create and add a variety of lighting effects to images.

Original images:

Original Image: a Background Original Image of a Cat
Original Image of a Dove Original Image of a Dog


  • Step 1. Open the original images in Adobe Photoshop.
  • Step 2. Go to the picture with the cat. Create a duplicate layer (Layer -> Duplicate Layer). Call the AKVIS SmartMask plugin (Filter -> AKVIS -> SmartMask).

    The program will start in Auto mode by default.

    AKVIS SmartMask Workspace

    Since the cat has irregular fuzzy edges, select and increase the brush size to 30. Outline the cat's silhouette.

    Draw the blue strokes within the outline and the red - outside it.

    Color Strokes

    Click to start processing the image. The red area will be removed, and the cat, which was outlined in blue, will remain and be placed on a transparent background. Press to apply the result.

    Copy the cat and paste it above the background image.

    Adding the Cat to the Background Image

    Reduce the cat's size and place it on the background image with the command Edit -> Free Transform. To resize the cat proportionally, press .

    Changing the Size and Location of the Cat

    Make a copy of the cat's layer. It will be used later to create a shadow.

  • Step 3. Go to the picture of the running dog. Cut out the dog in the same manner as was done with the cat:

    Make a duplicate layer and call the AKVIS SmartMask plugin. Outline the silhouette of the dog with the green pencil. Fill the area within the outline with blue and the outside with red.

    Color Strokes

    Press to process the image and then to apply the result.

  • Step 4. Next choose the dog's wings. Go to the picture of the dove on a black background. Copy the layer and launch the SmartMask plugin.

    Use the Quick Selection tool to select the black background.

    Selecting the Black Background

    Right mouse click opens the tool's menu. Select the corresponding option (Remove Selected Areas) to remove the background.

    Use the Background Eraser and remove the body of the bird, but keep the wings.

    Apply the result.

    Copy the wings, paste them to the dog's image and adjust them to fit the dog. If the wings are too big for the dog, reduce them with the Free Transform tool and then merge the two layers (Layer -> Merge Layers).

    Winged Dog

    Copy the winged dog to the background image. Use the command Edit -> Transform -> Flip Horizontal to flip its orientation from right to left. Then reduce the size of the dog (proportionally) and copy its layer to make a shadow later.

  • Step 5. Now add the glowing trail which the dog leaves. Add a new layer (Layer -> New -> Layer) and call the AKVIS LightShop plugin (Filter -> AKVIS -> LightShop).

    In the Elements panel click on to add a new element. Choose Ring from the list of the elements.

    Light Elements

    Change the parameters as shown below. A yellow color was chosen for the ring but you can use another color if you wish.

    Creating the Ring

    Press to apply the result and return to the graphics editor.

  • Step 6. Create four copies of the rings. Change the size, shape, and position of the rings as shown below.
    Adding Rings

    Use the Eraser with a soft edge, and switching between the layers, remove unnecessary parts of the rings to create a spiralling path. Place the winged dog at the end of its trajectory.

    Flight's Trajectory

    Create a fading effect for the glowing trail. Do this by gently applying the Eraser with an Opacity of 30. Note that the farther the trail extends from the dog the weaker it should become. Therefore, process the end of the glowing trail a few times until it almost blends with the background.

  • Step 7. Create another new layer and call the AKVIS LightShop plugin. Choose Particles from the list of the elements and adjust the parameters.
    Creating Sparks

    Click on to return to the graphics editor.

    In Photoshop, reduce the size of the sparks to be just larger than the dog and place them over it. Use the Eraser to create the effect of sparks radiating from the dog.

  • Step 8. Now create the shadows. Move the two layers (one with the cat and the other with the dog) which we created for this purpose to the bottom of the list of layers. The only layer that should be below them is the background image's layer. For convenience, hide the other layers (by clicking on the eye next to a layer). Move the dog image so that it is at the tip of the cat's paw. Combine the two layers. Use the Magic Wand to select the background and then invert the selection. Activate the Brush Tool and paint over the selection in black.
    Creating Shadows

    Use the Distort command (Edit -> Transform -> Distort) to modify the resulting image so that it appears like a shadow of the dog and cat.

    To make sure that the shadow is aligned well and is on the proper plane, make the background layer and the layer with the cat visible. Pay special attention to how the cat's paws and their shadow converge on the floor.

    Then make the shadow semi-transparent by reducing the layer's Opacity to 65 percent.

  • Step 9. Combine all the layers. Do this with the Layer -> Merge Layers command from the menu after selecting all the layers in the Layers palette. Finally, go over the borders of the image with the Blur Tool to make them appear more fluid and less distinct.

    The final result is a fantasy collage of a cat chasing a miniature flying dog.

    Fantasy Collage
How It Works How It Works
   — Workspace — Workspace
   — Using the Program — Using the Program
   — Mask View Modes — Mask View Modes
   — Custom Background — Custom Background
   — History Palette — History Palette
   — Save and Load Projects — Save and Load Projects
   — Preferences — Preferences
   — Hot Keys — Hot Keys
Making Selections Making Selections
   — Automatic Selection Tools — Automatic Selection Tools
   — Manual Selection Tools — Manual Selection Tools
   — Quick Selection — Quick Selection
   — Standard Selection Tools — Standard Selection Tools
   — Magic Brush — Magic Brush
   — Chroma Key — Chroma Key
   — Refine Edges — Refine Edges
   — Post-Processing Tools — Post-Processing Tools
   — Additional Tools — Additional Tools
Video Lessons Video Lessons
   — Quick Selection & Mask View Modes — Quick Selection & Mask View Modes
   — Auto Selection of Similar Objects — Auto Selection of Similar Objects
   — Auto Tools & Edge Priority — Auto Tools & Edge Priority
   — Smart Color Picker — Smart Color Picker
   — Selecting Hair: Auto & Brushes — Selecting Hair: Auto & Brushes
   — Magic Brush for Transparent Objects — Magic Brush for Transparent Objects
   — Automatic Recognition of Areas — Automatic Recognition of Areas
   — Quick Selection & Background Eraser — Quick Selection & Background Eraser
   — Extract a Person from a Photo — Extract a Person from a Photo
   — Selecting Water Splashes — Selecting Water Splashes
   — Improve Selections with Refine Edges — Improve Selections with Refine Edges
   — Removing Green Screen Background — Removing Green Screen Background
   — Adding a New Background — Adding a New Background
Examples Examples
   — Separate a Person from a Photo — Separate a Person from a Photo
   — Around the World in One Day — Around the World in One Day
   — Magic Window — Magic Window
   — Little Princess — Little Princess
   — Changeable Landscape — Changeable Landscape
   — Golden Colors of Fall — Golden Colors of Fall
   — Snow Paradise — Snow Paradise
   — Cat and Dog: a Fantasy Collage — Cat and Dog: a Fantasy Collage
   — Breaking the Fourth Wall — Breaking the Fourth Wall
   — Flight under the Moonlight — Flight under the Moonlight


SmartMask v. 10.0 - Free 10-day Trial    Download


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