Photoshop Tutorial: How To Make Puss in Boots

Ever saw those photoshopped pics with animals that made the animal look like it got hit by a grassmower?
Many times did I see this kind of "animal abuse" and I wanted to do something about it.

In this tutorial I will describe very detailed how to re-draw the fur on animals you have masked or cut out and chopped. This tutorial also includes the use of quickmask, more uses for the “fur redraw trick”, a different way of making a shadow in grass, and many other tips and tricks!

End result:
How To Make Puss in Boots Final Image

avatar Eladine

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Practice tutorial


Step 1

The Sources

To create puss in boots I have used several sources images that I will post seperatly again during the tutorial. Here they are all at once…

Step 2

First source we need is the cat. I found this one at the time at A large website with loads of free and royalty free stockphoto's. Ofcourse you can use basicly any animal for this tutorial as long as its furry.

Step 3

We will have to cut out the cat. I have done this using the quickmask way. I will show you how. Open the source image with the cat and click on the quickmask icon. Make sure you have your back and foreground color settings put on black/white as by default.

Step 4

I have used a soft bush on size 9 for the parts where the edges are more sharp. I blow up the image to 200 % in this case since i dont need to be extremely carefull since we are going to redraw the fur so any mistakes we will hide later on anyways. While you “paint” the mask on the cat you will see the color red appears where you painted. now if you make a mistake that you want to correct you can simply do so by using your eraser and swich back to your brush to continue masking.

Step 5

As we keep masking /brushing the cat we will come to parts where theres more hair. we dont need to mask it really precise.. just whats important is that you stay inside the cat.. As in.. dont take anything of the background in the mask .. it works best to stay a lil bit away from the outside border.. not too much.. the cat isnt on a diet You can also use a bigger size brush here…

Step 6

Here you can see the total result of my masking.

Step 7

Click again on the quickmask icon as shown in step 2. You will see the part that was red is now a selection. Click on select –> Inverse as shown on the image here. Or use CTRL + shift +I. You now have selected the cat itself.

Step 8

Now make a new layer (shift+ctrl+n) Copy the selection (ctrl +c) and paste (ctrl +v) it on the new layer.

Step 9

Make the layer with the original source invisible by clicking on the little eye icon next to it.

Step 10

And this is what you will have on your screen now.I have moved up the cat a little to go to the center of the screen so we have the room to add the hat and the sword and the boots. If it doesnt fit on your screen later on while you work you can simply enlarge the canvas.(image -> canvassize)

Step 11

Now we are going to our second source image.. leave your file with the cat open and save it from time to time so in case your computer crashes you still have most work saved… (that happened to me too many times in the past) open the second source in photoshop.

I have masked the hat the simulair way as I described how I masked out the cat starting at step 3, but now I used the softbrush 9 all the time all arround the edges because we dont need to redraw fur on the hat. Except ofcourse the feathers. You can use a taller size brush for that. It is ok if you take parts of the background with it since the backgrounbd is blue here and we are going to put it on a blue back ground so it will work out fine in the end.

Step 12

After cutting out the hat using quickmask, copy paste it on a new layer on top of the cat the same way you copy pasted the cat in. I keep this short here now because you can simply go back in steps and check on how to mask. Then we are going to make the hat fit on the cat. Go to edit —> free transform (ctrl +t) and turn it till you have the right direction.

Step 13

If the hat doesnt fit on the cats head we will have to resize it as well while in free transform mode still.. just make sure you click the little cable/ link icon as I call it ( you can see this in the picture here.)

Step 14

Now we are going to make the hat fit even better, using edit –> transform —> warp. You can pull the hat now at more points to make it fit better on the cats head.

Step 15

Here you can see that the hat fits much better now.

Step 16

I am going to erase now a few parts that overlapped the cat too much. But we are not going to do that blind. Set the layer with the hat to 65% opacity like in the image here.

Step 17

I am going to erase now a few parts that overlapped the cat too much. But we are not going to do that blind. Set the layer with the hat to 65% opacity like in the image here.

Step 18

Here you see the result of my work. compare it with step 15 .

Step 19

Now we can set the opacity of the hat back to 100%.

Step 20

Moving on to the next source. The boots… Here is our source with the boots.

But before we continue editing we are going to link the layers with the cat and the hat together. So in case we have to move them arround, they move together so we dont have to keep puzzling them in the right position again.

Step 21

Select the layer with the hat by clicking on it. Then hold down CTRL key and click on the layer with the cat.

Step 22

You see both layers are now turned grey and thus selected. Right lick on one of the layers and select link layers.

Step 23

When you look at the navigation on the top right corner you can see the cat is in the middle of the canvas. We are now going to move up the hat and the cat.

Step 24

Click on the move tool and move the cat with the hat upwards.

Step 25

In your navigation you will see now this.

Step 26

Now we are going to cut out the boots from the source image I showed in step 20. We do this one by one the same way as we cut out the cat and the hat, with the quickmask way as I have descibed it starting at step 3. This time we work more precise just like when we masked the hat and use a small brush for the edges.

When we have done all the edges we can mask whats inside and copy paste it in a new layer on top of the cat file like we have done with the hat in step 12. Place the boots with the move tool at the desired place where normally the legs would be. We also make the boots fit by changing the shape like the hat in step 13 and 14.

Step 27

First we enlarge the canvas so the next step will fit on it. we do this by going to Image –> canvas size or Alt + Ctrl + c.

on that window that appears select in the drop down menu where it reads height, percent from the dropdownlist and set it to 150 %. Then click ok.

Link all the layers again together like I described in step 22 and 23 but also include the boots now.

Move the selection down so you have more room for the sword.

Next we go back to the source image where we got the hat from in step 11 but now we want not the hat but the sword.

Mask out the sword as you have done with the hat and the boots starting at step 3 and copy and paste it on top of the other layers as described before aswell. I am sure you are starting to get the hang of it after having it done a couple times now.

Place the sword so that it looks like the cat is holding it with one paw and resting it on the other as if hes inspecting it. We might have to work on the grip a little bit to make it fit nicely.

Step 28

Create a new layer and place this below all the others.

Select a part of it with the marqueetool like I have done here.

Step 29

I filled up the selected rectangle with a blue color.

Step 30

Do the same with the bottom part thats not colored in yet but now with a little bit lighter color blue.

Step 31

Here we add the lines that will make the dark line between the floor and the wall, using the line tool.

Step 32

Select the line tool and change background color back to black. Draw a line completely from one side to the other side just a few pixels wide.Make sure its excactly in the middle between both colors blue. Duplicate the line and set the opacity to 65 %. Then move the line with your move tool so it sits excactly on top of the other line.

Duplicate this line and now move it so it sits excactly below the darkest line. The opacity of this layer is 65% too.

Step 33

Blow up the size of your image again using the slide below the navication picture and erase little parts on all the layers where its needed.. like arround the sword and the boots. clean up your work.. outlines and such need to be erased using a small soft brush. I usualy use brush 9 or 5 so I can work precise.

Step 34

Now we are finally moving on to where I explain how to redraw the fur. First I start with the top paw of the cat. As you can see fur being redrawn is definatly needed here…

Click on the layer with the cat so its selected. with the rectangual selection tool i selected the part where the paw is. Not too big a part and not too small a part.. just the paw is what we need. copy and paste the paw on a new layer and move that new layer with just the paw on top of the layer with the sword… since, the fur we are going to redraw would look best if they cover the sword a little no?

Step 35

Select the layer with just the paw and set your smudge tool like I did in this image. Size 2 and 72 % strength. Start making strokes from the inside to the outside.. Make sure you dont stroke everytime in the excact same directions. Vary the strenght of your brush and sometimes you might even want to vary the size of your brush between 1 and 2. I usualy vary between 40 and 95. The more time you put in this and the more carefull you do this the better the result will be at the end. I also usualy blow up my image so I can see it better, here it is at 200%.

Step 36

Then the next step is to cover up the brush strokes we did in step 31 just with a few strokes starting even a little further away from the edge and stroking it till a little further where out strokes from the firast step started so we create another layer of fur actualy.. these strokes should not need to be too many its just to add more depth to the fur. As you can see in the result that it looks now very realistic like the rest of the cats fur.

Step 37

Now we are going to do the same with the legs of the cat.

Go to the cat layer and select the part with the rectangle marque where the legs go in the boots and copy paste that in a new layer. Move that layer up untill above the boots layer. Erase the parts you dont need up to the edge of the boots using the same technique as in step 16 with the hat.

Then we can start redrawing the fur using the smudge tool again on size 2 strength 80. Vary the strenght of the brush and dont make the fur too much here since we want to see the edges of the boot still shine a little thru the fur. Like on the result in this image.

Step 38

We continue our fur project with the hat. Again go to the cat layer and select the cats head where the edge of the hat is. You might have to do this in several steps because the edge is a little rounded. start redrawing the fur here too but make sure the strokes are not too long here… a cats hair and in particulair this kind of cat is usualy a bit shorter on the head. I am sure you are getting the hang of it allready and if not please go back to step 35 to refresh your memory on the fur smudging . Also make sure you don’t forget the ear.

Step 39

Our next step is the feather on the cats head..

we use the same technique as we did with the fur but this time we set the size of the brush bigger and the strength a little higher. do vary it a little but make the differences between the strength not as much as with the fur. make long strokes and make sure you vary the direction of the strokes a little, also makes sure that not each stroke has the same length. Look at my result here.

Step 40

Now we are almost done.

Well almost… we still have the rest of the cats fur to be redrawn back on… its something really worth to take the time for because it will make your image look ten times better. Now you have so much experience redrawing the fur on the cat you have to cover up the lil straw the cat originally was holding, with fur aswell..

Save your psd file as it is now and also save a jpeg and have a good look at your work, if you still find fault or things you want to change then you can go back to your psd and make the changes.

And thats how I make a cat, rabbit, dog, bear or any other sort of animal with fur, look like its NOT been hit by a grass mower.

Step 41

I was not done.. looking at my end result something was missing.. So I went back looking for another source image.. the back ground… This is the one i found and decided to use.

Step 42

if you have not linked all the layers with the cat attributes then you can do so now.. To do so, you will have to keep your ctrl button pressed while you click with the left mousekey on each layer of the cats attributes, including his clotes and sword. By doing so you will see that each layer you selected turns dark grey. Now click with the right mousekey on one of those layers and sellect "link layers". We allready had linked some layers so we just needed to link those that wherent linked yet. You can also choose now to merge down all the cat layers, theres 3 ways to do this.. 1- Click on the cats layer thats in top of the list and press "ctrl" and "e" key. 2- right click on the top cat layer on the list and select "merge down". 3- Go to the menu while selected the top cat layer like I show in this image and click there on "merge down". You can do so till all cat layers are merged... I myself usualy make sure I have a copy of the psd with all the unmerged layers so I can go back and change things if I want to later on.

Step 43

I have copy pasted the layer with my background image below the other layers and dragged it with the free transform tool the size I wanted it, like I have described before in step 12.

Step 44

As you can see the cat really looks like he is floating now… We are going to change that and make him stand IN the grass and I will also show how to make a realistic shadow here using brightness / contrast settings. First we drag an oval at the cats feet using the eliptical marquee tool.Mmake sure you have the grassbackground layer selected when you do this.

Step 45

Copy paste your marqueeselection onto a new layer and put that layer inbetween the cat and the grassy background.

Select the cats boots and change its opacity so you can see the flowers thru it well enough to work with it.

Go back to your new layer with the eliptical shape of the grassfield and erase with a small soft brush all the grass that covers the boots but keep the flowers with the stems! Make sure you only erase the grass that covers the boots.

Step 46

Change the opacity of the boots and you will see it looks like the image as in step 44. Duplicate the grassy layer where we just erased the grass from the boots and select the first of these two layers ( we are not going to touch the top layer of the grass) Now we are going to redraw the grass the same way we did the fur and the feather. If you forgot how please go to step 35 and refresh your memory . You might have to play a little arround with the size of the brush and the strength before you found a setting that you are satisfied with. Since its grass and thicker as fur you will nee a bigger brush and a little harder likely so you can drag the grass a little longer. We dont have to redraw a whole lot but just enough so it looks like the boots are realistic standing in the grass. When you start smudging be carefull that you dont smudge the flowers and end up with yellow smudges.. if you do so by mistake just undo (ctrl +z) or go to your history and go a step or more back.

Step 47

When you are finished with that we are going to make the shadow.

Look first to see if there are any other shadows in the image. Just so you have something to compare with and to have an idea in what direction to place the shadow. The tree here gave a good shadow and I am going to show you how I made a simulair looking shadow for the cat.

Go back to the background layer with the field and the tree. Draw again with the eliptical marquee tool to make an oval selection. We will have to turn this selection a little bit into the same direction as we want the shadow to go. Go to Select–>transform selction and turn the oval selection till you are satisfied with the direction. Copy and paste this selection on to a new layer and drag the layer on top of all the other layers with grass. Don’t worry about the parts that cover the grass we just draw and the boots, we will correct that later.

Step 48

Now the oval is going to be transformed into shadow, using brightness and contrast. select the layer with this oval and go to image—> adjustments–> brightness/contrast.

Play with the settings untill you are satisfied with the color ( we want to darken it to match the shadow color of the tree.) When satisfied click ok. Drag the layer below the other layers with the ovals with the redrawn grass. Now the last few things we have to do is erase the parts of these layers that cover our new made shadow and make our shadow edges less sharp..

Merge the two grass ovals that we used to redraw the grass. Use the erase tool ( not too large and hard brush) on that layer and erase carefully the light grass that we did not redraw up to the edge of the boots. Now go back to the shadow layer and take a large .. real large soft brush.. and erase carefull just the edges of the shadow so they arent so very hard and sharp anymore.. dont erase too much though!

Step 49

Now I am done creating my puss in boots completely. You can save your work as a jpeg or any other format if you like. I hope you find this tutorial usefull. Good luck with your own creations!

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avatar xtro
xtro says:

An old fav, good to see it back!

(5 years and 2197 days ago)
avatar madamemonty

Excellent tutorial Ela, so glad to see it again

(5 years and 2197 days ago)
avatar Eladine
Eladine says:

thnx guys I am working on restoring another one.

(5 years and 2196 days ago)
avatar DigitalDreamer

wonderful tut and how cute :P

(5 years and 2193 days ago)
avatar Akassa
Akassa says:

Very nice tutorial, great job writting it eladine.

(5 years and 2192 days ago)
avatar Eladine
Eladine says:

thnx guys for the comments...

(5 years and 2189 days ago)
avatar ponti55
ponti55 says:

Great tutorial!!!!

(5 years and 2189 days ago)
avatar spaceranger

Really glad to see this one is back! I've used the techniques you've shown us many times with great success. Thanks!

(5 years and 2180 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

Wonderful.. looking forward to it

(5 years and 2173 days ago)
avatar isoflow
isoflow says:

I learned a lot from this, thank you!

(5 years and 2166 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

Great! I just did mine and added a cape and a couple of yarn balls. Kudos.

Thanks a lot.

(5 years and 2161 days ago)
avatar Eladine
Eladine says:

should post the result i would love to see it

(5 years and 2161 days ago)
avatar Eladine
Eladine says:

O.o; thats one way to get post count o.o; XD ops

(5 years and 2159 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:


(5 years and 2159 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

Hi Ela,

I love this tutorial, great tips and techniques, so
I have learned quite a bit from this tutorial and
yes, very cute!! hehehehe.

Best Regards

(5 years and 2113 days ago)
avatar Eladine
Eladine says:

thnx much sphynxylynxy

(5 years and 2108 days ago)
no avatar
unkskitty says:

The fur looks great! Very real!

The shadows need some help tho. The lighting on the boots is opposite the rest of the image, the angle of the shadow on the grass isn't right, and there should be some shadows with regards to the hat on the cat's face and the cats paws and the sword too.

Overall great image! A little more attention to detail and it would be Awesome!

(5 years and 2018 days ago)
no avatar
[banned] says:

nice effect

(5 years and 1767 days ago)
no avatar
[banned] says:

Thanks, Great tutorial, I like this.

(5 years and 1433 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

Beast tutorial fun and exciting

(5 years and 1364 days ago)
no avatar
[banned] says:

i love that cat name puss in boots

(5 years and 703 days ago)

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