I thought you animal lovers out there might like something to do to the next kitty photo you take :-)

This can also give you a rather nice painterly effect as well. Any settings used here will be relevant to this image only ….sorry. It comes down to personal taste as well, some will leave the fading or opacity reduction at different amounts …. try different amounts and see what you can come up with.

Caution – after you have applied the the diffuse filter, you will go immediately to Edit>Fade Diffuse. Don’t do anything else before going to the Fade command otherwise it won’t be available to you.

The start image is brought us by *sateda* over at the Stock Exchange site, you can find the image HERE I have cropped and resized the image for the purpose of this tutorial.


Open the image in Photoshop and then duplicate it by dragging it to the create new layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette, or pressing Ctrl + J on the keyboard. Turn off the original by clicking on the little eyeball. You will be using this layer later. Go to Filter>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask and you can use the same settings I have if you like. *Amount – 50%* *Radius – 0.8* *Threshold – 0* Click Ok to accept those numbers. Go to Filter>Stylize>Diffuse and choose Anisotropic from the available menu – click OK to accept. Immediately go to Edit>Fade Diffuse and take the amount down to 50%, click OK to accept. You probably noticed the effect before you faded it, looks a little painterly don’t you think.

Duplicate the layer and go to Edit>Transform>Flip Vertical Run the Diffuse Filter again … you should be able to hit Ctrl + F for this to happen. Immediately fade the diffuse to 50% like you did before. Go to Edit>Transform>Flip Vertical again – you should now have something that looks similar to the image below.


Duplicate the layer you were just working on and go to Filter>Blur>Surface Blur If you haven’t go surface blur you can use median blur. I’ve used a radius of 10 and a threshold of 10 on this image – click OK to accept. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and you can punch in an amount of 2.5 on this image. Take the opacity down to suit, I used 40%.

As a rough guide to the blurring, you would probably use half the amount that you used on the surface blur, on the gaussian blur. That isn’t a hard and fast rule though, once you’ve done this a couple of times you’ll get the hang of what looks good.

Make sure that the original background layer is turned off, then Merge Visible by clicking on the little downward pointing arrow at the top right of the layers palette and choosing Merge Visible. Turn on the original background layer and if you want, you can take down the opacity of the top layer. I took the opacity down to 85%.


You may want to finish there, but I added a mask to the top layer by holding down the Alt key and clicking on the Add Layer Mask Icon at the bottom of the layers palette (black Mask = Hide All). Grabbed a soft edged brush, and with the foreground set to white, painted back over the kitty avoiding the eyes. Alt + click on the mask to make sure that you have painted back in all the parts, and Alt + click to get back to the normal view.

You can go ahead and make adjustments from this point if you like. I did a Hue/Sat adjustment layer and incresed the master by 10%.

Here is the final image and below that a comparison image. Have fun.




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By admin

Former Freehand Freelance Graphic Illustrator... been online since 2004 ( late starter ), blogging since 2005, presently writing a suspense-thriller e-book that began as a screenplay.

4 thoughts on “Photoshop Tutorial – Softening Animal Fur”
  1. I don’t have photoshop either…I have GIMP but I don’t know how to use it. 😀

  2. I love Kitteh’s! And love to play with pictures. But Photoshop is a bit expensive for me so I use other apps. There must be another Coco here whose favorite aquatic animal is the Seahorse. How odd 😉

  3. wow this is very useful. i love taking animal pictures.so this really helped. thank you for sharing.

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