I love to stay inspired by looking to old movies for reference. And Lady and the Tramp is no exception. It’s an adorable animated movie about a pampered cocker spaniel and a mutt who become friends and then finally puppy lovers. Aw, so sweet!
In one of its most iconic scenes, the dogs are in an alleyway sharing a plate of spaghetti. While eating from the same plate, they both start eating a single string of pasta that brings them into a super cute doggy kiss.
Inspired by this famous scene, we’ll do extensive photo manipulation work to recreate the moment as realistically as possible. Feel free to keep a few references of the cartoon nearby; I usually like to save mine on my Pinterest Inspiration board.
1. How to Set Up the Night-Time Background
First we’ll set up the background.
To create the final document size, open a New Document in Photoshop at 2000 x 1964 pixels.
Now Copy and Paste the Alley image onto a New Layer for the background. Center it as shown below.
For a better depth of field, blur the alleyway.
Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and add a Radius of 2.5 pixels.
Here is the result.
We’ll be tackling this photo manipulation by sections. So before we add the puppies and other elements, let’s give this alley photo a night-time look.
Create a New Adjustment Layer of Color Lookup and Right-click to set it as a Clipping Mask to the alley layer.
Set the 3DLUT File to:
Now the daylight scene has been turned to night!
Let’s adjust the color some more for a pretty blue tone.
Create another New Adjustment Layer of Color Lookup, and Right-click to set it as a Clipping Mask to the alley layer.
Set the 3DLUT File to:
Now add some shadow.
Select the alley layer, then hit the New Layer option to position another clipped layer below the Color Lookup ones.
We’ll use this layer to paint blue shadow towards the bottom of the alley. Use a Soft Round Brush (0% Hardness, 70% Opacity) to paint blue #040522 shadow on the lower left and right sections of the alley.
Make sure to cover the middle areas with shadow but also allow some of the light to show through. This shadow will bring more focus to our characters once we add them in. But you still want the buildings to show too.
Here’s our background so far.
2. How to Manipulate Pet Photos
Now that we’ve created a beautiful blue night-time scene, we can create our dog characters. Some of these steps will require digital painting techniques and lots of patience. So a graphics tablet will be required for the best result.
Let’s start with the cocker spaniel.
Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to make a selection around the Cocker Spaniel (a.k.a. Lady).
Copy and PasteDog #1 onto a New Layer above the background. Place this dog into its own New Group, named Lady.
Then use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) to rotate the dog at a slight angle.
Now add a Layer Mask to Lady.
Use a Soft/Medium Hard Round Brush (50-80% Hardness, 90% Opacity) to paint black onto the mask to remove the dog’s gray background. Clean up all the edges around her as best as you can.
Hold Control-J to duplicate the Lady layer. Use the Layer Mask on the copy to erase the entire body, except for her head.
We want to create a cuter expression in her face, so we need to Rotate (Control-T) the head counter-clockwisefor a subtle, cocked expression.
Let’s add her famous blue and gold collar.
Create a New Layer and set it as a Clipping Mask to the Lady group.
Use a Hard Round Brush (80-100% Hardness, 100% Opacity) and draw a blue #1f19f9 collar first, then the gold #bb9861 diamond-shaped name tag.
Before we add shadows, let’s add our second dog.
Now, the mutt is going to be a much trickier scenario. But I have faith that you’ll get it!
Follow similar steps as before.
Create a selection around the mutt (a.k.a. Tramp) and Copy and Paste it onto a New Layer above the Lady layers. Resize(Control-T) him to be slightly bigger than her, and then add him into his own New Group.
Now use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) to make a selection around his head. Copy and Paste the head onto a New Layer above it, and rotate it clockwise for a cute expression.
Make sure the head is still aligned with the body, and then Merge these two layers together. Now add a Layer Mask to the merged dog layer. Mask away the top portions of the background around his body using a Soft to Medium Round Brush.
Continue to work on Tramp.
Flip the dog’s body so that he faces her. Select the merged layer and go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal.
The dog we’re using is just a puppy, so make him look older. Select the layer and go to Filter > Liquify. Use the Forward Warp Tool (W) to lengthen his snout, pull his ears up like the cartoon, and bring in the sides of his neck.
Here’s the result so far.
Don’t worry that it looks messy—we’ll cover all that up soon!
With both of the dogs in place, we can start painting more shadow and details.
Let’s start with Lady.
Go back to the Lady group and set another New Layer as a Clipping Mask to the group.
Draw some cute dark brown #160807 details on her face like lashes, eyebrows, and a sweet, defined smile. Also fill in some of the areas near her ears with some shadow. Complete this step with a Hard Round Pressure Opacity Brush.
Set another Clipped, New Layer above the previous one. Change the Layer Blend Mode to Multiply and use a Soft Round Brush (0% Hardness, 70% Opacity) to paint reddish brown #52241f shadow onto her lower ears, neck, and forehead.
Do the same for Tramp.
The painting process for this dog becomes a lot trickier because we’re essentially doing doggy surgery. To make his face appear more cartoonish, we’ll need to change the color of his fur and redraw his eyes.
Set a New Layer to Overlay and Clip it to the mutt group. Tramp’s original fur has gray sides and a white middle, so use a Soft Round Brush (0-20% Hardness, 50% Opacity) to shade the left and right sides of him with gray #20272a.
Add more shadow by Clipping a New Layer above it, and paint brown #1a0902 underneath his ears and on the sides of his coat.
Continue working on his fur.
We’ll need to significantly rework his coat, and it will take time, so be patient with this step. Refer to images of the original cartoon character to understand what he should ultimately look like.
Clip another New Layer to the mutt group and set it to Color.
Paint a solid wash of gray #131512 completely over the dog.
Now start adding details to his face. Black out his eyes first, and then draw eyebrows and a defined nose and mouth with a Hard Round Pressure Size Brush. Start painting white fur around his mouth to match the original character. Short, curvy strokes will do.
Continue painting more details. Add the whites to his eyes for more personality. Make sure the white dots look in the same direction, as we’ll need him to be distracted by the butterfly.
3. How to Add the Picnic Elements
Great job so far!
Now we need to add the picnic table as well as all the other elements like more lighting and food.
Let’s start with the table.
Just like with the previous steps, make a Selection of the Picnic Table and Copy and Paste it onto a New Layer above all the others. Position the table in front of the dogs and use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) to adjust its size, changing the perspective if need be.
Then add a Layer Mask to the table layer. Mask out the remaining background for a nice, clean result.
So far, we’ve got a great table that matches the original tablecloth pattern, but now we need to change the colors.
Add a New Adjustment Layer of Hue and Saturation as a Clipping Mask to the table.
Set the values to:
Clip another Color Lookup layer above it.
Set the 3DLUT File to HorrorBlue.3DL, and then change the Layer Blend Mode to Lighter Color and the Opacity to 45%.
Decorate the table just like the movie! Let’s add the plate of spaghetti.
Make a Selection of the Spaghetti and Copy and Paste it onto a New Layer above the table.
Position it right in the center before adding a Layer Mask to clean up the edges.
Next, add the 3D objects for the candle and bread basket.
First add the Candle. Download the angle you like, and then Copy and Paste it onto a New Layer above the rest, and make sure it to fits on the table. Duplicate (Control-J) the candle to set another one right next to it, but this time make it a little smaller.
When you’re through, Copy and Paste the Bread Basket onto a New Layer and resize it to fit. Place it on the left side of the candles.
Before we start to recolor everything, let’s adjust the lighting.
Set a New Layer as a Clipping Mask to the table. Paint black shadow on the top of the table as well as on the front. Use a Soft Round Brush (0% Hardness, 1-20% Opacity) to concentrate shadow underneath certain items like the spaghetti, candles, and basket.
Continue to rework the lighting on all the other elements.
Since the light comes from the two candles, make sure the heavier shadows fall mainly to the left side.
Set New Layers as Clipping Masks to the bread and candles. Paint black shadow onto the left side of both using a Soft Round Brush (0% Hardness, 1-20% Opacity).
Make sure some of the shadows wrap around the individual rolls—this will help with the overall realism.
4. How to Color Correct the Scene
Once the lighting is all set, we can begin to use more Adjustment Layers to help tweak the overall color scheme.
Just as we did in our previous steps, we’ll need to adjust some pieces individually by using Clipping Masks.
Let’s start with the plate of spaghetti.
Set a New Adjustment Layer of Curves as a Clipping Mask to the spaghetti. Adjust the curves for the RGB and Blue Channels as shown below.
Move on to the bread basket.
Set a New Adjustment Layer of Curves as a Clipping Mask to the bread. Adjust the curves for the RGB, Green and Blue Channels as shown below.
Next up are the candles.
Set a New Adjustment Layer of Curves as a Clipping Mask to the candles. Adjust the curves for the RGB, Red, Green and Blue Channels as shown below.
Here’s our result after all these individual adjustments
At the moment, the colors may seem all over the place, but now we can really bring things home with our remaining color adjustments.
Create a New Layer above all the others and use the Paint Bucket Tool (G) to fill it with coral #946c6e. Set the Layer Blend Mode to Soft Light, and then lower the Opacity to 82%.
Above that layer, add a New Adjustment Layer of Color Lookup. Set the 3D LUT File to LateSunset.3DL, and change the Blend Mode to Luminosity and the Opacity to 80%.
Now we have dramatically darkened the color scheme to match the night-time feel.
Before we move on, don’t forget to add the rose bushes!
Download the Rose Bush 3D object and Copy and Paste it onto a New Layer above the rest. Hold Control-J to create a duplicate, and then set each bush on the left and right sides of the table. Merge these layers together.
To create more depth in the foreground, add a blur. Select the layer and go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur, adding a Radius of 2 pixels.
Next, recolor the bushes. Clip a New Adjustment Layer of Curves to the layer. Adjust the curves for the RGB and Blue Channels as shown above. The lighting should fit the night-time theme.
Add a slight vignette effect to draw more focus on our subjects.
Create a New Layer above the rest and use a Soft Round Brush (0% Hardness, 20% Opacity) to build layers of black shadow which wrap around the scene. This stark contrast will help to highlight the dogs in the middle.
Next, add the string of pasta and the butterfly.
Copy and Paste the Butterfly 3D object onto its own layer. Center it between the dogs and adjust the size with the Free Transform Tool (Control-T).
Now create a New Layer and use the Pen Tool (P) to create a curvy pasta shape that connects both dogs.
Right-click to Stroke the line with a white color using a Hard Round BrushSize of 4 pixels.
Let’s color the pasta. Right-click the layer and go to Blending Options. Add a Gradient Overlay with the settings above. Create a Linear Gradient with brown #312c25 and tan #aa9780 colors and position the brown shadows for a reflected look.
Time for some glow!
Create a New Layer and set it to Linear Light. Use a Soft Round Brush (0% Hardness, 50% Opacity), to paint bright yellow color #ffc281 around the candles and dogs.
On the same layer, add a large soft spot of light violet #a88fd2 to the center of the scene.
Then add the stars and moon!
On a New Layer, use a Hard Round Brush (100% Hardness, 100% Opacity) to paint white stars in the sky and small dots around both dogs. Then use a Soft Round Brush (0% Hardness, 100% Opacity) to paint a large white moon in the sky.
Feel free to take this time to adjust any shadows too!
Here’s how it looks so far. Great work!
These last steps will help to tidy our portrait a bit more. Since the colors could still use some adjusting, let’s quickly run through a couple of Adjustment Layers.
At the top of the Layers panel, set a New Adjustment Layer of Curves. Set the curves for the RGB, Blue, and Green Channels as shown.
Then add a New Adjustment Layer of Color Balance. Add the following values for the Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights.
Next, add a New Adjustment Layer of Gradient Map. Create a brown #1f0e08 to white Linear Gradient, before changing the Blend Mode to Luminosity.
Then add a New Adjustment Layer of Levels. Adjust the values for the RGB, Green, Blue and Red Channels to the following:
RGB: 0, 0.91, 218, 9, 255
Green: 0, 0.91, 220, 5, 221
Red: 14, 1, 255, 9, 186
Blue: 0, 0.91, 227, 0, 221
Now take this opportunity to clean up the portrait with highlights and additional details.
Here, I decided to go in with either a Soft or Hard Round Pressure Opacity Brush for certain areas like the highlights on the bread, rose bushes, and dogs. But only create sharper highlights on the spots closer to the candles.
You can also add additional texture to both of their faces by painting more fur on their bodies. Add plenty of fur around his mouth to solidify his expression and give her more hair around the edges for a nice, blended look.
Our final step will be two quick adjustments.
Create a New Layer at the top and fill it with blue #1a1a42. Set the Blend Mode to Lighten and the Opacity to 38%. Use the Eraser Tool (E) to remove any blue covering the dogs’ faces.
Now pump up the color with one last Adjustment Layer of Levels. Add the following values for a crisp, blue night-time scene.
RGB: 0, 0.80, 211, 0, 255
Green: 15, 1.23, 251, 0, 255
Red: 11, 1.07, 244, 14, 255
Blue: 0,1.20, 220, 0, 255
Check out the final result below!
Fall in love with a great photo manipulation. These fun projects really help me to stretch my creativity, and I hope you’ve been inspired to try something new. And let me know if there are any other animated movies you’d love to see next!
How’d you do? Share your results in the comments!
For more cool photo manipulations, check out these tutorials and articles: