Behind the Scenes With Foster and Panda

Seriously, who would take a picture like this?

panda from back with hatYou would, if you were going to write an exciting adventure for Foster and Panda!a panda with dogWith just a little bit of work, you can do this…a looking at map…or this…a looking at sign…or this!spiral 2And something as simple as Foster and Panda kicking back on the bed can become…a sliding on snow…sliding down a snowy mountain like they did in “An Adventure in the Swiss Alps”!

So when people think I take an inordinate number of pictures of Foster and Panda around the house, they could be right. But you never know what you will be able to use for “blog material”. Take the above photo for example. Imagine going from the kitchen floor to being transported in  “The Dark and Stormy Night” to an adventure in Peru!

Or from playing with a piece of cardboard to twirling a light saber in preparation for joining the police force (“Copy That!”). The possibilities are endless. But how do you go from an ordinary photo to the heights of adventure? panda on couchLet’s start with Panda on the couch. Although most of the pictures I have of Panda he is just wherever Foster has left him around the house,  I admit to posing this one. I needed a good, clear photo of him in his new overalls, so we did a “Panda photo shoot” and came up with this one.panda outline

So on Corel Paint Shop Pro you go in and use the “object extractor” feature. This is where you outline the part of the photo you want to extract from the background. This is really hard to do using a computer mouse, unless you have a super steady hand.panda close up crop smallI discovered that you can zoom in to make this easier.

panda redThen you have to click the “fill” tool inside the area you have drawn around.

Then you click a couple more things and there you have it!

panda dancing smallAnd that’s how Panda went from being on the couch in the living room to participating in a Swedish folk dance in “A Trip to the Farm”! If you look carefully at his arms, you will also see that he has been “flipped” horizontally, to make it look more like he is facing the right way. This is a very handy tip that helps you use the same pictures in different ways and not have it look like you are using the same image over and over. (Which you are, actually, because all this editing takes a long time, and once you get an image that looks really good, you’ll want to use it as much as possible.)

Then, at around Christmas time, I invested in my first iPad! One reason I wanted one was that I knew I could edit images using the Apple pen instead of a computer mouse. original panda overallsIt worked! Now I can take a picture with my iPhone, and bring it up on the iPad using an app called “PhotoshopMix”, edit it with my Apple pencil, and then save it back to my photos. Then I can pull it up on the computer with Paint Shop Pro to copy and paste it into whatever background I want (usually from

One thing I really I like about the PhotoshopMix app is that you can make it “auto extract” your image initially instead of drawing around it, and then you can use your Apple pencil to clean up the edges by either erasing background or by coloring in parts that should have been extracted but weren’t.

So much fun! This is how I got the image of Foster with the puzzled look on his face to use in “Firefighters in Training” when he jumps up to tell the police officer “Um, excuse me sir, but that’s my friend you have there.” You will see that he has been flipped horizontally in this one so he can be looking at the officer.

I have to say this is one of my favorites, partly because it took what seemed like forever to get it to look right, but I refused to give up. Below are just some of the steps in the process of changing the photo from on the left into Panda’s paragliding adventure in the Swiss Alps.

So now you know more about how Foster and Panda get to go on so many adventures.


The wonders of modern technology!

10 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes With Foster and Panda

  1. Oh so fun and creative! Thanks for sharing your secrets! 🙂 Are the apps you mention free or did you have to buy them? I still only do minimal editing on my photos with whatever free software came with my camera or computer. I often wonder if it’s worth buying photo editing software but they seem to want monthly subscriptions and I’d rather not get into that.

    1. Thanks! I’m glad you liked it! The app for the iPad was free, but the PaintShop Pro was a CD that I had gotten years ago and updated occasionally online. So far it has never needed a subscription, but from what I understand Photoshop does. I’m not sure how closely the iPad app PhotoshopMix is related to the actual PhotoShop, if at all 🤔

      1. Thanks for the info. 😊 I’d been looking into Photoshop Lightroom but when I found out it was no longer a one time purchase I reconsidered. I wish I had more photo editing capabilities so I may keep looking.

  2. I was impressed by your skill before, but now I am super-impressed. Great post, Debra! And, by the way, you simply cannot have too many pictures of Foster and Panda!

    1. LOL thanks!😋 It’s only by trial and error that I have learned some of this stuff. And I’m glad to know someone agrees with me about all my Foster and Panda pictures! 😂

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