A cat relaxes in a spa having just had her nails (claws) painted red in this funny animal picture and stock photo. To create funny cat (or animal) pictures such as this one is actually a fairly complex process. I begin with a sketch. The art director, Collette Kulak, and I sit down and choose the "talent" appropriate for a given image. She finds locations and props. Sometimes we might build a set in the studio and sometimes we will go out and shoot the location. In this case we built a set in my studio. We purchased the black and white floor tiles and placed them down on the floor. We rented the old salon chair and placed the nail polish bottle in position. That was one photograph. Next we photographed the cat. We always have animal trainers who supply the feline talent. Using trainers is very important. They know the cats and dogs and know which ones respond to which rewards, and which ones tolerate handling. They also know when an animal is getting tired and need a rest. An unhappy pet makes for a difficult photo shoot so we always try and make it a pleasant experience for our animal stars. We refer often to our sketch to insure that we photograph each part of the cat in each position needed, with appropriate lighting. One of the worst things for me is to sit down for the compositing and realize I am missing an element to complete the image. To make sure I have what I need I check off each part of the cat or dog in the sketch as we shoot them. Once the photography is complete I use Photoshop to piece the image together. I live and die by the pen tool, to create selections, the extract filter, for selecting hair and fur, and layer masks to merge the various parts seamlessly. Also important to me are the liquify filter and the warp tool. They are essential for adding facial expressions and lining up disparate parts. When all is done and finished my biggest reward is seeing smiles and hearing laughter when people look at my work.