How to Create a Queen of Bird Photo Manipulation in Photoshop

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create a fantasy piece featuring a birdy woman. You’ll learn how to combine different stock images together and blend them using adjustment layers, masking and brushes, create a birdy dress, enhance the mood, color and light and more.

Preview of the Final Result

Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Create a new 1500×1500 px document in Photoshop and fill it with white. Open the forest image and drag it into the white canvas using the Move Tool (V). Convert this layer to a Smart Object and use the Free Transform Tool (Ctrl+T) to make the bottom of the image larger a bit. 

Step 2

On this layer, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the radius to 6 px:
On the filter mask, activate the Brush Tool (B) and choose a soft round one with black color. Use this brush to erase the background and leave the blur effect visible on the midground and foreground only. This step is to separate the background from the main elements and help to increase the depth of the scene.

Step 3

There is an unwanted twig on the ground. Create a new layer above the forest layer and set it as Clipping Mask. Select the Clone Tool (S) to remove this detail.

Step 4

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer> Hue Saturation (set as Clipping Mask) and reduce the Saturation values to -75:

Step 5

Create a Curves adjustment layer and increase the lightness a bit. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to erase the background and a part of the midground, leaving the effect visible on the  rest only. 

Step 6

Make another Curves adjustment layer and decrease the lightness a bit. The selected areas shows where to paint on the layer mask. 

Step 7

Create a new layer and use a soft white brush to paint on the top middle to add some light there. Change this layer mode to Soft Light 50%.

Step 8

Open the bird 1 image and cut out him from the background. Use the Lasso Tool (L) to take a wing and place it in the lower corner of the right canvas. Apply a Gaussian Blur of 3 px to this wing layer to make it softer . 

Step 9

Isolate the bird 2 and add him to the middle of the left side. Apply a Gaussian Blur of 6 px to the bird layer.

Step 10

Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer (set as Clipping Mask) and reduce the Saturation values to -53:

Step 11

Make a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the top of the wing. On this layer mask, paint on the rest to keep its lightness.

Step 12

Cut out the bird 3 to add him to the right of the forest and apply a Gaussian Blur of 3 px to this layer.

Step 13

Create a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the bird. Paint on the  middle of the tail so it won’t be brighten  by this adjustment layer. 

Step 14

Make a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to desaturate the bird. Change the Saturation values to –78:

Step 15

Open the model image and cut her out from the background using your familiar method and duplicate the extracted model on a new layer . I’ve made a Color Fill layer between the background and the extracted one and picked the color #7da489 but it’s up to you. 

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