Photo editing and Compositing in Photoshop to Create a Dreamscape

I am so accustomed to using Photoshop for digital painting, this was an interesting change of pace. I learned some new tricks and tips here that I now apply to my digital paintings!

The purpose of this project was “paint” a picture using a collage of photographs. I wrote down a few words that would serve as overarching themes and guidelines for me as I sketched out possible compositions. This final composite came from the themes – “Whimsy,” and “Contrasting Scale.” As an undergrad, I did research with a passionate ornithologist who got me into birding. This was created in light of my enjoyment and love for birds. 😀

First, I placed the collected images in a general layout. I scaled and edited each photograph to fit the scene.
Then I began manipulating the image with blend modes and scanned textures.

Work in progress of a photoshop composite

Here, I continued working with blend modes, masks, and scale.
Work in progress of a photoshop composite

I changed the scale of the child and the birds and began integrating the birds more into the scene with painted shadows and masks. I also started orienting the birds so that some of them were facing the birder.
Work in progress of a photoshop composite

I have a strong propensity towards warm hues as you can tell in the previous image haha. So I scaled back the warmth here, added binoculars and a scan of my Peterson’s bird book to tuck under the child’s arm.
The final image is below!
Photoshop composite of a contented birder

Every image here is open source except for the tree. Credit for the tree image goes to Louis Dallara. Thanks for looking!

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