You may have seen this image floating around in my Flickr gallery, well today I want to show you the steps I went through to create this final image.
This is the original stock image I found on sxc.hu. The moment I saw this photo, I was sparked with inspiration and knew I needed to create something. Sometimes when I creating a photo manipulation, I will have an idea beforehand which means I need to go out and find or create the perfect photographs for my idea. And other times like in this case, I will come across a photo that sparks that idea.
The first step I take is to crop the image to a square. I like the look of the town to the left and the clouds to the right, so in order to not lose them through cropping, I select both sides of the image and transform them. I pull them in closer to the centre of the image so the town and clouds are included. This also gives the hill more a rounder, cartoon like curve which I really love for the feel of this photo.
The next step is to begin the colouring process. At first I use Digital Film Action's free Photoshop Curves to give me a base of what I want the colours this image to look like. I went for a much warmer and vintage feel compared to the original image. Once I am happy with what the overall colours look like, I make a new curves adjustment layer and tweak the colours and tone further.
Last but not least, I add the final touch of the birds flying from one of my own images from my archives. I set the layer blending mode to Lighten, Opacity at 100%. I also apply a layer mask to the birds to remove any birds that aren't sitting right in the image. Once I am happy with how it looks, I copy and flip the bird image to make it seem like the birds are flocking from the tree in two groups.