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How to Create a Slice of Nature Photo Manipulation

Final Image Preview

Video Tutorial

Before Getting Started

Writer’s always say that ideas are a dime a dozen — it’s the execution that counts. The same holds true with designs, especially illustrations. But the idea is important, without it nothing else happens.

The idea I had for this was pretty a simple. A twisted tree looming over a small slice of land, probably grass covered, maybe with a little river flowing, all with roots sticking out of the slice. I also wanted a brooding sky, dark and stormy. I can’t really draw for a lick, but I had a pretty good picture in my head. So I headed off to find some stock.

  • I wanted a bonsai tree as they had the ancient and twisted look I was going after. I searched for a good shot for free from sxc.hu, but didn’t have any luck. Finally I settled on this one from iStockphoto.
  • Next I was on to the slice of ground. I wasn’t sure if I wanted just uprooted ground or maybe something that had been pulled out of a pot. I hunted high and low on sxc.hu until I found this.
  • Dark and brooding sky. Thanks to night-fate for this one!
  • Cracked desert landscape, river, and grassy hills.
  • While searching through sxc.hu I decided I wanted a waterfall to fall from the tree.

Step 1