The Making of “The Birds”

“The Birds” was created from three different digital images I captured while in Arizona. An interesting dead tree attracted these birds who would fly to and from it while making quite a ruckus with their mating calls. I was attracted to the intertwining branches and how they formed nice contrast and depth within the images. It took about an hour of patience for me to capture the different birds on the branches I thought created the best composition.

The images could possibly have stood on their own or been processed as black and white, but I felt they had greater potential. There was emotion and impact within the birds and branches themselves but I knew that with the right combination of colors and textures, they could be taken to a much more interesting and dramatic level.

Triptych using combined textures of Skeletal Mess and Fly Textures


Original Bird 1 for "The Birds"


Original Image 2 of "The Birds"


Original bird image 3 for "The Birds"

I assessed each of these images and knew that as a triptych, I would need to place the birds in a way that they could stand on their own but also flow together as an triptych.  Image 1′s placement was good, Image 2 needed to be modified and Image 3 needed to be flipped horizontal so that the bird faced inward towards Image 2.

I did some slight but different cropping on each and then cloned out a couple of small, distracting branches.  Image 2 still didn’t feel quite right on its own. I felt that the bird was looking the wrong directions, but I loved how the branches flowed in the original image.  So with careful photoshop techniques, I was able to flip the bird without flipping the branches.

Next,  I used Nik’s Silver Effects Pro 2 to change the images into black and white as well as adjust the sky and branches to give the depth I wanted. I didn’t need to make this perfect at this time because as soon as I added the texture, I would need to make more adjustments.


Bird 2 converted to Black and White

I then selected the textures I wanted to add to these images.  Although, I have many textures that I have created myself, it is fun to try out the textures that others have created as well.  In this particular set of images, I decided on a texture created by FlyPaper Textures and a texture created by Skeletal Mess.


Texture from FlyPaper Textures


Texture from Skeletal Mess

With a new blank white image box open, I added Texture 1 to a new layer.  I then added Texture 2 to a layer over Texture 1. I changed Texture 2′s layer to an opacity of 50% and adjusted the blending options in the layers palate.  I then opened Bird 1 and placed it on a layer over the other two textures.  I placed this layer with full opacity.


Different Layers added to Bird Image

In assessing the image, I then made appropriate level adjustments, color adjustments and saturation adjustments to each layer as necessary to reach the creative vision I desired.   I also erased small sections of the different texture layers in order to pull out the details of the image I wanted.

I repeated these steps for each of the different bird images and adjusted all to match each other.  Each image stands on its own but can be horizontally or vertically displayed as a triptych.

Triptych combining Texture Layers



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