Although in our world only birds have feathered wings, it doesn’t stop us from being curious what other animals would look like with a pair of them. And with the power of photo manipulation, you don’t need to wonder anymore—just see it for yourself!
How to Add Wings to a Photo in Adobe Photoshop
In this short tutorial I will show you how to attach a pair of wings to a cute piglet. This will be fun and educational at the same time!
What You Will Need
In order to complete this project, you’ll need the following stock images:
1. How to Prepare the Assets for Photo Manipulation
First we need to prepare the wings. Open the image with the bird and use the Magic Wand Tool (W) to select the area outside of the animal.
Go to Select > Refine Edge. Play with the sliders here to make it look as if the background was all white from the start. Change the View to see it better.
We need the wings separately, so use the Magnetic Lasso Tool (hold Shift and press L three times) to select the wing that is closer to us. Copy and paste it to a new layer.
Select the other wing as well (you can use the normal Lasso Tool (L) for this) with a part of the body, pretending you can see the whole wing. Copy and paste it as well.
That wing in the background was concealed by the other wing, but we may need it whole. Let’s do something to fix it.
Use the Lasso Tool (L) to cut a proper shape out of it.
Select the part where the other wing appears, and go to Edit > Fill.
Select Content-Aware and press OK.
Select the feathers from the upper part and copy them to the area below.
Go to Edit > Free Transform, select Warp Mode and drag the points to achieve a better shape for the feathers. Then select both layers and press Control-E to merge them when you’re done.
Use the Patch Tool (J) to fix all the seams until the wing looks more or less natural.
2. How to Combine the Photos
Open the photo of the pig now. Use the Crop Tool (C) to make space for the wings.
Copy each wing separately from that other file and paste them to the file with the pig. Select them both and go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal to change their direction. Then go to Edit > Free Transform to adjust their size. You can go for realistic big wings, or cute little ones.
Let’s reshape each wing individually now. Use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) to adjust the shape to the perspective of the pig’s body.
Hide the wing in the foreground for now, so that we can see the other one better. Go to the pig layer and use the Magic Wand Tool (W) to select the area outside the animal.
Click the wing layer now and click Add a mask. The selection area will be taken from the wing while keeping the actual image intact. Click the mask that appeared on the layer, and use a soft brush to correct the area to make it seem as if the wing is behind the pig’s body. Paint with black to create transparency, and with white to create opaque. You can learn more about this tool here:
Now that you know how the layer masks work, add one to the wing in the foreground and use a soft brush to blend it with the pig’s body.
3. How to Create a Convincing Photo Manipulation
Since the wings come from another photo, they have a different white balance that doesn’t fit the pig. Let’s adjust the colors a little. Go to Window > Adjustments and select Hue/Saturation. Clip the adjustment (Control-Alt-G) and play with the sliders to make the wing seem to be a part of the pig.
When you’re done, hold the Alt key and drag the adjustment to the other wing layer as well.
The pig has soft edges, and the wings sharp. Let’s fix that difference by treating the masks on both wings with a soft brush.
I want to make the wings even more pinkish, as if their color were part of the pig’s coat. Add a Color Balance adjustment to one wing, clip it, and make it a warm red.
We want the color to be applied to the darker parts of the wing without affecting the bright ones. Photoshop is able to do that! Right click the adjustment layer and select Blending Options. Then drag the lower white marker in the Blend If section and see the white parts excluded!
You can make the effect softer by holding Alt and splitting the marker.
If you want to understand this tool better, check out this quick tutorial:
The wing is still quite dark, in my opinion, so you can use a Brightness/Contrast adjustment to brighten it. Feel free to play with Blend If to make it affect the darker parts only!
The border between the wing and the body is not very convincing yet. Select the area on the pig’s body and copy it to a new layer, above all the other layers.
Modify its shape with the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) to fit the area
Add a mask to the layer and blend the fur softly into the wing. It’s starting to look good!
Soft blending is easy, but it also looks unnatural. Let’s cover it with some hair. Right click the layer with the pig and select Duplicate Layer. Drag the copy to the top, add a layer mask, and use the Paint Bucket Tool (G) to fill it with black (making it fully transparent). Then paint with white to reveal the area at the base of the wing.
Go to the Blending Options and this time play with the upper slider. By dragging the black marker to the right, you’re making the dark parts of the layer more transparent. This leaves us with the single bright hairs only!
Now you can blend it softly without losing all the details in the process:
There’s one more cool effect we can add to make the wings more in style with the rest of the photo. Take your soft brush and go into Quick Mask Mode (Q). Paint over the wing in the background, on the part that goes away from us.
Go out of the mode (Q); a selection will be created. Go to Select > Inverse to invert it, and then press Control-H to hide the selection for a moment. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur to blur that distant part of the wing.
Do the same with the other wing, this time blurring the outline.
Finish the artwork with all the little tweaks you wish and save it for publishing. Some tricks you can use here:
- Save it in a smaller size (Control-Alt-I) to make the resolution difference between the stock photos less visible.
- Use Filter > Noise to unify the photos.
- Use Filter > Sharpen to unify the photos (be careful here—sometimes it may work the other way around).
Pigs Can Fly!
Good job! Our piglet has cute little wings on its back, and it’s ready to fly. If you’re interested in developing your photo manipulation skills further, check out these tutorials as well:
Photo EffectsHow to Create a Double Exposure Action in Adobe PhotoshopRaul Gutierrez Rosado
Photo ManipulationHow to Create an Energetic Paint Splashing Effect in Adobe PhotoshopMelody Nieves
RetouchingHow to Realistically Change Hair and Fur Color in Adobe PhotoshopMonika Zagrobelna