Tutorial for Feathered Wings in Photoshop


Creating feathered wings in Photoshop can be done in a few different ways. Usually feathered wings are applied to photographs of women or children in an effort to create angels or other fantasy-based imagery. Decide on what subject image you would like to apply the feathered-wing visual effect and open it in Photoshop. You will need either an existing photograph of a bird's wings, a photograph of a feather or a Wacom tablet with which to paint the feathers yourself.

Using Bird Photographs for Feathered Wings in Photoshop

  • The easiest technique to add feathered wings in Photoshop is to take the wings from an actual bird photograph and paste them into your photograph. The best images to work with are photographs in which the bird is flying or in a pose where you can see the detail on the bird's wing. Simply create a selection marquee around the wing in the bird photo, copy it selecting "Edit < Copy" from the menu and click on your photograph to paste the bird's wing onto your subject. Clean up the wing by masking or erasing around its edges until just the actual wing is visible. Position the wing by using the Free Transform tool ("Edit < Free Transform"), which will allow you to scale, rotate or stretch the wing(s) into a believable position.

Using Feathers to Create Wings

  • Another method for creating feathered wings in Photoshop is to start with a photograph of a single feather. Paste the photo into your subject photograph. Eliminate the background of the feather by either masking it or using the Eraser tool. Once the feather is isolated, duplicate the feather (by clicking "Duplicate Layer" in the Layer palette) and position it using the Free Transform tool (located in the menu under "Edit < Free Transform"). Duplicate and position each feather one by one until you have created an entire wing out of feathers.

Painting Your Wings With Feather Brushes

  • Using the Paintbrush tool to create a feather brush is another option. After selecting the Paintbush tool in the toolbox, choose a paintbrush with a slightly soft, round tip from the submenu and select a feather color using the color picker. Use a Wacom tablet instead of a mouse to paint a feather if possible because you will have more control. Paint the middle line of the feather and then add in soft brush strokes to either side until you are satisfied with the appearance. Next, turn your single feather into a paintbrush by selecting it and clicking "Edit < Define Brush Preset" from the menu. Continue painting the rest of the wings with your feather as the actual brush. You can also turn a feather photo into a feather brush, though it will only paint with its shape and color, much like a rubber stamp.

Using Photoshop Filters to Create Feathers

  • Another technique to create feathered wings is to utilize Photoshop's default filters. Draw a basic shape for your wings using the Paintbrush or Shape tool. Add a variety of filters for visual effects until you are satisfied with your wings. Useful filters for achieving a featherlike effect are "Artistic < Rough Pastels," "Brush Strokes < Crosshatch" or "Sketch < Torn Edges." Apply a series of filters to your wing shape until your desired texture and appearance has been reached. Position your wings over the subject photo and you are finished.

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  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
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