Tom Ross November 10th, 2011

Stunning Photo Manipulations Inspired by Nature

Nature is a popular subject amongst the Photoshop community, and subsequently is featured in a lot of photo manipulation work. Nature is really the perfect subject for photo manipulations as it's so visually engaging. Think of the four elements, or a beautiful landscape, or a fierce animal. All these things are products of nature, and all of them are visually engaging. When done right, integrating nature into your Photoshop work can produce some truly fantastic works. That's why today we've compiled a range of incredible photo manipulations based around the theme of nature to inspire you. Each of these works is beautiful in it's own right, but try to notice recurring patterns amongst them. Most of them have vibrant colors, great lighting and a keen sense of detail. It's also worth noting how often various elements of nature can combine to produce wonderful results (for example the fusion of fire and water).

Example of Photo Manipulations Featuring Nature:

Our Kingdom
A very striking photo manipulation that makes great use of light effects. The central lion and horses actually take on the appearance of a light painting, and their eerie glow gives them an aura-like feel. The gold on black color palette works beautifully, and helps the detail lighting and smoke effects really pop. The swirling whirlpool in the center of the piece draws the eye, and provides a huge amount of depth, giving the impression of an endless abyss.

our kingdom nature photo manipulation

Out of Frame Nature
A bold and vibrant photo manipulation, this composition uses an out of frame technique to make it more unique. Water has been manipulated to pour out of a central hanging frame, whilst a mix of various photographs/landscapes are combined to create a scenic environment.

out of frame nature nature photo manipulation

Ice Queen
This photo manipulation really makes you feel the chill! Using a limited blue/white color palette and some great icy effects the final piece is really engaging. The glowing central figure is what draws our eye, as most of the lighting in the piece is centered around her. The surrounding environment has been constructed by blending multiple winter landscapes to create a fantasy background. Ice textures have been applied over the entire composition to give an added layer of detail and distress.

ice queen nature photo manipulation

Animal Textured Typography
A really creative concept, using various animal textures and surfaces to construct unique animal typography. Each letter has been hand designed, with some cool 3D effects, great lighting and huge varieties in surface. Extra visual elements have been included to really capture the character and life of each animal (for example trunks, tongues and tails).

animal textured typography nature photo manipulation

Illuminati is a striking photo manipulation featuring a neon-lit owl. A lot of work has gone into this composition, as you can tell from the beautiful details of the background texture to the subtle nature of the lighting. The generally grayscale color palette gives extra emphasis to the colored, glowing lights weaving around the owl, as well as the creature's piercing eyes. The owl itself has been given a hand-drawn effect, using a variety of Photoshop brushes and filters.

illuminati nature photo manipulation

Ascendii Nature
A busy, yet effective photo manipulation, combining various places and scenes into a single cohesive piece. There's some great blending happening in this piece, such as the tree branches enveloping the earth and the addition of leaves/plants over the doorway. Overall this composition is fun and fantasy filled!

ascendii nature nature photo manipulation

This photo manipulation is a relatively simple concept, but is executed beautifully. The base of the volcano is blending perfectly into the man's hair, and the artist has even made the lava flick out like a stray strand of hair to complete the look. The attention to detail is great, as light from the burning lava is cast down onto the man's head. The contrast between the vibrancy of the volcano and the washed out man's face also creates a nice level of contrast.

volcano nature photo manipulation

"Tree House"
One of my absolute favorite nature themed photo manipulations. The artist has constructed an artificial floating landscape from various stock photos, and then seamlessly blended them together. He carefully extracted several tree routes to give an overgrown effect, and finished off the piece by applying a subtle paper texture - giving a final fantasy storybook feel.

tree housenature photo manipulation

Rapture is a fairly famous photo manipulation, and it's not hard to see why! The details and colors of this piece are simply astonishing. The artist has photo manipulated the tree branches to break off and float up into the sky, defying the laws of gravity. Combined with the light source coming from the top of the composition we imagine some alien presence pulling the man and branches upwards. Further focus on the man is given by the glow of the background landscape and sharper highlights on his torso.

rapture nature photo manipulation

Jellyfish Typography
Beautifully lit typography comprised entirely of jellyfish! The artist has photo manipulated dozens of jellyfish to construct lettering, and then applied additional lighting and coloring to bring out the natural glow of the deep sea creatures. A cool example of how nature carries with it a lot of natural beauty.

jellyfish typography nature photo manipulation

An awesome photo manipulation that constructs a woman entirely from flower petals. I love how the petals range in size from fairly large in the foreground, to absolutely tiny in some of the facial details. The end result feels light and airy, and the soft pastel colors make this very easy on the eyes. You can see that a lot of work has gone into shading and shaping the petals to create realistic depth and surface. Further detail is provided by some colorful sketchy lines in the background.

sing nature photo manipulation

Kreativa Studio Lettering
Kreativa Studio have come up with a unique typographic photo manipulation featuring several elements of nature. They've done really well to capture the varying densities, textures and lighting of nature's elements. The water feels deep, blue and gaseous, whilst the greenery feels lush and healthy. I like how the letter seems to contain an entire world, including cloudy sky, sun and even ships! This piece is elevated by the attention to detail, such as the thin stream of water gushing out of a crack in the side of the lettering. The lighting is also effective, as the light from the underwater scene illuminates the surface which the letter rests on.

kreativa studio nature photo manipulation

Mother Nature
Mother Nature is a beautiful natural composition with plenty of great details. The woman's hair has been blended with glowing strands of grass, and further grass has been applied for accessories such as her bracelets. The rich green color palette gives an overbearing natural feel to the piece.

mother nature nature photo manipulation

Unleashed is a dark and vibrant photo manipulation. The floating tiger heads really capture the ferocity of the animal, and the lighting/lightening effects swooping up with them add to their energy. Interestingly the tigers have been places in an incongruous space setting. However, despite the unusual setting the composition is really beautiful, using a beautiful rich purple color palette with stunning blue highlights.

unleashed nature photo manipulation

Tidal Wave
Taking note from The Day After Tomorrow this is a photo manipulation of epic proportions! Photoshop has been used to show the true destructive force of nature as a monster wave washes through a huge bridge. The artist has skillfully combined two images of vastly different dimensions to construct a fantasy scenario. Most impressive is how cohesive the lighting is, making the outcome truly believable. I also like the attention to detail shown in the extra splashes of water as the wave hits the bridge.

tidal wave nature photo manipulation

Zen is a magical photo manipulation that truly distorts the laws of physics. The floating rocky landscape feels very dreamlike, which is accentuated by the subtle fog cast over the scene. The colors have been blended well to give everything a slight pink/purple hue, and the varying sizes of floating rock help establish a lot of depth/perspective.

zen nature photo manipulation

I've seen this photo manipulation concept attempted a few times, but this is surely one of the more successful outcomes. Plenty of details are introduced to make the underwater hippo more believable. Take a look at the subtle bubbles coming from his mouth, the clouds of sand where he's moved his feet and the lighting cast upon him from the water.

Isla nature photo manipulation

Beach Disaster
Another cool natural disaster scene that's been constructed entirely in Photoshop. This composition features a tidal wave, which has been blended well with the surrounding beach scene. It's also inspiring to check out the photo-manipulated sand castle, whereby an actual castle has been manipulated to look like it's constructed from sand. The running children and splashes from the young boy add an extra dimension of energy and panic to the scene.

beach disaster nature photo manipulation

The title of this photo-manipulation is really fitting, as this composition instantly suggests freedom and peace. The true color and vivacity of nature is captured in the bright, vibrant flowers that weave around the woman. The implication is that the woman is truly at one with nature, as it flows around and through her. The piece is accentuated by the pastel, abstract background and subtle clouds overlapping the dancer.

heaven nature photo manipulation

Wall is a stunning photo manipulation used for an Advanced Photoshop tutorial. The composition combines several wooden crates, each which is covered with it's own natural landscape. The detail in this piece is immense, including detailed windows with light flooding out of them, openings emitting bubbles, and paint splattering outwards. The design has a lot of depth, in part due to it's intense shadows and highlights. The eye is drawn naturally down the design to the chair at the base. A great example of using shapes, size and perspective!

wall nature photo manipulation

Mother Nature
A really impressive manipulation, that you actually have to look at closer to fully appreciate. The overall composition is vibrant and attractive. However, the real mastery lies in the central figure, which has been artfully constructed using many branch/root stocks. The way that the artist has blended, warped and adjusted these branches into a realistic wooden figure is really inspiring.

mother nature nature photo manipulation

Fire Flower
This burning flower is a wonderful example of combining several elements of nature. The two concepts of flower and fire would not usually be associated with one another, yet once combined they create a piece that is both elegant and intense/ominous. The plain background really lets you focus on the intense flames and lighting coming from them. I love the subtle use of sparks/light speks on the petals.

fire flower nature photo manipulation

Element is a beautiful typography illustration that has a very natural feel to it. The artist has manipulated branches to construct elegant lettering. They have then shaded/lit the lettering expertly, and introduced further elements such as the leaves, grass, sculpture and bird. This is a good example of how photo manipulation can really capture the texture and essence of an entity. You can almost reach out and grab the branches, and they don't appear the least bit fake.

element nature photo manipulation

Keep on Fire
Keep on Fire is one of those photo manipulations that puts you right in the middle of the action. From the falling statue figure to the fierce flames we really feel the intensity of the scene. The juxtaposition of fire and water is a great visual combination, seamlessly integrating both natural elements into a cohesive piece. The lighting in the piece is superb, as the amber flames cast out a subtle glow on the surrounding rocks and figures.

keep on fire nature photo manipulation

Another bright and vibrant piece combining multiple elements of nature. This design has manipulated flowing waterfalls, cloud formations and trees to combine to a fantasy sky landscape. The background is unrealistically bright and colorful, yet helps enhance the fantasy setting. Elements are well blended together, retaining the sharpness and movement of the flowing water rather than over-blurring or masking it.

nature nature photo manipulation

Contemplation is a very detailed photo manipulation and integrates several natural elements. The entire central structure is set against a scenic backdrop, whilst the buddha sits amidst a dazzling variety of flowers, scrubs and falling leaves. The design uses a very naturalistic, autumnal color palette, ranging from deep yellows/oranges to rich greens.

contemplation nature photo manipulation

Wildlife Poster
This photo manipulation is for a fictional wildlife TV show. The central zebra has been masked off using various splatter brush sets in Photoshop to create a grungy, abstract edge for the animal. The backdrop is a glowing African landscape, enhanced by details such as the subtle zebra stripes overlaid, as well as a build up of light effects to draw your focus towards the center of the design.

wildlife poster nature photo manipulation

The Choice
One of my all time favorite photo manipulations concerning nature. The message created is clear - a choice between a lush natural landscape or one destroyed by the actions of man. The piece is visually striking, with great contrast between the verdant greens of the right half, and the orange flames and barren gray landscape on the left. The two halves have been blended really well, with details such as the overlap of leaves, or the light cast by the flames showing how the two halves leak into one another.

the choice nature photo manipulation

Extraordinary Island
Another photo manipulation that distorts reality. The artist has created a hugely detailed natural island, which is all but submerged in a tumultuous sea. The perspective and angle of the sea is clearly impossible, yet works really well as part of a fantasy landscape. Further depth is added by the birds flocking towards the island, which through their larger size help establish perspective (especially when compared to the animals on land).

extraordinary island nature photo manipulation

One With Nature
One With Nature is exactly what the title suggests - an epic photo manipulation that truly integrates man with nature. Almost every part of the model has been worked into the natural setting in some way, from his afro hair (constructed from a hedge), to his central core, entwined around the earth. The details and lighting on this piece are really engaging, and the floating leaves help to establish depth and movement. The sharp glowing edges on the man give more definition and impact.

one with nature nature photo manipulation

Collegium is a bright and vibrant photo manipulation that uses the earth as the central focus. The artist has constructed various landmasses stemming out from the water, which are clearly of unrealistic proportions. However, the final result is really fun and friendly, and has plenty of depth. I love how the fantasy world moves from a tropical paradise at the top, to a desolate frozen land at the bottom. Interestingly the rays of light from the upper left logo are continued out to light the entire piece.

collegium nature photo manipulation

A hugely creative concept that really captures the essence of nature. The idea of holding nature in your hands helps to make it palpable and comprehensible. I love the 3D effect given to the water in the bottom hand, which is especially impressive if you notice all the floating debris and detail in the water. The pouring water coming from the top hand is artfully done, and creates a really natural transition between the two nature scenes.

act nature photo manipulation

Striking Nature Scene
A deceptively detailed photo manipulation. The man's torso has been constructed by many layers of weaving tree branches, which blend down seamlessly into a root formation. The muted colors of the piece ensure that you focus on the central figure, and the weaving tree routes help guide your eye this way.

striking nature scene nature photo manipulation

Nature's Defiance
This piece creates a great juxtaposition between the man-made and the natural. Ultimately it is nature who wins in this scenario, as the huge tree overwhelms the urban surroundings. The composition effectively positions nature as superior to man in several ways. Aside from the obvious size of the tree, it is clearly more colorful than the duller surroundings (thus it draws the eye more). Additionally the swirling light effect around the trunk of the tree gives the structure a magical element which sets it apart from the boring surroundings.

nature's defiance nature photo manipulation

This bright, verdant composition uses a pink butterfly to form part of this planet's structure. Everything from the lighting the color palette has been amplified to make this piece stand out, and it's really effective. The detail in the butterfly is immense, including a series of complex patterns that appear to have been superimposed over the wings. The various bushes and trees constructing the planet have been blending and warped to form a realistic planet structure, which is surrounded by a bright glow, helping it stand out even more against the dark blue background.

earthcology nature photo manipulation


Tom Ross

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