Although the previous few steps may feel tedious and time-consuming, getting them right is crucial to the success of the piece. Now, the fun part begins. Create a new document, setting the background colour to C – 32, M – 29, Y – 29, K – 0. Hit G and build up a gradient colour by setting the blending mode to Multiply.
Bring your burlesque cyclist into the main document as a flattened single layer, with a Levels adjustment layer attached using a clipping mask. Place it in the middle of your document, add an orange gradient from the bottom of the bike, and draw simple shadows to give the right perspective. Scale the girl down to about a third of the size of the canvas.
Bring in the feathers, placing each on a separate layer with its Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. You’ll be able to tweak any dark edges by brushing on an extra white mask. For easy navigation, create a group for each layer, then group all the groups together, copy them for back-up and flatten each feather when you’re happy with the colour and white balance.
Drag over the leaves from the lipstick image. You can flatten the extra retouch layers in the original document for an easier workflow. To change the leaves’ colour, use a Solid Colour adjustment layer set to Hard Light. Select a leaf, hold down Alt/Opt and click New Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of our Layers palette. Select Solid Colour and sample a basic orange from the Swatches. Set it to Hard Light and you will see how all of the original texture remains with vibrant result. Repeat for all the separate leaf layers.