Photo Composite & Manipulation: Lion on Jeep

I was anxious to make a new composite image, and do a little photo manipulation in Photoshop.  I like to continually push myself to learn more about my craft, so that I will be better prepared to apply these skills to commercial and advertising photography assignments.  I looked through the images that I had, and pulled out a lion (shot at the Indianapolis Zoo); an image from the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, CO; a shot of a dry lake bed from Grey, TN; and a Jeep (Willys, I believe) from the War Bird Expo, here in Indianapolis.  Here are the elements I used, and the results are below that.

Photo Composite Elements:  Lion; Jeep Willys; Garden of the Gods; & dry lake bed.

Photo Composite Elements:  Lion; Jeep Willys; Garden of the Gods; & dry lake bed.

I had a few key challenges:  lighting, perspective, and some missing lion parts.  I had to take the dry lake bed, retouch it, then duplicate it multiple times so that I could squish it into a perspective that would match the Jeep.  

The light direction on the Jeep was the primary lighting perspective that I had to work with (light from the left and behind).  This wasn't the lighting that was on the lion, so I had to do a bit of shading to make it look similar.  The lighting on the Garden of the Gods was usable, once I flipped it over.  

The lions right paw was chopped off in the image, so I had to duplicate her left paw, and make a right paw out of it.  

Shading had to be considered.  I had to shade the Jeep where the lion sat, and copy over the shadow of the Jeep from the concrete to the dry lake bed.  

I pulled it altogether, balancing out color, hue, saturation, and luminosity.  I added in a sun haze from upper left, and added lights on the Jeep to try and help bring more harmony to the composite image.  All in all, I think the image came together quite well.  Had I shot the images with this particular end in mind, I would have shot them differently, but given what I had, it worked out.  

Photo Composite:  Lion on Jeep (final image)

Photo Composite:  Lion on Jeep (final image)