By Jim Zuckerman
I placed a model of a velociraptor in front of a shot of the Thai jungle using the cut and paste method I describe in my on-line course Creative Techniques in Photoshop here at Betterphoto (http://www.betterphoto.com/courseOverview.asp?cspID=75). I then created the reflection using the Photoshop plug-in ‘Flood’ (made by Flaming Pear) which, in my opinion, makes a very realistic reflection. I like this image, but there is one major problem with it: the lighting.
When you cut and paste images together, the lighting has to match or else the image doesn’t work. In this case, if you know what to look for, the only conclusion you can come to is that this was a composite image that wasn’t done well. Look at the light on the dinosaur. The direction is coming from the right side and sidelighting the reptile. The sun, however, is behind the model. Therefore, you wouldn't see light on the front of the body. This reveals the image as obviously a composite – and one that isn’t perfect.
Now compare the same reptile in front of a scenic of Lake Powell. In this image, both the velociraptor and landscape are side lit and therefore the animal looks like it belongs in this scene. This composite looks real, and even though no one actually has photographs of live dinosaurs, the allusion looks perfectly plausible.