Depict foreground elements
I create a new layer on top and begin to loosely lay in foreground leaves and branches. Because this will be blurred there’s no need to get detailed. However, I do build it up, using several layers. Once everything is laid in, I combine the layers and go to Filter>Blur> Gaussian Blur. Then I set the blur to about 35 pixels. This will give the piece a nice feeling of depth.
Depth of field and finishing up
I copy all of the creature layers and combine them into one layer. Then I turn off all of the original individual layers. I select the Blur tool and pick the Airbrush setting. I set this to about 300 pixels and a strength of 50 per cent. Now I go in and begin to blur out areas of the creature layer that I want out of focus. I do this to divert the viewer’s attention to areas of interest, such as the face. This also gives the image a bit of a photographic look. Finally, I flatten the image and adjust the exposure and saturation to get the composition nice and bright.