Rotate a defined portion of an image?

I’m working on an exposure from the Devil’s Tower (yes, as in CE3K). I was lucky enough to catch three ravens soaring above or near the top of the pillar. Why not add few more ravens while I’m at it.

Through no fault of mine, two of the original three birds are almost at right angles to each other. Artfully arranging orthogonal faux birds is no fun.

Is there a way to define a framed area, and rotate anywhere from 0 to 360° only that defined area? I don’t see an obvious answer in PL5, or Nik 4.2. I can spin a bird in something like Gimp, etc., but I’d just as soon stay in the DxO world.

Being involved with ravens, the answer could well be “nevermore”.

The only PhotoLab trick I can think of is to make one or more birds into a watermark and progressively position/rotate the watermark, save as TIFF, and do it again until you have your fill of unkindness - or completeness of conspiracy. :grin:

Good news, bad news. I see how that could work. The trick however, is to collect only the raven(s), and none of the sky around them. The masking has to be tight, or a ring of sky of the wrong shading gives the whole thing away. DAHIK.

This undertaking is, I admit, somewhere on the far side of anal, or insane. NTL seeing birds soaring over/around the tower is appealing. Of course, the exposures that just don’t get it done have several birds. The one with the tower right… you guessed it.

Fuse the image with the tower with an image of soaring birds and “repair” the birds into the image with the tower. Then crop off the bird part.

I finally said to heck with it, got the image to where I otherwise wanted it, exported a TIFF. GIMP let me do the rotation, and now there are (I think) ravens circling Devils Tower.

I count that process as being better than a poke in the eye, but only just. (I dislike GIMP, but haven’t met anything better in freeware, and do pixel painting so rarely, why pay for something I mostly avoid).