Magic tree

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create a fantastic scene using standard Photoshop brushes. All you need for this job is Photoshop, a mouse and a little patience.
The final image is a rather realistic tree flying in the sky.

Step 1. Create a new document (Ctrl + N) size 1024px768px fill with color # 8CC2FF. Add a gradient (linear, color #CFECFE, from basic to transparent). It will be our sky, (of course, you can choose any other light blue color for the sky, or even make a night scene, but then you must remember that there will be a difference in the lighting and contrast of dark colors). Be sure to give the name of each layer (not to get confused), for each operation create a new layer.

Step 2. In this step we will make the clouds. This is a simple and fast technique with a nice effect. The secret is that you must choose the right brush. Below you will see the brush settings: Brush (Brush) “Water Drops” (DrippyWater), Stroke Thumbnail miniature, cloud color is white. Red lines imitate mouse movement. Do not forget that we draw each cloud on a separate layer.

Step 3. So far, our blots are not very similar to the clouds. Add realism. Choose a tool “Eraser” (Еraser tool) with a round soft brush, size 35-45px opacity 10-20%. Erase the bottom right of each cloud.
Duplicate each cloud layer (Ctrl + J) and place them under the originals. Apply to duplicates Filter \ Blur \ Gauss Blur (Filter \ Blur \ Gaussian Blur) (with a small radius). Move them slightly down and to the right (arrows on the keyboard). Reduce the cloud opacity for a smooth transition. CTRL + G – create a group of layers “Clouds” (you must first select the layers).

Step 4. Clouds are ready. Now we will determine where the light source will be. In our case it is the sun, even though we do not see it. Do not place the light source behind the main subject because it will be too dark.
Think about the atmosphere and the light source. In our case, the sun is not very high, because – this is Autumn. Let’s take a little look at the theory of light:
Light and camera (Light and camera): The position of the brightest area on an object depends on the viewing angle.
Light intensity (Light intensity): the second ball is too bright, it makes it look flat and loses color on top.
Shadows (Shadows): The shadows on objects should not be brighter than the object itself. In addition, remember that other objects, even such as grass, can reflect light.

Step 5. Select tool “Brush” (Brush tool), rigidity 100%, the size 2px and make a sketch of a tree (on a new layer, name it “Sketch”). The sketch does not have to be exact, mark the edges. Using a mouse is not very easy to do, but be patient – the sketch is very important. Install opacity (opacity) layer ten%.

Step 6. Select tool “Brush (Brush tool), hardness 100% and fill the grass area with a color # 719126 (on a new layer, name “Greens”). Now choose brush (settings below): “sedge” (DuneGrass) size 15 – 30px (the smaller, the better the effect) color # 90B033 and start drawing (on a new layer, name “Grass”).

Red line – imitation of the movement of the mouse, draw from top to bottom.

It will take a lot of time, but who said that Photoshop is quick and easy? Try to make every effort to achieve a good effect.
To draw grass along the “edge of the earth”, go to the menu Window \ Brushes (Window \ Brushes), select item “Brush print shape” and put a tick Flip Y, When drawing at different sites, change the angle of inclination.

Step 7. Fill (with a usual round brush) a piece of land with color # 5C4E43 (on a new layer, name “earth”).

This is the middle tone between the lightest and darkest colors. Remember that the base is hidden by other parts of the object, so it must be very dark. First of all, what you have to do is decide on the lighting and shadow.

Step 8. On the layers palette, click on “Keeps pixels transparent.”

Choose a hard brush, the settings are shown below:
Window \ Brushes (Window \ Brushes)

First apply the darkest color. (# 372e29). Every shade is on a new layer. Apply short strokes.

then add more light (# 584b3a)

and at the end add the brightest shade (# 72634c).

Step 9. Let’s get back on a bit of theory. Cold and warm shades. Gray color looks completely different on different backgrounds. Remember that orange and red colors add a warm effect to the image, and blue adds a cold effect.

Step 10. Select hard brush by size 19px Use the settings shown below.

Author’s note: Avoid soft tassels in digital painting. Mixing colors with solid tassels looks more natural and attractive.
The red arrows show the direction of the mouse movement.

Fill the tree with a dark brown color (on the new layer, name it “trunk”). You can use the author’s color palette or make your own.

Author’s note: Of course, it is better to use more than 3 colors in mixing, but the author shows only the basics here. For convenience, when the “Brush” is active, hold down Alt and click on the color from our “mini-palette” to change the color.

Step 11. Now we can make an invisible layer with a sketch. Let’s start adding volume to the tree. Remember about lighting and shade. The upper part of the tree will be hidden by leaves – it will be dark.
Paint the upper part of the trunk with the darkest color, then add light tones (the brush is the same as in the previous step, opacity (opacity) 10-15%). Brush several times in the same area to make a darker or brighter shade.
Author’s note: Do not use tools such as “Clarifier” (dodge tool) and “Dimmer” (burn tool), they will not give you the desired shade.

Step 12. Compare the image in step 12 with the image in step 11. The differences are only in the details. The author added some depth to the hollow in the middle of the tree and some shadows under the branches. And the author added lighting. Five minutes of work make the tree more realistic.

Step 13. Now we need to improve the roots, add realism. Choose a tool “Eraser” (Еraser tool), brush “sedge” (DuneGrass) (same as in step 6.) Gently erase the low parts of the roots (again, as in step 6., change the angle of the brush) (on the layer with the trunk).

Step 14. Add more details to the ground. Choose a dark color, brush, which we used in step 10, size 2-3px, mark the border of flowers at the root, then add a light shade with a lighter shade.

Step 15. Select brush Sedge (DuneGrass) (same as step 6.) and add a shadow at the edges (on the grass layer). Choose a darker color, for example # 313819, (you can choose any other) opacity (opacity) 10-15%. The size of the brush should be small 10-15px. On the layer palette, click “Keeps pixels transparent” (lock transparent pixels) and start drawing, draw as many times in one area to make the shadow heavy.

Step 16. With the same brush, add a shadow on the grass from the tree, relative to the light source. The shadow under the tree should have hard edges and be darker. Remember the shadows behind the roots.

Step 17. Change color to lighter (# AECA66), and paint the grass gently.

Step 18. Select brush (settings below), color is light yellow (# E9EB29), opacity (opacity) 15-30%, pressure (flow) 50%, Draw on the lighted areas.

Step 19. Most of the work is done! Lets take the foliage. In fact, this is the easiest part of the lesson. The most important thing is to choose the right colors. We will draw in three stages: the darkest, medium and the lightest. Notice that the dark color is under the branches. Every shade is on a new layer. Dark # 982C1F, average # BD4428, light coloured #F44830

Step 20. It is time to do small details. Add a shadow to the foliage. Use the brush from step 19, settings below.
To add shadow to the grass from the leaves, use the color for the brush. # 232323 and add a filter “Gaussian blur” with a small radius.

Draw falling leaves (a brush from step 19, with the same colors, opacity 20-40%), slightly reduce the opacity of the layer.

Add a shadow on the foliage: holding the key Ctrl + click in three layers with foliage on the tree (dark, medium, light), create a new layer (it should be at the top), select a soft brush , the size 100px dark color opacity (opacity) 20% and draw a shadow on the leaves. Change blend mode for layer to Multiplication (multiply). This will add shadow to the tree.

Let’s draw falling particles of earth (on a new layer), choose a dark color, size 8-10px and opacity 10-20%, round brush with the same settings as the leaves

Step 21 Here you can dream up a bit and add wires that go out of wood. Choose one primary color that you will work with. Draw a wire (using the tool “Pen” (pen tool)), add shadows (use tool “Dimmer” (burn tool)).

Step 22 Add a little red color to the grass, it doesn’t matter which brush you choose (the author chose a brush with foliage). We have an autumn in the plot, so the grass cannot be so green, it should burn out, add redness. Set the brush to a small opacity, the color is red.

Step 23 Change the background, still autumn. Create a new adjustment layer Channel Mixing, settings below:

Change blend mode for layer to “Lighter” (lighten)
Here is our final image!

Digital painting takes a lot of time, but the author hopes that you will enjoy the work done.

Good luck!

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