In this lesson we will draw the most important Christmas decoration – a Christmas tree.
The finished tree can also be used, for example, in landscapes (of course, without decorations).
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1. Determine the size
As in the previous lessons of the series, we will determine the proportions of the tree by the size of the character.
The tree should be higher than the character, but shorter than the height of the floor, if you plan to make it part of the interior of the house.
We put a mark on the height of the trunk. Because of the shape of the tree, we will not see it, but it will be more convenient to work with the mark.
Connect the top and center marks with a diagonal line of 3: 1 cell.
Copy the line (Ctrl + J) and reflect it. Edit – Transform – Flip Horizontal (Editing – Transforming – Flip Horizontally). We get the basic triangular shape of the Christmas tree.
To turn a triangle into a cone, we need to draw an oval at the base of the tree. Its width should correspond to the width of the base of the triangle, and its height – half the width of the base.
On the new layer draw an oval. You can do this with a tool. Elliptical Marquee Tool (M) (Oval selection) and while creating a selection on the panel Window – Info (Window – Info) track width in pixels. Then divide the value by two to calculate the height of the oval. The lower boundary of the triangle should cross the center of the oval.
When finished, fill the oval selection with any color.
I added a few pixels along the contour of the oval to smooth it a bit. Duplicate (Ctrl + J) the shape on the new layer and fill the copy with black. This will be the shadow that we will refine later.
Next, we remove the shape fill and leave only a stroke. The easiest way to do this is with Magic Wand Tool (W) (Magic Wand). Select the shape with the tool and compress the selection by 1 pixel. Select – Modify – Contract (Selection – Modification – Compress).
On the original triangle layer, remove the bottom labels, but do not remove them, as we will need them later.
Now you can delete the upper half of the oval and fill the stroke with the color of the triangle (black or dark gray), then merge both layers into one (Ctrl + E).
The lower part of the cone looks a bit strange, so I reduced its height by a couple of pixels.
Let’s go back to the shadows and marks of the trunk. Move the layer with the shadow above under the tree and reduce it Opacity (opacity) to about 15-20%.
Then, using the height marks of the trunk, we adjust the placement of the shadow at the base of the cone. Note that the shadow should protrude downward beyond the boundary of the cone exactly to the height of the trunk.
Fill the cone with a pleasant green shade.
2. Add shadows and texture
When finished with a cone base, let’s add some details to make the shape look more like a tree.
We must make the sides of the cone more jagged. To do this, we extend the vertical lines and alternate them through one pixel, as shown below:
We add the same jagged edge on the underside of the cone. This will save the tree from artificial perfection and add a form of naturalness.
As usual, we make the right side darker. The shading area should be wedge-shaped and taper to the apex of the cone. The diagonal size is 4: 1 cell (every 4 pixels upward we shift 1 pixel to the left).
With a light shade of green, we draw a nearly identical mirror copy of the shading. You can lengthen the highlight to the top of the tree.
Between the highlight and shading we add a band of the main color to smooth the transition.
At the right edge of the tree, add the darkest shade of green.
On the shadows you can add the same jagged edges as on the sides of the cone. Below, I added jagged edges on shading …
… on the glare:
… and centered:
On the right side, add a thin border 1 pixel wide between the darkest shade and the contour of the cone.
Now add some texture. I prepared the following basis:
It resembles pixel leaves, which is perfect for our tree. Also, the texture in style corresponds to the trees that we painted in the previous lessons of the series.
The new texture will shade the tree vertically, so if you apply it to the entire cone, the wedge-shaped shading that we added above will deteriorate, and the result will be too complicated for perception and for drawing. So we will add a new texture only at the bottom of the Christmas tree.
On the new layer along the contour of the lower boundary of the cone draw a texture.
Please note that the bottom of the texture I did not quite neat and stands for the boundaries of the cone. To remove this, we go to the layer with the tree, take the tool Magic Wand Tool (W) (Magic wand) (set Tolerance (Tolerance) to 0 and uncheck Contiguous (Adj. Pixels) and Anti-aliased (Smoothing)) and select all shades of green (in fact, we select the inner part of the tree without stroke). Then invert the selection Select – Inverse (Selection – Invert), go to the layer with the texture and press the Delete key to cut off the excess.
Reduce the opacity of the texture layer to about 21% and merge it with the tree layer (Ctrl + E).
Paint the lower right corner with the darkest shade of green we have to combine the texture with the wood. Usually, I do not adhere to a strict color palette, but in this case the work will look neater if we refine such places.
We modify the left edge of the texture and paint it with a basic shade of green.
Wood is ready! Now it can be used on illustrations with a park or nature.
3. Draw decorations
Let’s draw a garland, balls and the top to make our tree look more festive.
This is optional, but for convenience, I drew arc-shaped auxiliary lines (on a separate layer) in order to properly distribute all the decorations, especially the garland.
Look below for options for flashlights for the garland (a dark background is taken for contrast).
They are painted in one color (yellow with very low saturation, almost white). In the center we put a dot with an opacity of 100%, and the rays are drawn in the same color, only we reduce the opacity to 50%.
Try to apply all the options and see how it will look on your tree. I chose the very first.
Above the auxiliary lines we create a new layer and draw flashlights on it. Usually, the garland on the tree was hung up in a spiral, so I started each coil below the left end of the auxiliary line and ended up above the right end so that the coil of the garland intersected with the auxiliary line.
If you select an object, then switch to the tool Move Tool (V) (Move) and with the Alt key pressed, move the selection, then you copy the selected area.
When finished, remove the auxiliary lines. If necessary, you can move some flashlights to improve the result.
Next we draw two types of Christmas balls – 2×2 (for the inside of the tree) and 3×3 pixels.
I like how warm shades are combined with a green tree, so for work I chose gold and bronze shades.
Under the garland layer, add a new one and draw small balls on it.
Try to have them located randomly, but without large gaps, and not much intersected with flashlights.
Next, add a few large balls to diversify the composition.
You can experiment with the color tinting of some balls or change their colors. I’ll leave it at that.
Let’s soften the contours of the balls a little, except for those that touch the edges of the tree.
For this using Magic Wand Tool (W) (Magic Wand) we can select all shades of green, switch to the layer with the balls and using Paint Bucket Tool (G) (Fill) (disable Contiguous (Adj. Pixels)) fill the contour of the balls in dark green. In this case, the stroke of the balls, which stands for the borders of the Christmas tree, will remain the same, and the rest will remain dark, but it will be more harmonious to look at against the background of a green Christmas tree.
Now add shading on the balls on the same principle as we did with the cone. In white, I highlighted the balls, which need to be slightly brightened, as they are on the illuminated part of the tree, and black — darkened.
Select the required balls (only the inside, without stroke) and adjust the brightness and contrast: Image – Adjustments – brightness/ Contrast (Image – Correction – Brightness / Contrast) or Image – Adjustments – Hue/ Saturation (Image – Correction – Hue / Saturation). Or you can manually replace the colors without the use of correction.
The effect is very soft, but creates the illusion of volume.
Now go to the top of the tree – the star!
Here is the finished star. First we draw the outline, then fill the inside with shades of yellow.
Place the star on top of the tree. Let’s add a glow to make the star look even brighter. Add the outer stroke with any contrasting color, which we later replace with the color of the flashlights.
Below you can admire the finished tree with a light bluish background, so that you can appreciate the light effects on the star. The feeling of warmth and comfort is present, it means that the work was successful!