Create a surreal tree house in Photoshop

In this tutorial you will learn how to draw a surreal tree and clouds from scratch, and much more!

Final result

Source materials:


STEP 1. Create a new document (Ctrl + N) 1024 px wide by 1280 px in height.

STEP 2 From this step we will begin to create a tree that will be used in our work. First select the tool Brush (Brush tool) in the toolbar. Press the F5 key to open the bookmark. Brushes(brush). Set a round hard brush and then apply the following settings for the options. Form Dynamics (Shape Dynamics), Scattering (Scattering) and Color dynamics (Color Dynamics):

STEP 3 In the color picker, set the foreground color to # fabc22 and the background color to # 352703. Set the brush size to 150 px, the settings for the brush are the ones you set in Step 2, try to apply strokes. I drew the form as in the screenshot below:

STEP 4. Continue with brush strokes to create trunks and branches. Each branch and trunk create on separate layers. The main thing is not to forget to change the size of the brush and% transition in the option Management – Transition (Fade Control) in option Form Dynamics (Shape Dynamics) respectively. After some trial and error, I ended up selecting some fragments suitable for the tree we are going to create:

STEP five. What we are going to do next is to organize all created fragments into a separately growing tree. This is what I did: I ordered the fragments to create a tree trunk. Place the stem 1 fragment at the bottom, and then place another trunk fragment above it (trunk 2). Next, above these two fragments, place another fragment of the trunk (trunk 3). At the end, add the last stem fragment (trunk 4). See screenshot for an example.

STEP 6 Continue adding branches to the tree until you get the curled shape of the tree.

STEP 7 Next, merge all the layers with branches and fragments of the trunk into one layer. Make sure the merged layer is active, go Filter – Rendering – Lighting Effects (Filter> Render> Lightning). Apply the settings as in the screenshot below:

STEP eight. In this step we will create more details on the tree, by shading and creating shadows. For this we use the tool Dimmer (Burn tool). Choose a tool Dimmer (Burn tool) in the toolbar. In settings Range (range) set Sveta (highlight) and value Exposure (exposure) by 10%. And using a soft brush, paint over some areas of the tree to create shading and shadows. In the screenshot below, you can see where I created the shading and shadows:

STEP 9. Finally, we apply a correction layer to the tree layer. Gradient map (Gradient Map). Let’s go Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Gradient Map (Layer> New adjustment layer> Gradient map). This will change the color of the tree. Remember to use this adjustment layer as a clipping mask. Set the blending mode for the gradient map adjustment layer. Normal (normal), opacity 60%. Select all the layers, and then press Ctrl + E to merge the layers. I called this layer Tree. We have finished making the tree.

STEP 10. Create a new document with dimensions of 1024 px in width and 1686 px in height. Create a new layer. Set the foreground color to # 9db1fc and the background color to # 6ca5f8. Choose a tool Gradient (Gradient Tool) and set the gradient type – Linear gradient (linear gradient). Drag the gradient as shown in the screenshot below to fill in a new layer. So we created the background.

STEP 11. The background we created in Step 11 is absolutely clean, so we need to add a cloud texture to it. For this, we will create clouds. Create another new document with dimensions of 1024 px in width and 731 px in height, the background color is white. Set the foreground color to # 92a8fb, and the background color to white. On this new document, we will create clouds using the render filter, go Filter – Rendering – Clouds (Filter> Render> Cloud).

Next, select the tool Lasso (Lasso Tool) in the toolbar. Using the lasso tool, create a selection. Next, press Shift + F6 to display the window. Feather the selected area (Feather Selection). Apply a feathering radius of 100 px. Press Ctrl + J to duplicate the selection on the new layer. Turn off the visibility of the Background layer, just click on the eye next to the layer thumbnail to see the result.

STEP 12. Move the cloud layer to the layer we created in Step 10. Change the blending mode for the cloud layer to Soft light (soft light). Press Ctrl + T to activate the tool. Free Transformation (Free Transform Tool). Warp the cloud to change shape.

STEP 13. To complete the cloud, do the following: 1. Position the clouds that you created in Step 12 to the desired position. 2. Duplicate the clouds layer several times as needed. Using tool Move (Move tool (M), offset duplicate layers, creating a common cloud shape, also use the tool Free Transformation (Free Transform tool) to scale and flip horizontally, as well as to create the desired cloud texture.

Try experimenting with different blending modes for each duplicated layer, varying the mode Soft light (soft light) and Hard light (hard light). 3. Just randomly shuffle the deformed cloud shapes by distorting them. 4. After some trial and error, I ended up creating a cloud texture. Select all layers with clouds. Press Ctrl + G to group them.

STEP 14. Next, duplicate the group with the clouds. Change the blending mode for the duplicated group to Soft light (soft light), opacity 100%. Move the duplicated layer down a bit. The result should be as in the screenshot below.

STEP 15. Next, do the following: 1. open the tree image, move it to the document with clouds. 2. duplicate the tree layer. Slightly reduce the scale of the duplicate layer, and then flip horizontally. Move this layer a little higher than the original layer. In the layers palette, place this layer under the original layer. 3. Duplicate the tree layer again.

Repeat the same steps as in step 2, but this time place the duplicate layer lower than the first duplicate. 4. Duplicate the original tree layer again. Zoom out the duplicated layer, rotate it slightly and also position it lower than the second duplicate. Make sure that all three duplicated layers are located under the original layer.

STEP sixteen. Open the stock image Houses in the trees. Separate the house from the background. I used the tool Pen(Pen Tool). With the pen tool selected, click on the image to set the reference point. Next, create a contour around the house by adding anchor points until you close the contour. After you have closed the contour, right-click on the contour to display the dialog box. Select an option Create selection (Make Selection). Press Shift + Ctrl + I to invert the selection. Click Delete to remove the background.

STEP 17. On the house, which we separated from the background, there are unwanted fragments. You can see these snippets in the screenshot below. They are marked in red. We need to fix this. I did it in the usual way: I cut out a part of the support of the stairs, and then pasted the cut part of the stairs into the place on the stairs that needed to be fixed. I did the same with the other unwanted areas in the image. See the screenshot below for an example.

STEP 18. I decided to add a wooden railing. I used the same technique as in Step 17. Select all the layers with the house and press Ctrl + E to merge them. I called this layer Little House

STEP 19. Next, move the image from the house to our document. Scale the house according to the size of the scene. Hide the lower part of the house using a layer mask.

STEP 20. Duplicate the house layer four times. Scale duplicated layers depending on the deletion and place them in different places. At the moment, I got this composition:

STEP 21. We will add another tree to our scene. Open the dwarf tree image. First, separate the tree from the background. I used the function Color range (Color Range). Duplicate the tree layer. Hide the original layer with the tree by clicking on the eye next to the layer thumbnail. Make sure the duplicated layer is active, let’s go Selection – Color Range (Select> Color Range).

Move the mouse over the white sky area on the document, when the eyedropper appears, click to take samples of color shades. Next, set the value Scatter (fuzziness) at 145 to create more contrast between black and white. Click Ok. Click Delete to remove the selection.

STEP 22. Drag the selected tree onto our document. Scale the tree image to fit the size of the document and position it at the base of our main tree. Using a layer mask, hide unwanted areas.

STEP 23. Duplicate the tree layer. Scale the duplicate by placing it next to it.

STEP 24 Next, we will add a wooden support to another house. I just cut out the existing wooden support, and then copied / pasted and placed it under the house, where there was a lack of support.

STEP 25 Do the same as in Step 24, adding wooden props to other houses.

STEP 26. This composition, which I created at the moment:

STEP 27. I decided to hide some branches of the tree. For each layer with a branch, create a layer mask. On the layer mask hide some areas. In the screenshot below, you can see which areas I have hidden.

STEP 28 We will add a model to our scene. Open the model image. Using the same selection technique we used in Step 16, separate the model from the background. In the screenshot below, the result that I got:

STEP 29. Move the selected model image to our document. Reduce the size of the image. Now, select the tool Finger (Smudge Tool). Set a very small soft brush value Intensity (strength) set within 60-70%, spread the edges of the girl’s hair, creating curly curls. Then, cut the lamp on a new layer, duplicate twice. Place lights under the roofs of each house.

STEP 30. In this step, we will apply several adjustment layers to our scene. At the beginning, I applied two adjustment layers. Gradient Map (gradient maps), then Photo filter (photo filter) and Vibration (vibrance). Apply the settings for each adjustment layer, as shown in the screenshots below.

Finally, change the blending mode for the first adjustment layer. Gradient map (gradient map) on Soft light (soft light), opacity set to 28% for the second adjustment layer Gradient map (gradient map) blending mode Normal (normal), opacity set to 27%. Blend mode for adjustment layer Photo filter (photo filter) install Normal (normal), opacity set to 70% and for the adjustment layer Vibration (vibrance), set the blending mode Normal (normal), opacity is 100%.

STEP 31. Press Shift + Ctrl + Alt + E to merge all layers into one layer. I called this layer green.

STEP 32. Make sure the green layer is active, go Filter – Rendering – Lighting Effects (filter> render> lightning). Apply the settings as shown in the screenshot below:

STEP 33. Next, add a layer mask to the green layer. Using a soft round brush with a low opacity of 20%, process some areas on the layer mask. Having achieved the desired result, set the blending mode Normal (normal), opacity 80%. Next, duplicate the green layer once, change the mode of the duplicated layer to Soft light (soft light), layer opacity 80%.

STEP 34. The idea of ​​this work is to create a magical garden in a dreamy warm night with many stars. To achieve this, open the image of the Nebula. Move the image with the nebula onto our document. Place the nebula layer on top of the layers with the Cloud group that we created in Step 12-14. Change the layer blending mode with nebula to Multiplication (multiply), layer opacity is 100%. In the screenshot you can see the result:

STEP 35. The result is a bit dark. I decided to add some light to the scene. Create a new adjustment layer on top of all layers, go Layer – New Adjustment Layer Brightness / Contrast (layer> new adjusting layer> brightness / contrast). Apply the settings as shown in the screenshot below:

STEP 36. I applied another adjustment layer, let’s go Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Selective Color Correction (layer> new adjusting layer> selective color):

STEP 37. The night atmosphere is still boring at the moment. I decided to make it brighter. Duplicate the nebula layer and place a duplicate layer on top of all layers. Change the blending mode for this layer to Soft light (soft light), reduce the layer opacity to 80%. To this duplicate layer, add a layer mask and hide trees on the layer mask.

STEP 38. In this step, we will add light to the luminaires and add small light highlights to the treetops below. Create a new layer (Shift + Ctrl + N). Fill (Shift + F5) this new layer with black color and change the blending mode for this layer to Lightening basics (color dodge). First, we will add light highlights to the treetops below.

Set the foreground color to white. Choose a soft round brush, set the brush opacity to 5%., And start brushing the top of the trees (see screenshot) until you achieve the desired result.

After we’ve finished adding light highlights to the treetops, we’ll add light to the lights. Set the foreground color to # fcb004 and paint over the luminaire area with a brush. Try varying the color shades between # fcb004, # fe9024 and white to improve the light.

STEP 39 I decided to remove unwanted leaves. Create a new layer. On a new layer, paint over a brush over areas of unwanted leaves. Use the pipette to select color samples next to the leaves. Apply a soft brush with an opacity between 20-40%. In conclusion, I painted over the black brush the lower part and the edges of the image. I also darkened the right side of the main house to create a shadow.

Final result

Author: Dek Wid
Link PSD file of the lesson

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