Hello friends, it was about time for releasing a new tutorial since our HDR photography article was certainly a hit. Regarding real life textures such as concrete, leather, metal or wood, I personally consider than there’s nothing better than going out and take your own photographs, however, if you don’t want to go outside or you don’t have a decent camera or you’re in the middle of a concrete jungle and there’s not a single tree to shoot at, then this tutorial is ideal for you. Today I’m going to show you how to make a nice wood texture that emulates an actual tree texture, with all its wrinkles and textures.

Relief tree texture

The method I use for making wood textures is meant to emulate a relief tree texture that can make you feel like you’re actually touching a tree’s trunk (it will never be as real as a picture though). The process is relatively simple and will take you less than half an hour, first let’s take a look at what we’re going to be creating:

Realistic Wood Texture

The first thing to do is define the wood color that we want to work with, some woods have a greenish tone and others look almost gray, on this case we decided to opt for a more classic tone and that’s why we decided these next two colors:

Wood color Photoshop

Great, now we can start making our texture. Please go to Filter>Render>Clouds, if you don’t like the result you can always go back (Ctrl + Z) and try again (Ctrl + F) until you get the clouds you want.

Clouds Photoshop

Now we need to distort these clouds, but first we need to unlock the current layer, which is something really simple, just double click over the layer and hit OK.

Unlock layer Photoshop

Now that the layer has been unlocked we can distort our clouds, so go to Edit>Free Transform or hit Ctrl + T, then we need to stretch our clouds (leave the width intact) until we get something like this:

Stretched clouds PS

To soften our texture a little bit, please go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur and adjust the settings according to the next picture:

Motion Blur PS

Great, once this part is ready, please go to Image>Adjustments>Posterize and adjust the levels according to the amount of relief you want to get.

Posterize Photoshop

Important: Now duplicate the layer and leave it hidden, we will be using it later, so it’s really important that you create this copy.

Duplicate layer

Cool, now we’re going to harness those layers that we obtained with the Posterize tool, select the original layer and please go to Filter>Stylize>Find Edges, this will give us the main component of our wood texture.

Find Edges PS

There’s one problem, our edges are looking a little too bright, so in order to correct this, please go to Image>Adjustments>Levels and move the handlers until you have something like this:

Levels PS

That’s how a tree texture looks if we vectorize its main patterns, now we need to add the realistic touch that I talked about early, please go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise and adjust it like the next screenshot.

Add Noise Photoshop

Have you realized that trees have a series of straight vertical lines on them?, some people say that if you count these lines you can determine how old the tree is, I’m not sure about that but I can tell that the lines do exist, so let’s add them by going to Filter>Texture>Grain.

Grain Texture Photoshop

Make sure that the Grain Type is changed to Vertical, I cannot give you an exact value for the Intensity and Contrast as this is really up to you, just try to not overshadow the main pattern that we currently have.

Wood texture sketch

We’re almost there, now we’re going to work with the Channels tab, which you can find next to Layers and Paths. Hit Ctrl + A to select our layer and then copy it (Ctrl + C). Select the Channels tab and create a new Channel.

New Channel Photoshop

New Alpha Channel PS

While having this “Alpha 1″ channel selected, paste the layer (Ctrl + V) and then choose back the RGB channel.

Channels Tab Photoshop

You can go back to the Layers tab for the final part before our texture is ready. Activate the duplicate layer and make sure it’s on top of the one we pasted in the Channels tab.

Duplicate Layer

Having this layer selected, please go to Filter>Render>Lighting Effects, this is where the real magic is going to happen. There are tons of options to play with in this panel, you may want to use the ones I usually work with or get a little experimental to see what other results you can obtain. The only thing that you cannot change is setting the Texture Channel to Alpha 1, if you don’t make this adjustments you will never obtain the wood texture, all the rest you’re free to play with.

Lighting Effects Photoshop

As I said before, you can play with these controllers to obtain different textures, this is just the configuration I chose to work with after trying many others. So now let’s take a look at how our wooden texture has turned out:

Wood Bright Texture

I think it looks a little bright, so let’s go to Image>Adjustments>Hue Saturation and let’s give it a more natural look to our wood texture.

Hue Saturation Photoshop

That was the final touch our texture needed, let’s take a look at how it turned out, does it resemble an actual tree?.

Realistic Wood Texture

Awesome isn’t it?, the result certainly manages to capture the appearance of a real tree and besides, you can create it in a few minutes, which can save you all the time that would take going out to take pictures and then import them. So  that’s it, now you know how to easily make a wooden texture in Photoshop, I’m sure this tutorial can really help you out to create your own wooden textures, if you liked this article we would be really thankful if you can help us share it with your friends, thanks for visiting us and we’ll see you soon, bye!.

Julian Russi Díaz (57 Posts)

Graphic Designer, Digital Marketer and Photographer, I'm one of Mishës founders and now I work as Marketing Manager for OfficeList. I love to travel and is one of my greatest passions along with Photography, and riding my bike across the city.