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Creating a Fairly Simple Wood Panel Texture in Photoshop

May 19, 2010

I haven’t made a tutorial in quite some time. I figured I would do a little step-by-step on how I make a fairly simple wood panel texture.

You might notice I’m using CS4 (I haven’t tried CS5 – but I don’t think there is a “automate fairly simple wood texture” filter. Until that filter comes we get to do it manually)

Note: There are many ways achieve this effect, some of the steps I take might seem unnecessary. This is just how I roll (which just so happens to usually be up-hill pushing a 2 ton block into the wind).

1. First I create a new document. The size and resolution are unimportant. I’m not looking for too much detail so I made a 720 x 720 @ 72 document (10 x 10inch @ 72ppi). I then drag three guides out from the left ruler. One at 2.5, 5, and 7.5 inches (these will be a guide for the separators in the wood panel).

2. I could unlock the background layer but I don’t. I created a new layer, labeled it “grain_1” and

picked a couple of wood-texture-ish colors for the color palette.
For the foreground I chose # 3e230e
and for the background # 794c25

3. Then we go to filter > render > fibers with these settings. I hit the randomize button a couple of times to get something I like.

4. I then duplicate the “grain_1″ layer by dragging it to the bottom of the layer palette. You can rename it if you’d like, I will just leave it as “grain_1 copy”.

5. Now for some knots. Go to filter > liquify.

I like these settings for making knots on wood. It’s not too strong that it becomes unmanageable and it is not too subtle that it takes forever to see an effect.

Brush Size  = 160
Brush Density =  50
Brush Pressure = 100
Brush Rate = 80

We just drag the brush along vertically making a few knots and waves in the virtual wood’s grain.
Note: Unless you want to have the knots spell something or take a specific shape (like a wizard hidden in the wood) it’s best to let Photoshop do the work here.

I think you’ll agree that it doesn’t look too bad. Now that the wood is fairly convincing, it’s time we liven it up. Get some warms and cools. Give it some life and luster. Make some wood panels that Bob Vila would be proud of.

6. Let’s drag grain_1 copy to the bottom and make another copy. On our new “grain_1 copy 2” layer let’s adjust Hue/Saturation cmd/ctrl + U. I’m looking for a bit of a glow so I choose these settings. Hit OK. Now that looks nice.

– You might be saying “You mean this greenish color? How does that help?”
– Hang on, trust me. I haven’t done you wrong yet.

7. Now let’s go to filter > render > lighting effects and create a glow from the center.
Try to keep the settings similar to what you see here.

Hit OK.

Now, I know it looks God-awful ugly. But set the layer’s blending mode to Overlay.

See doesn’t that look better?

We can call this layer “glow” because that’s what it is. You’ve done well so far. You deserve a snack or something.

Now to make these wood panels look like panels of wood.

A. Make a new layer. Call it “separator”

B. With the marquee tool selected choose “Fixed Size” in the Style drop down. Set the width to 10px and the height to 7204px.

C. Fill it with the current foreground color (with the paint bucket)

D. Double click this “separator” layer and apply these settings.

E. Then apply these settings.

F. And finally apply these settings.

Now just duplicate this layer twice and move the separators to align with the guides you created at the beginning of this tutorial.

I then hold down the “shift” key, select the 3 separator layers and then hit cmd/ctrl + e to merge these layers.

And there it is, a basic wood panel texture.

I took it a little further, added another glow and messed with the levels a bit and this is what I ended up with.

I hope this tutorial helps some of you. I’d like to see what you can create with this tutorial. If you have any feedback, comments, questions, other techniques etc. I’d love to hear it.

– J. Hall

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