Today I will be walking you through the process of creating a simple nature scene in Adobe Photoshop. I will be using CS5 to do this tutorial, but it will work in any variation of Photoshop without too much changing. As always this is what you will be creating:
Start out by creating a new document 1010*790. (If you would like to use this as a background you can make it bigger).
Leave the background white for now as we will be working in various stages of black and white before adding color.
First start by creating a new group and naming it “Tree”. Create a new layer in photoshop and grab your Custom Shape Tool. Choose the group “Shapes” and grab the full black triangle tool.
Now drag out a triangle that is 325*185 anywhere on the document for now. (make sure your foreground is set to black).
Now duplicate your shape layer and drag your new shape under your first triangle. Hit CTRL+T (CMD+T on Mac) and drag out a triangle to be 475*200. Now drag it down so you get a layer effect like this:
Repeat the process again but this time make your triangle 600*242 and arrange it to give it the final step of our tree. Like this:
Now select all the shape layers and choose “Merge Layers” from your menu. Now you have just one layer that you can name “tree body”.
Time to start on our tree base. This will be a simple rectangle, using the rectangle tool. Drag out your rectangle to be 105*130. Now bring that layer under the other layers and line it up so it is flush with the bottom of our tree.
Now our tree looks good but it is pretty boring right? Let’s go ahead and add a simple layer style to our Tree Body layer.
Now go to your Tree Base layer (our tree trunk) and add this layer style to it:
Now create a new layer and grab your rectangular marquee tool and make a selection of half our document, right down the center of our tree.
Fill this layer with White so that you will only see half the tree now. Use CTRL+Thumbnail to select both our TreeBody and our TreeBase layers (You will have to hold down the Shift key to select both thumbnails).
Now right click, choose select inverse, and hit the delete key. Change the layer mode to Soft Light and the Opacity to 20% so you have this:
Alright, now duplicate your Tree Group and rename it to Tree Small. Hit CTRL+T and choose to shrink it to 53% by 66%.
Now duplicate our original tree group again and rename this one to Tree_Skinny. Hit CTRL+T and choose to shrink its Width to 65% leaving the height the same.
You should have three trees that look similar to this:
Alright hide all three groups. It is time to get started on our hillside.
Grab your Ellipse Tool, make sure your foreground is black. Drag out three circles and make them look like hills.
I wanted a little hill to be in the background but the rest to just appear a little distorted. Go ahead and select all three shape layers now and hit “Merge Layers”. Rename this layer “Hillside”.
Drag your hillside layer beneath all three tree groups and apply the following layer styles:
That’s our hillside. Now grab your rectangle tool, making sure you have shape tools selected, and drag out a rectangle that is xx wide and a little taller than the hillside. You can use white or black for the color as we will be applying styles later on.
Alright, now grab your Add Anchor Point tool and place an anchor point on the middle left of our rectangle.
Grab the top point of your anchor point and give it a slight curve.
Repeat the same process for the right side of the rectangle.
Now hit CTRL+T again and choose Prespective for the transformation. Drag down the top left corner of the document to give the road the appearance of going away.
Rasterize your shape layer. Now use CTRL+Thumbnail to select the thumbnail of our hillside. Right click, select inverse, and hit delete so your road stops at the hillside.
Now apply the following layer styles:
Alright, now it is time to work on our mountain. Grab your triangle tool again and draw out a triangle 570*525. Make sure your foreground is black. Now drag your new shape below our Hillside and road layers. Center it on your hillside and make it so the tip is just under the top of our document.
Now apply the following color overlay
Alright, now grab your rectangle tool again and draw a white rectangle the covers about a quarter of the mountain.
Now zoom in on your document because we will need to be very precise here. Grab your anchor point tool and place four anchor points at these areas.
Now grab your convert anchor point tool and click on the two middle anchor points we placed. Grab your anchor point tool again and drag one up and one down so you have this
Now rasterize your layer and use CTRL+Thumbnail of your mountain layer. Right click and choose select inverse and hit delete.
This will bring it about 1px inside our mountain so you will be able to see a tiny blue line, this is good. Go to your background layer and fill it with #01ddc6 so you have this.
Alright, I will be walking you through the process to create one cloud. I have four clouds on my document, using the same process, but you can have as many as you choose.
Hit the “D” on your keypad to revert to your original colors and switch it so white is your foreground. Grab your ellipse tool and draw out an oval.
Now draw out three smaller ovals and place them over our first to make a cloud shape. Play around with them until you have a nice shape that you are happy with.
Repeat the process a few more times, adding more or less circles so you have a few different looking clouds. This is what I have:
Alright, we are ready for our trees now. This phase is entirely up to you how you want to create your forest of trees. Do you want a lot of trees? A few trees? Unhide your tree layers, making sure they are your top layers, and place them through your document. You will need to resize them to make them look good.
Remember that we want to give the appearance of the mountain being far away so the trees should get smaller the closer they get to the mountain.
This is what we have:
Now you are finished! There is so much that you can do with this scene it is amazing. A thinner forest, make it seasonal, turn it into a calendar for a month, anything you can think of.
Alright, now our document is almost finished, but I feel like our mountain needs just a little bit more. Grab your rectangle marquee tool and drag out a selection that is half of our mountain, horizantally. Fill it with black. Use CTRL+thumbnail and choose the mountain and hillside, choose select inverse, and hit delete.