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Wood Texture Tutorial
If you have something to contribute [or contest], please post to the forums and we will give you full credit for any of your ideas. Also keep in mind this list was written for Windows users, Mac users only need substitute Command for Control and they're in business. Here goes:

So you need some convincing wood textures for your 3D models, or for your Photoshop project? I'm going to show you how to make great wood textures using the tools Photoshop has to offer. Keep up with the steps using the screenshots provided at right.

1. Open up a new document [CTRL + N] and create a new layer. In this new layer, fill [Alt + Backspace] with a nice wood color [keep in mind you could just as easily use this technique on a selection]. I used an RGB value of 181, 158, 109 for our example.


2. Add some noise using Filter > Noise > Add Noise... In the dialog you should use a good amount of noise for the wood, we used a value of 65 with Gaussian checked. Make sure you don't check Monochromatic, unless you're going for a fairly colorless wood.


3. Now the wood needs some blurring for a convincing look. If you're using this technique on a selection or portion of a document, you'll want to check Preserve Transparency in the layers palette, as this will ensure you'll keep the shape of wood you want. Now add a blur using Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. For a nice effect, I used a value of 35 pixels straight along the X axis at 0 degrees. Now, depending on your circumstances, you may notice the edges of the image didn't get as much blur as you wanted [or you may like this look]. At this point I opted to scale the image using a Free Transform [CTRL + T] so that the blurring was constant.

Before transform

After transform

4. Now I chose to bring out the grain in the wood by using Image > Adjust > Brightness/Contrast. After playing with the sliders, I was happy with a Brightness of -45 and a Contrast of +20.


5. Now for a finishing touch that I usually use, but as with the Brightness/Contrast adjustment this is optional. Using the Dodge Tool [O] with a nice broad brush, lighten the midsection of the wood. Now on the outer edges, use the Burn Tool [O] to darken them a bit. For both of these tools a little can go a long way, so I generally keep the Exposure around 10%.


There you have it, a good wood texture for your 3D models or artwork. It's really easy to adjust this technique or even make an action out of it. Try different colors and settings, and some displacement filters for a more gnarled appearance. And best of all it's royalty free!

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