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How to Make a Tree Brush in Photoshop

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Today we will be learning how to make a tree brush in Photoshop. Photoshop brushes for trees are a great way to add extra detail and depth to an image in just a matter of minutes! 

What You Will Learn in This Adobe Photoshop Brush Tutorial

  • How to create a tree brush in Photoshop
  • How to change brush settings in Photoshop
  • How to save brush settings in Photoshop 
  • How to create depth of field in Photoshop
  • How to use a color lookup layer in Photoshop

What You'll Need

To complete this project, you will need the following resources:

Find more resources on Envato Elements!

1. How to Create a Tree Brush in Photoshop

Step 1

First things first—let's look at how to create a tree paint brush in Photoshop.

Import an image of a tree into Photoshop. The simpler the background the better! It doesn't have to be 100% white; instead, go for a tree against a backdrop of a clear sky or calm water. 

import tree image

Step 2

Create a black to white Gradient Map adjustment layer, which will turn the image greyscale. 

turn image grey scale

Step 3

Next, create a Levels adjustment layer above the gradient map layer. Use this layer to increase the contrast of the image so that the tree becomes darker and the sky becomes whiter. 

Go for as much contrast as you can without making the tree silhouette look too sharp or "crispy". 

add contrast with levels

Step 4

Create a new layer under both adjustment layers, keeping it set to Normal. 

Using a combination of both a hard and soft round Brush, paint white on the areas that still need to be hidden, like the sky and water. Paint black on the areas like the trunk. 

fill in black spots

Step 5

Finally, go to Edit > Define Brush Preset. If the option is greyed out, simply Right-Click > Merge Visible all of your layers and try again.

define brush preset

Step 6

You can use your brush by selecting the Brush Tool and going into the Brush Preset Picker. It will appear below all previous brush presets. 

2. How to Change Brush Settings in Photoshop

Step 1

To change the brush settings, go to Window > Brush Settings.

brush settings

Step 2

Use the Flip X and Flip Y checkboxes to flip your brush both vertically and horizontally.

flip brush horizontally

Step 3

You can change the angle of the brush by clicking and dragging the arrow found to the left of both Angle and Roundness. 

angle brush

Step 4

If you want to save any of these brush settings, you can do so by clicking the square plus sign found at the bottom right-hand corner of the Brush Settings panel. 

save brush settings

Step 5

You can make a whole pack of tree brushes by repeating the earlier steps with multiple different tree images, including coconut tree brushes in Photoshop and pine tree brushes in Photoshop!

coconut tree brushes photoshop

3. How to Create Depth of Field in Photoshop

Step 1

Now that we know how to create a tree paint brush in Photoshop, we need to put it to use! A great way to use your new tree brush in Photoshop is by adding it to the foreground of an image and then adding a slight blur to it! This will create instant depth.

First, create a New Layer, keeping it set to Normal. 

Step 2

Next, stamp a large tree in the corner of the photo. You can use black, or some other dark, muted color.

tree texture brush photoshop

Step 3

Now, if needed, further enlarge the brush using the Transform Anchor Points. 

angle and enlarge tree

Step 4

Once happy with the size, go to Filter >  Blur Gallery > Field Blur. Set the setting to your desired blur. The settings will depend on the size of your image and the exact effect you are going for. 

blur tree

4. How to Use a Color Lookup Layer in Photoshop

Step 1

Did you know that you can create super quick and easy color grades with just one layer? They are called Color Lookup layers! 

First, go to Window > Adjustments to open up the Adjustments panel. Choose Color Lookup. 

Step 2

Click the 3DLUT File dropdown menu. 

Here you'll see a number of pre-installed LUT files! Scroll through them to see their different effects. I chose TealOrangePlusContrast.

add teal and orange color lookup layer

Step 3

Next, you can adjust the intensity of the effect by simply adjusting the Opacity of the adjustment layer. I set mine to 40% Opacity. 

reduce opacity

Step 4

I then finished my image up with a Selective Color adjustment layer, setting it to Blacks > Cyan: -15 to give the image a wash of red light. 

increase reds in shadows


And that's all there is to creating a tree texture brush in Photoshop! Create a whole set, and save it so you never run out of different trees to add a little extra drama to your photos. 

how to create a tree paint brush on photoshop

In a Hurry?

In a hurry? Need some tree brushes right now? Try these five premium tree brush packs, all for Adobe Photoshop! 

Palm Brushes

Palm Brushes

Add awesome, realistic tropical palm silhouettes to your images, with these 12 realistic, high-quality palm brushes! Perfect for creating romantic beach sunset silhouettes!  

Tree Branches Brushes

Tree Branches Brushes

This pack includes ten high-resolution leafy coconut tree brushes in Photoshop. With all the shadows, highlights, and details intact, this set is the perfect tool for photo manipulation, photo editing, and other projects that require photo realism. 

25 Tree Brushes

25 Tree Brushes

These 25 classic tree texture brushes for Photoshop are a great start to building an awesome library of tree brushes! Try putting each tree on a different layer for easy editing. This pack also includes 25 PNG images.

10 High-Resolution Tree Brushes

10 High-Resolution Tree Brushes

These ten tree texture brushes for Photoshop are fantastically detailed. All brushes are the maximum allowed brush size for Photoshop, so they are high resolution and perfect for print projects of all sizes.

Tree Brushes Photoshop Collection

Tree Brushes Photoshop Collection

Looking for a set of pine tree brushes in Photoshop without leaves? Then this is the set for you! Perfect for winter-themed images, these brushes are all incredibly detailed and are a whopping 2500 px tall!

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