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The Ultimate Wood Texture Tutorial

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Read Time: 7 min

Sure, you could take a photo of some wood and use that for a texture. But the real way to separate the Photoshop men from the boys is to make your own. In this tutorial, we are going to create a wood texture and apply some artwork on top of it that has an aged paint feel. To begin, make a new document as shown below.

Step One

Fill the background layer with black (shift F5). Then select the Gradient Tool (G). Set the gradient to black/white, choose the radial type, and screen mode, as shown below.

Make several passes using the tool at different sizes until you get something like this:

Step Two

Apply clouds to the layer. Make sure that black and white are your background/foreground colors.

We don't want to completely cover what we already made, so we are going to use the Fade function. Fade the clouds back to 50% and use soft light as the blending mode. Note: you must use Fade directly after applying the clouds. If not, the option will be grayed out.

Step Three

Now we will repeat the same process again, but this time we will apply fibers instead of clouds.

This time we are going to fade the fibers way back to 7% and leave the blending mode at normal.

Step Four

Posterize the layer with 18 levels. You can now see our wood effect starting to take shape.

Duplicate your layer so that we have a backup copy of it.


Step Five

Apply a High Pass filter to one of the layers as shown below:

Step Six

Select both layers by holding Cmd/Ctrl and clicking on each of them. Stretch both of your layers vertically about 250%

Step Seven

Create a new Solid Color Adjustment Layer below the layer and choose a brown that you like for the base of the wood color. Set the blending mode to Vivid Light on the layer that you applied the High Pass to. Set the opacity to 50%. Turn the backup layer off. Now the wood effect is very apparent.

Step Eight

Turn on the backup layer. In the Channels Palette, duplicate the red channel by dragging it to the New Channel button at the bottom of the palette. Invert the new alpha channel by selecting all (Cmd/Ctrl+A) and inverting (Cmd/Ctrl+I). Now you can delete the backup layer from the Layers Palette since we have a copy saved as an alpha channel. Go Select>Load Selection and choose red copy. Make a new Curve adjustment layer and darken the image slightly like so:

That gives it a little more dimensionality.

Step Nine

Now I am going to just put a curve over the entire image to make it a little more natural looking. Here is what I did:

Notice that all the channels were adjusted individually.

Step Ten

Duplicate the wood layer and bring the opacity down to 20% on the new one. Go Filter>Blur>Motion Blur. Apply an h3 blur at an angle of 90 degrees and a distance of 70. This just adds another subtle layer of texture.

Step Eleven


In the Channels Palette, create a new channel by clicking the New Channel button at the bottom of the palette. Apply the same Fibers that we used earlier. Stretch that layer vertically to 250%. Go Select>Load Selection and load Alpha 2.

Make a curve adjustment layer above the motion blur layer and just lighten the image just a little like so:

Step Twelve

Create a gradient adjustment layer at the top of the layers palette. Make it go from black to transparent to create a vignette around the edges.

Set that layer's blending mode to Color Burn and reduce the fill to 30%. Make sure you reduce the Fill and not the Opacity. They are not the same thing.

Step Thirteen

It's looking a little too saturated for my taste, so I am just going to put a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer on top of everything to desaturate a little.

Step Fourteen

Select all your layers by clicking on the top one, holding shift, and then clicking on the bottom one. In the layer palette menu, select New Group from Layers. Call your group Wood.

Step Fifteen

Now we are going to place some artwork onto this and make it look like it was painted on a long time ago. Go File>Place and pick whatever artwork you would like. I just used an EPS of the Psdtuts+ logo, You can get that here.

Line up the artwork however you like. I skewed it a little just for kicks. Make a new group from the art layer and call the group Art.


Step Sixteen

Turn off the Art group. In the Channels palette duplicate the red channel. Apply a very harsh curve (Cmd/Ctrl+M) to your new channel so it almost becomes black-and-white with the black around the edges. Invert the channel. It should look like this:

Load the selection and make a curves adjustment layer just above the art layer. Without adjusting any of the curves, hit Ok. With the curves layer selected, Go to Layer>Create Clipping Mask. This will make the curve apply only to the artwork. There should be an arrow on the curve layer pointing downwards to indicate that the clipping maks is applied. Open the curve dialog and darken slightly so the outside edges of the art get darker.

Step Seventeen

Turn off the art group again and then duplicate the blue channel.

Apply another very harsh curve (Cmd/Ctrl+M) to the channel like this one:

This is what you should end up with:


Select the Art group folder then go to Select>Load Selection and load the channel that you just made. Go to Layer>Layer Mask>Apply. This will mask parts of the artwork. If you feel like it is masking too much or too little, then just select the mask on the group and hit Cmd/Ctrl+M to apply a curve to it until you hare happy.


Step Eighteen

I am just going to add the text Wood to the Art group above the other elements in the group. I used black as the color and skewed it to match the other artwork. I reduced the opacity to 85%. The last thing I need to do is rasterize the text. Just Ctrl-click or right-click the layer to the right of the name and choose Rasterize Type.

Step Nineteen

Go back to the channels palette and find the channel with the fibers on it. It should be Alpha 2. Ctrl-click or right-click on the channel to the right of the name and choose duplicate channel. For Document select New and call it Displace. Save it to your desktop.

Step Twenty

Select the artwork layer and go to Filter>Distort>Displace. Use the settings below, and then when prompted use the Displace.psd that we just saved out. Select the Wood type layer and do the same. This makes the art sit on the wood.

Step Twenty One

I want to desaturate and darken the red a little bit. Make a new Hue/Saturation adjustment layer just above the art layer. It should automatically become a clipping mask. Take down the saturation and lightness a little bit.

Step Twenty Two

I really liked how the mask on the art group looked, so I am going to take that channel and apply it to the wood texture just to make it even more convincing. Go back to the channel that we used as a mask for the art group. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+A to select all, Cmd/Ctrl+C to copy, select the alo/vignette layer in the wood group and Cmd/Ctrl+V to paste. This gives us the black-and-white pixel information from the channel and just pastes it into a layer. Set the blending mode the Hard Light and bring the Fill down to 15%.

Step Twenty Three

Create a new blank layer at the very top, above both groups. Hit Shift+F5 to fill the layer and choose 50% gray.

Go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise and add an amount of 40, Uniform noise.

Make the blending mode Soft Light and set the Opacity to 20%. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+T to transform and make the noise layer about 200%. Noise always helps make artificial things look more organic.

Thats it. We are done!

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