How do you render/paint realistic trees?

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  1. #1
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    How do you render/paint realistic trees?

    I have difficulty finding an effective technique to make beautiful and realistic trees in Photoshop, especially without spending way too much time it.

    Any tutorial, tips, techniques or thoughts on making trees close-up or at a distance is much appreciated. Do you paste in tree cut-outs? Do you paint them with clever brushes? Both?

    Edit: Here is an example of a forest I find very well made: http://www.flashcoo.com/cartoon/Fant..._theron_03.jpg

    Attached: Example of my rather unsuccessful attempt at a forest, which took a long time but neither looks too real nor aesthetically pleasing. This post is not intended for critique/feedback on the image, just for tips on how to make a forest.

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    Last edited by PaleBluePixel; January 15th, 2012 at 10:50 AM. Reason: Link added
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    Block it in? Generally speaking, you should really only be reserving detail for the stuff up close to the viewer. Just use a nice big basic pressure-sensitive circular brush and go from there. Layer on your details as you go to shape the formless blob into a tree.

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    In your case specifically, think dabs and dashes, not lines. They don't look too bad except for those stringy light green highlights.


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    Yep...best way to develop your ability is through direct observation...and the study of artists and paintings who have handled a similar subject in a way you like. Trees are really mainly about big, soft volumes and forms...at least these kinds of trees...from this vantage point.

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    This question of how to draw trees immediately made me think of Bob Ross. Some happy little trees.

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    Haha, I used to follow Ross' shows religiously as a teen and I always tried to mimic his style.

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    Variation in coloring and type of the trees always helps too
    If it's not a naturally occurring forest, but a man-cultured landscape, the plantings (trees etc) often follow specific patterns and groupings.

    For architectural viz, trees are sometimes painted from scratch, sometimes images are composites in a manner similar to matte painting, sometimes it's all made in 3D... usually technique depends on a look that the client wants.

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    Big shapes -> Form -> Texture -> Sexy trees

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    Trees, at least from a distance, are kind of a deep texture. Which means that they'll be darker in the middle where we can see into it, than they are at the edges where we just see the outermost parts of the branches. (Might be more apparent in some trees and lighting situations than others, though.)

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    You have to avoid lines (in deciduous trees, anyway) because leaves are not connected to one another except by branches. Each leaf is individual, so the whole is going to have a massed but disconnected texture.

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    avoid symmetry,simple masses.Look for a book called "on drawing trees and nature" by j.d. harding.

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    This tutorial is for pencil, but it should help you none the less- http://www.sibleyfineart.com/tutorial--draw-trees.htm

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    Foliage is mass that is semi tranparent and grainy.
    So, think of it as a form, but one you can see through a bit. Grainy masses of air.
    Frozen green bonfires.

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