so i'm working on an illustration in photoshop and i'm trying to do a rock garden in the foreground. i've having a difficult time getting the gravel to look like gravel. i was wondering if anyone had any tips or pointers for doing small stones?
I have an idea. This is what I use for textures and such. Create your own brushes.
-Find an image of pebbles. What Sybaronde provided is perfect. With the lasso tool, cut out a single pebble.
-Paste that selection into a new document. Then go to Edit: Define Brush Preset. No need to name it anything special yet, so just push OK.
-Go to your Brushes tab in the upper right corner. Call the pulldown menu to show your brush properties.
---Under Brush tip shape: scroll down the brush thumbnails and select the new one you just made of that pebble. At the bottom of that menu, turn up the spacing to around 300%
---Shape Dynamics: Turn size jitter to full, and minimum size to 50%. Turn up the angle jitter to 15%
---Scattering: Turn up to 500 percent. Turn the scatter count up to 2. If it's really dense gravel like a path, make the scatter count something like 4.
---Texture: Do not check
---Dual Brush: Do not check
---Color Dynamics: Brightness jitter up to 10%. Hue jitter to 3%.
---Other Dyanmics: Turn opacity jitter to 20%.
-In the bottom right of the brushes menu, you can create a new brush. Click the new button, and save it as gravel 1.
-Repeat this with a few different gravel types, so when you're done, you have a handful of gravel brushes to work with.
-Once you have the desired gravel brushes, make strokes on your image as desired. Switch constantly between brushes. Don't just the brush tool, either, but use the eraser as well with these new presets to further define the spontaneity of the gravel texture.
-For perspective, you can very quickly use the "[" and "]" keys to quickly resize your brush from bigger to smaller.
Hope you find this helpful, and hope it works for your needs.