Realistic Wood Grain in Photoshop


Introduction: Realistic Wood Grain in Photoshop

I've seen a few guides on here on how to make wood grain but I didn't feel they looked like wood enough. This technique was learned about 5 years ago and I've never forgotten it. Hope you don't too. :)

This technique was made in Photoshop CS2. I tried to make it in The Gimp but I couldn't find the same filters needed. If you can do it in Gimp, I would love to know.

Step 1: Open a Blank Window

Lets start off by opening a blank window of any size u want. I used 800x600. Then, change the foreground and background color to a dark brown and light brown color.

Step 2: Make a Cloud

Now go to the top menu and select "Filter > Render > Clouds."

Step 3: Add the Grain

To give grain, we are going to the top menu again and select "Filter > Distort > Shear." To make it curve just click and hold on the graph, and drag it toward it's edge. Keep doing this until your Zig-zag line is just about similar to mines. (You can more points if you would like)

Step 4: Rinse and Repeat

I'll assume that your version of Photoshop has a filter repeat option by pressing "Ctrl + F." Press this combo to add more zig-zag-ness to your image. Keep doing this combo until you are satisfied with the grain.

If you don't have the filter repeat option (unlikely) then repeat step 3 three of four more times.

Step 5: Final Touches

Now we could just stop at step 4 but I wanna go a little bit further. If you want to change to color of the wood, you could just go to "Image > Adjustments > Levels" and move the three sliders until you get a desired color.

Finally, I want to make the wood seem more "hard." We're just going to "Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask" and add a subtle sharpness to the grain. My settings were: Amount - 79%, Radius - 0.9 pixels, and Threshold - 0 levels.

Well, there's our finished woodgrain. I hoped you liked my 1st Instructable :D

2 People Made This Project!


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Really thanks to compacho for this tutorial. It really helps for my string puppet animation.

wood grain.png

Thanks. This helped a lot.

Thank you for this tutorial. It was very simple to follow and just what I needed.

1 reply

Glad you enjoyed this. I made this so long ago but it feels great to see someone still find it valuable. Cheers!

How did you do the whole selective lighting deal? That would make a great instructable.

Really neat, never would have thought of it!

Nice tutorial! Very easy to follow, and a beautiful result.
I managed to do it in GIMP with very little effort actualy.
I used the Distorts->Ripple filter (period=108, amplitude=75, threshold=0) and ran it 5 times. (I also used colorize to get right color)
Here's my result.


I did it with Gimp. To add the grain instead of "Filter > Distort > Shear." I went to "Filter > Distort > IWarp." Do you mind if I use this as a reference to make an instructional for Gimp?

1 reply

Nice to know it can been done in GIMP easily. Thanks and feel free to reference my guide. It would be my honor :)

what do you use to make the text look engraved like that?

3 replies

you could also just set the opacity on the text to 85% (or something close)

If I remember correctly, its "inside shadows" option from the layer effects button on the bottom of the layer window.

cool, thanks man i appreciate the help great instructable btw

I thought you did a great job. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Angela

All these tools are available in GIMP, though not as refined. Filter -> Render -> Clouds -> Render Clouds (though you have to start with a white layer over a medium brown layer and set the mode to overlay after rendering) Filter -> Distort -> Curve Bend (in place of Shear, also you need to set both curves, set one, then click copy, set rotation (90 or 270) and it has NO wrap-around). Filter -> Enhance -> Unsharp Mask

2 replies

And a second attempt:


Banna Wood. Nice, looks cool.