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.

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

Nice tutorial, works for making lots of wallpapers


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.