Making Trees in Photoshop
Often, a beautiful landscape photo needs something more. Creating some type of natural elements (like trees) can make the image more balanced. Finding trees with a transparent background to add to your photo and that match your light source is a totally time consuming task and you still never find the perfect match. Today, I'll show you how easy it is to create and add a tree to a photo in Photoshop CC by using the Tree Panel.
Although the final tree does not look as a real one, it is a great starting point for you to later add details like shadows, custom colors and even a real bark texture. But before we start, and if you want to follow this tutorial exactly as described, please download the following free image from Pexels: Download.
Open the image you want to add trees to in Photoshop.
Go to Layer > New > Layer. Name this layer as “Tree 1” and click OK.
With the “Tree 1” layer selected, go to Filter > Render > Tree.
In the Tree Panel, apply the following settings and click OK.
Note: if you are using an image with a different light source or if you want another tree type you may need to change these settings a bit.
With the “Tree 1” layer active, again go to Filter > Render > Tree. Leave all settings as they are (with our last setup) and this time only change the Arrangement option to 25,3 and click OK.
Press Ctrl+T on your keyboard. Reposition and scale down the tree to your liking. Hit the Enter key on your keyboard to apply the changes.
With the “Tree 1” layer still active, click on the “Add Layer Mask” icon in the Layers Panel.
Be sure to have the Layer Mask active. Select the Brush Tool (B) and with a small brush mask the bottom part of the tree to mix it with the grass.
Now that the tree is already placed, you can make a few adjustments until you are happy with the end result. In this case, and only to show you what you can do, we will add a shadow and adjust a bit the Brightness of the tree. To do that, go to Layer > Duplicate layer. Name it as “Shadow” and click OK.
With the “Shadow” layer active, go to Layer > Arrange > Send Backward. Or simply drag the “Shadow” layer below the “Tree 1” layer.
Press Ctrl+T on your keyboard and transform the tree shape as shown. Hit the Enter key on your keyboard to apply the transformation.
Go to Layer > Layer Style > Color Overlay. Apply the following settings and click OK.
Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set a Blur Radius that you feel it match the image and click OK. In this case, and due the image size, a Radius of 2 will work just fine.
Set the Blending mode of the “Shadow” Layer to Darken and reduce the Opacity to 20%.
Finally, select the “Tree 1” layer and go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast. Decrease the Brightness to around -30 and click OK.
Now that you saw how easy is to add trees to your pictures in Photoshop, experiment with the Tree Panel to get different kind of trees, arrangements and even different leaves types for the same tree to use on any kind of image like in the following example.