Although Photoshop is a powerful tool for retouching and photomanipulation, it can also be used effectively as an illustration tool to create textures, backgrounds, and renderings of natural materials. Of course, many people prefer to scan in materials from nature, but I find it satisfying to create these images from scratch. Here are some of the techniques I've developed to render the materials I use in my own work.



The Clouds filter in the Filters > Render menu can be used as a starting point to create clouds, smoke, and fog. The Clouds and the Difference Clouds filters can also be used along with other Photoshop features to create textures that feature random growth patterns, like rust, moss, and various kinds of rock. Here is a simple project that produces a realistic simulation of marble.


Photoshop's custom brush feature combined with a little creative use of channels and filters produces a good generic wood grain.

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