Sometimes it's hard to find the perfect wood texture for a background or fill. Here's how to make your own wood in PI. All it takes is a little color, a little noise, a little motion blur and a little Whirlpool and Warping magic to add a knot! Once you make the wood, you can edit its color with the Style Filters or the Hue & Saturation command.
Start by making a new True Color file 400 X 300 pixels. Select the Bucket Fill tool. In the Attributes toolbar, click in the Color box and select the Ulead Color Picker. When it opens, enter RGB values of 140, 105, 74 for a nice medium brown. Click OK to close the Color Picker, then click in the image with the Bucket to fill with brown.
Choose Effect, Noise, Add Noise. When the Noise dialog box opens, ignore the thumbnails and click Options to open a secondary dialog box. Select Varied Noise and edit the Variance to 40.
Click OK to close the box and add Noise. You'll see that the Noise is multi-colored and somewhat patterned. Don't worry, we'll fix this later.
Select the Bristle Smear Retouch tool (not the Bristle Paintbrush). In the Attributes toolbar, edit the Size to 50. Starting at the very top left corner, drag the brush straight across from left to right. Repeat below the first stroke, continuing to the bottom of the image. The idea is to add some surface texture mimicking wood grain.
Choose Effect, Camera Lens, Motion Blur. When the dialog box opens, ignore the thumbnails and click Options to open the secondary dialog box. Edit the Light Source to Camera, the Angle to 0 and Moving Offset to 50. Click OK to apply.
Choose Effect, Special, Monochrome. Your image will look like it's in grayscale, but it will retain all of its RGB features. You should have something like this:
Select the Bucket fill tool again. Leave the brown used previously as the fill color. In the Attributes toolbar, from the Mode dropdown list, select Overlay. Set the Similarity value to 99. Click in the image 2X to turn the wood grain a rich, warm red-brown.
You'll notice that the left edge of the image is splotchy looking. To remedy this, choose the Standard Selection tool. In the Attributes toolbar, make sure that the Shape is set to Rectangle and Soft edge=0. Make a selection that incorporates all but the left 1/2 inch or so, the blotchy part. Hit Ctrl+R to Crop.
Since we want the wood to tile seamlessly, it's time to check how it would look tiled on a web page. Choose File, Preview in Browser, As Tiled Background. You'll see that it's not really seamless. To fix that, choose Web, Shift Image. When the Shift Image dialog box opens, edit the Horizontal Offset to 100, so that the seam moves toward the middle of the image.
To get rid of the seam, choose the Clone Paintbrush tool. In the Attributes toolbar, edit the Size to 50, leaving the other values at their defaults. The way this tool works is that you Shift+Click to clone an area, then you click on an area you want to cover with the cloned part of the image.
Start at the top, just to the left of the seam line and Shift+Click to clone. Then click on top of the seam to hide it. Move down a little and Shift+Click to clone just to the right of the seam line, then click on the seam to hide it. Work your way down the seam line, Shift+Clicking on one side of the line then the other to clone, then clicking on the seam to hide it. Using the Clone tool effectively is a learned skill, so it may take some practice until you get a result you're happy with. When you're done, you should have something like this.
Check out the tile by choosing File, Preview in Browser, As Tiled Background again to make sure it's seamless. Now you could stop if you want to and save your seamless wooden tile. However, to add a little more zip and realism, you might want to add a knot hole or two. To do this, choose the Standard Selection tool. In the Attributes toolbar, from the Shape dropdown list choose Ellipse, Soft edge=10. Make a small elliptical selection toward the upper left side, making sure not to get too close to an edge of the image.
Choose Effect, 2D, Whirlpool. When the Whirlpool dialog box opens, select the thumbnail that is on the far right in the bottom row and click Options to go to the secondary dialog box. Edit the Twist Degrees to 240 and click OK.
When returned to the image, right click and Merge All. To make the knot hole a little more convincing, make a rectangular selection around the knot hole and some of the space around it. Choose Effect, Warping. When the dialog box opens, choose a Fine Grid and move a few of the grid points around to create some waviness around the knot hole.
Click Preview to check it out, and if it's not right, click Continue to return to the dialog box, Reset, and try again until you're satisfied. Also, consider adding another slight wave to the wood grain on the lower left side of the wood tile by moving a single grid point, as shown below.
When you're all done tweaking the wood grain with Warping, choose Noise, Add Noise. When the dialog box opens, ignore the thumbnails and click Options to open a secondary dialog box. Edit the Variance to 3 and click OK to apply. And here's the finished seamless wood tile.
Try editing the wood with various Style filters or with Hue & Saturation. These samples should give you some ideas.
This tutorial uploaded 9/07/01
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