Wood structure in Photoshop

01 Apr 2011

Today we're exploring a quick way to get a satisfying wood structure in Photoshop. The kind of structure you would use as a background in a web site. So not the detailed kind that you would use for a poster for example. Why spent a ton of steps if you are going to hide 70% of it.

Define colors

Create a new document at 72 dpi. First we start by defining the fore- and background colors. We'll choose a light brown color and a mid brown color. You could choose for example for R147 G132 B108 as foreground color and R181 G170 B146 as background color. Fill your document with the background color, which should be the darker of the 2 colors you defined.

Create fibers

No go to Filters > Render > Fibers. I didn't change the sliders in the settings. Hit OK.

Fibers Render Filter

You end up with something like the image below:

Result aftter Fibers filter applied

Add Gradient Map

To set the tone and structure of the wood, we'll add a Gradient Map. Go to Image > Adjustments > Gradient Map. The gradient that is set uses your fore- and background colors. You can tweak to any color you like, and by doing so you tweak the structure and tone of the wood. I was happy with the effect produced from my fore- and background colors and clicked OK.

Add Bloating effects

To make it look a bit more like wood, I added a bit of bloating in effects here and there using via the Liquify filter. Go to Filters > Liquify. In the Liquify window, choose the Bloat tool. I didn't change the Brush settings which were set to Size 100 and Density 50. Now click, hold down the mouse and drag a little bit on different random places to break the straight vertical structure, and give it a more of a wood look.

Result after adding some random bloat effects

Add some Burn

We'll give the wood a bit of depth, and roughness by adding some subtle burn effects. First, duplicate your layer. We'll add these effects on this duplicated layer, this way we can always go back. Plus, we can use it as an effect on top of our original layer and control how we want to apply it via the opacity and layer mode of the layer.

Select the Burn tool from the Toolbox. Select a soft brush of 34 px, select Shadows from the Range dropdown in the options at the top and set the Exposure to 30%. Now randomly make some parts for the wood a bit darker using this tool. When finished, adjust the Opacity of this layer to 50% and change the Layer Mode to Overlay. Don't stop there and make a habit of experimenting with the other layer modes as well. I always try to do that as you sometimes get surprising results. Another addition could be the use of Smart Sharpen (Filters > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen). I've tried using 200% as Amount and 1px for Radius select Gaussian Blur from the Remove menu, and check More Accurate. This 'sharpified' the wood effect ;)

Result after adding some random brun effects on a duplicated layer, and by setting the layer mode to Overlay with 50% opacity

There you have it. A very fast and easy way to create a wood structure. Hope you enjoyed it :)


  1. 1 George Probst 02 Apr 2011

    For such a relatively simple and short process, that’s actually a very convincing wood texture. Nice work. I’ve used other methods in the past that required a lot more steps, and I don’t think the results were as good as the sample in this tutorial. I’ll have to give this method a try the next time I need a wood texture. Thanks for sharing!