Did you know that Photoshop CC has the ability to create really cool trees? Although the feature was first available in the CC release, it was greatly improved for the 2014 release and was made much more discoverable by moving it (from the hard-to-find option under scripted patterns within the Fill dialog), to the Filter menu. Living in the filter menu, it is able to create a live preview and can render the trees 5-15 times faster than before. In addition, you can choose from over 30 tree types and refine them using several new parameters including the ability to change the size and type of leaves as well as the height of branches. It’s important to note that these trees are not clip art. They can be altered (randomized) to create slightly different, unique trees every time the filter is run!!
Here are examples of some of the different types of trees (shown with their default leaves). If you would like to see all of these examples larger (and with more detail), click here to download the PDF.2015 Trees
Top Row: Redwood, Ginko, Young Maple, Aspen, Populus Nigra. Middle Row:Young Ash, Willow, Young Robina, Sakura Cherry Blossom, Fraxinus Griffithii. Bottom Row: Acer, Palm, Bamboo, Cyprus 2, Stylized Tree 3.
Here are the different types of Leaves Type that you can apply to the branches of the trees:
And, you can change the angle of the light.
Light Direction set to: 180, 135, 90, 45, and 0 degrees.
The camera angle can be changed as well.
Camera Tilt set to 0, 12, and 24.
You can choose anywhere between bare branches to thick, bushy, leaves.
Leaves Amount set to 0, 20, 40, 60, and 100.
The leaf size is also adjustable.
Leaves Size set to 1, 50, 100, 150, and 200.
You can alter the branches height (where the branches begin extruding from the tree), as well as the branches thickness.
Branches Height set to 70, 184, and 300. Branches Thickness set to 0, 100, and 200.
Of course you can create your own tree/leaf (not-of-this-world) combination as well as customize the leaf color.
Different leaf and tree combinations as well as custom colors.
Leaves can be “locked” so that they don’t rotate (this can result in more of an illustrative look). Leaves and Branches can have natural or flat shading and leaves can be rendered with additional contrast. Even the color of the branches can be modified.
Top Row: Normal and Leaves Rotation Lock applied. Normal and “flat” shading examples for branches. Bottom Row: Normal, Flat Shading, and Enhanced Contrast applied to leaves, and custom branch color applied.
If you check the “Randomize Shapes” option, the branches and leaves change every time (even if you keep all other options the same). In other words, you have no control over the branch/leaves shapes – it’s completely random. (even if you keep all of the other options the same). This can be very useful if you want to make a number of trees that are are similar to one another, but not identical. For example, if you automate the Tree filter using Actions, each tree will be unique in the forest.
With the Randomize button the Branches and Leaves attributes are changed every time a tree is created.
If, on the other hand, you uncheck “Randomize Shapes”, you can render trees with identical branches and leaves. In the illustration below, the first and second tree was rendered with the Randomize Shapes checked and you can see that they’re identical. If, however, you do not like the shape of the branches and leaves on the tree you can use the Arrangement slider to modify them. In the third and fourth tree below, I kept the Randomize Shapes unchecked but moved the arrangement slider to create a different combination of branches and leaves.
With the Randomize button unchecked, the first two trees are identical. The Arrangement slider was then used to modify the third and fourth trees (Arrangement set to 50 and 100).
After you have created the desired tree, use the Custom menu at the top of the Trees dialog to save those settings to use in the future or share with friends. And, a little known fact, the Tree filter can follow paths! For example, using the custom shape tool to create a heart and then creating a Willow or Pine tree without any leaves is illustrated below.
I have also found that Puppet warp can be very helpful when trying to make small adjustments to a tree to reshape them.