Photoshop tutorial: creating wood flooring / wooden desktop

The one thing I am not, is a graphics expert. However, I can usually get by on the skills I do have. A recent project called for a realistic wooden desktop (pretty much the same as wood flooring). Here’s how I did it…

The finished product (download PSD file at bottom of page):

Step 1: Get some good wood patterns to play with. I got a nice set from this website. Once you’ve downloaded your new .PAT file, make sure to add it to the proper Photoshop directory…. something like, C:\…\Photoshop\Presets\Patterns.

Step 2: In Photoshop, we’re going to create a single board that will be used to make the entire wood flooring. You can create the board at any dimensions you want, I’m using 100×800. I’m constructing it vertical due to the wood grain directions of the particular patterns I’m using. Once you’ve created the new image, right-click on the layer (found in the Layer menu) and select “Layer From Background…”, then just click “OK”.

Step 3: Now we’ll add the wood pattern. Right-click again on the layer, then select “Blending Options…”. Next, click “Pattern Overlay”, ensuring the little check-mark is ticked on the left side. Now you’ll need to select the new wood patterns by clicking on the Pattern image, then click the tiny arrow in the top-right corner. Then click “Load Patterns” and find your new pattern. Once your patterns are loaded, you can select the wood pattern you’d like to use. If using the linked patterns from above, I chose Pat12. Once you click on the pattern you want, you’ll see it cover your 100×800 image. While you still have the “Blending Options” window opened, you can actually click-and-drag on the board. This will allow you to reposition the pattern as you wish.

Step 4: Now to create the actual wood desktop / flooring. Create a new image, I chose the dimensions 1200x700px. Now we’ve got to start placing boards… one at a time. The way I did it was to “Flatten Image” on my board. This allows you to copy-and-paste the board image to your main flooring image. Each time you do this, make sure to “undo” the “Flatten Image” command so that you can continue to edit the board image. The idea is to “adjust” the wood pattern on the board slightly every time you do this so that you get some “natural” variations in wood texture. As I pasted my boards to the ‘main’ image, I had to rotate them 90 degrees. Feel free to duplicate layers and rotate some of the 180 degrees… this will help with variation and populating the image faster. Once you start adding boards, it should start to look something like this:

Step 5: You’ll notice at this point that the overall image “blends” together a bit too much, and the individual boards don’t stand out as much as we’d like. But that’s an easy fix! You’ll want to randomly adjust the brightness and contrast of about half the boards. This will provide for a more realistic variation in the wood. Just a little bit here and there is all it takes. Here I’ve adjusted some boards in the top-half of the image… you can see what a difference it makes!

Step 6: Once you’re happy with the board variations from adjusting the brightness/contrast, there’s one more thing you can do to enrichen the overall image… and that is to adjust the overall contrast. It doesn’t take much. Using the image from above, I’ve made such a correction:

That’s about it! Obviously you can do whatever you’d like with your own image. Here is the way my final image came out (click for a larger view):

You’re free to use this final image for any of your own projects if you’d like, no strings attached.

PSD file of my final version – Zip file (1.5mb): wooddesktop.zip