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Deke's Techniques is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
Hey gang, this is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's Techniques. Today, I'm going to take you on a tour of what has to be the most obscure new feature in Photoshop CC Version 14.2. And that's its ability to automatically generate trees. That's right. And while that might sound like the best example ever of software bloat, it's actually a lot of fun, because it lays down every tree differently and at a different angle, and you can choose from all kinds of different trees if you like.
And as a result, we're going to take this fake landscape. The, the, the sky and the grass don't really go with each other, and we're going to turn it into this lush forest full of happy little trees. Here, let me show you exactly how it works. Alright, we're going to start off inside this image from the fotolia image library, about which you can learn more and get deals at fotolia.com/deke. And as you can see this image is a work of fakery. We've got a bunch of tiles of grass here set against a sky that was shot independently.
Which is why I figure it's only fitting that we throw in some fake trees as well. Alright, so I'll switch back to that image and zoom out as well. And I want you to know a keyboard shortcut that we're going to be using quite a bit. If you press Ctrl+A, this isn't the keyboard shortcut, you already know this one, Ctrl+A or Cmd+A on a Mac, you're going to select the entire image like so. And then, if you press the Backspace key, with the Delete key on the Mac, you'll bring up the fill dialogue box. Alright. So, just remember that. Now, I'm going to go ahead and dismiss that dialogue box. Press Ctrl+D or Cmd+D on a Mac, to deselect the image.
Go ahead and zoom back in a little bit. And I'll press Ctrl+Shift+N or Cmd+Shift+N on a Mac to bring up the new layer dialogue box, and I'll call this layer tree one and then I'll click OK. Here's the keyboard shortcut. If you're working on an independent layer and you want to bring up the fill dialogue box, you can choose fill from the edit menu, you'll also see that it's got this kooky keyboard shortcut by default of shift f5. I don't think much of that one, because, it doesn't make any sense. But here's the one that, to me, does make sense. Shift+Backspace, or Shift+Delete on a Mac.
So, you just add shift to that keyboard shortcut we used a moment ago on the background and you bring up the fill dialogue box. And the reason I'm admonishing you to use this keyboard shortcut is because we're going to be creating six trees in all, and this is the only way to get to the tree feature. Now what you want to do is set Use to Pattern, and then you want to turn on Scripted patterns, the scripted patterns check box down here. You need the newest version of Photoshop CC, that's 14.2 or later, in order for this feature to work.
And then you go ahead and change the script to tree. And you're not going to create a pattern, by the way, you're just going to create a single tree, so it's not a pattern of trees which is a little misleading. But it's a really great feature. Now, you click OK. It doesn't matter what your pattern is set to up here. Click OK and you get this dialogue box which tells you all about how to draw trees automatically inside Photoshop CC. Now, you can populate your little forest with any kind of trees that you like. There are no wrong trees, I'm telling you, all the way down to palms.
You could have a nice little forest of palms out here in this field. But I'm going to go with the Robinia. I think that's how it's pronounced. Maybe it's Robinia, I really don't know. But, it's a cool looking tree. Now, notice some other controls that we have. See this little tree icon down here? I just love this feature. You can change the location of the light in the sky by changing this light direction value. If you set it to 180, it's going to be over here on the other side of the tree. Now these controls are not going to be represented inside this preview. This preview is just showing the you the kind of tree you're going for.
And it does show you a few other things, like how many leaves you have and so forth. But not the light direction. Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and set this guy to 30. Next, we have camera tilt. Now look at the tree, this little tree down here, the cone. When I change the tilt all the way to its maximum of 12, you can see that it bends down toward us. It doesn't really bend necessarily that far. What you're going to see though is a little slight rounding at the base of the trunk, which is definitely what we want, so crank that guy up to 12. And then the leaves amount, check this out. Right now, it's at 100, but I could reduce the leaves to zero, in which case, it becomes winter.
But I'm going to change mine to, let's say, 66. Quite a few leaves. Now, I want my leaves to match the background, so I'm going to turn on Use Custom Color For Leaves, that makes the leaves way too green. There's no such thing as a Robinia this green. So I'm going to go ahead and click on this little color swatch right there. This is going to bring up a different interface on a Mac, but, you can switch so that you can see color sliders on a Mac. You'll just have to play around inside the dialogue box. And then, the values you want to enter are for red, we want a value of 120.
And for green, we want a value of 150. And then for blue, we want zero. And that's going to give us this sort of terrible looking shade of green right there but it happens to match the background really nicely. So, go ahead and click OK. And it's going to work out really nicely for our purposes, as well, as you can see here in the preview. Now, I'm going to turn on Use Custom Color For Branches. And this default color is okay, but the one that I came up with was a red value of 128, and then I changed the green value to 64, and I took the blue value down to zero.
So, I just darkened up the brown slightly and then click OK. Now, we don't want flat shading, even though that would work much more quickly. We want nice rounded shading. You can add noise to the leaves if you want, but it doesn't tend to make much difference and we'll go with an arrangement value of one for now. And then, you can save a preset, by the way, if you want, to come back to it later. But I'm just going to click OK, in order to create that first tree. Now, it does take a few moments for Photoshop to draw this tree, because it's actually doing so mathematically, based on some mathematical parameters that we just entered.
And this, I would imagine, quite complicated formula that's going on in the background. So, you just have to wait it out. We're going to go ahead and speed up the process here inside the video, so that I'm not wasting any more of your time than I have to. And we end up with this nice tree here. I'm going to Ctrl or Cmd+Drag it over to about this location, and again feel free to go your own way. This is your forest. You can do anything that you like. I'm going to create another tree by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N, or Cmd+Shift+N on the Mac, and calling this new layer, tree two.
And then I'll click OK. And I'll press Shift+Backspace, or Shift+Delete on a Mac, in order to bring up the fill dialogue box. Then all you have to do is press the Enter or Return key, in order to switch to the tree dialogue box right here. And now you might think, well gosh, now we're just going to create another version of this tree because, this Robinia's always sort of shaped this way, right? We do have another Robinia, which is the young Robinia. I don't want it. So, I'm going to stick with Robinia 15 here. What you do if you want to randomize things, is you change this arrangement value.
So, I'm going to take it up to, let's say, 60. But, you can take it to whatever you want. It will change the arrangement of everything. All the various shapes. The limbs, the trunk, leaves and everything on the tree, so it doesn't just twist it around in 3D space, it actually rearranges the thing. And then, test that this is indeed the case. Go ahead and click OK in order to create yet another tree. Again, we're going to speed up this progress here. And now I'm going to Ctrl+Drag or Cmd+Drag that guy over to, let's say, approximately this location.
I kind of want the forest to lean a little bit over to the left here. And I'm actually going to move tree two in back of tree one, just because I want to. Alright, now let's create, hey, more trees, by clicking on the background, and then I'll press Ctrl+Shift+N, Cmd+Shift+N on a Mac, and enter tree three right here. And I'll click OK. And, this time, we're going to press Shift+Backspace or Shift+Delete on a Mac, and press the Enter or Return key, in order to bring up the tree dialogue box. And I'm going to turn on randomized shapes this time, just to let Photoshop do its own thing.
And notice that dims the arrangement option right there. And now I'll click OK in order to create yet another tree. And so this is how you draw trees in Photoshop CC. You just sit there and enter a bunch of numerical values into a dialogue box, and then you press the Enter or Return key and this is what happens. You just have to be very good at waiting, is the thing, because you're going to see a lot of progress bars. But we're going to speed it up. Alright, now I'm going to move this guy up by control dragging or command dragging on the Mac. Actually, you know what? I'm going to move it back down a little bit because I'm going to shrink him.
I want the tops of all the trees to be more or less in alignment with each other. They don't have to be exactly, of course, we want some randomness, but he's going to be in the background a little bit, so he's going to be a little smaller, I think. So I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose the Free Transform command or you've got that keyboard shortcut Ctrl+T or Cmd+T on the Mac. And then I'm going to Shift+Alt+Drag that Shift+Option+Drag one of these corner handles here in order to scale with respect to the center. That's what the alter option key does, and the fact that I have the shift key down as I'm doing this allows me to scale the tree proportionately.
Right about there should be good. And we've got ourselves yet another happy little tree. Who wants to create another tree? I'm going to click on the background and press Ctrl+Shift+N or Cmd+Shift+N on a Mac. I'll call this guy tree four. And click OK. And then, I'll press Shift+Backspace or Shift+Delete, and press the Enter or Return key, in order to bring up the tree dialogue box and let's just click OK. We don't have to do anything this time because I've got randomize turned on, which means we will get yet another very special tree delivered to us.
Now I'm going to Ctrl+Drag or Cmd+Drag this guy over around here. Press Ctrl+T or Cmd+T on the Mac, to invoke the free transform mode. Make this guy a little bit smaller, like so. Actually, let's set him back a little bit more. He kind of wants to be, I think, right about there. That's a good look for him. And then I'll press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac in order to accept that tree. We're going to create different kind of tree this time, just to mix it up, by clicking on the background, pressing Ctrl+Shift+N or Cmd+Shift+N on a Mac, calling this guy tree five.
Click OK. And press Shift+Backspace or Shift+Delete on a Mac, press the Enter key or the Return key on a Mac in order to bring up the tree dialogue box, and let's switch from 15 Robinia to 20 Acer Maxim something, don't really know what that says. That tree looks a little different, as you can see there, otherwise, you know what? Let's get more leaves. We'll give him, like, 77. We want to keep the light direction the same so that everybody's lit from a common angle, and of course, the camera tilt needs to be the same as well. So, go ahead and click OK in order to create that next tree.
I think we're going to put him back here someplace after we get done, of course, speeding up the progress bar. So, after we get done speeding up the progress bar, not quite so much this time, because I guess it's faster to draw one of these acer maximos. And then I'll press Ctrl+T or Cmd+T on the Mac, in order to enter the free transform mode. I'll go ahead and Shift+Alt+Drag, or Shift+Option+Drag a corner handle in order to scale proportionately with respect to the center. And I'll move this guy back, to let's say this approximate location right there, maybe scale him down just a little more and press the Enter key or the Return key on a Mac in order to accept that tree.
We need one more tree and you can go nuts, by the way, if you want to create 12 more trees that is totally fine. But, I'm going to put another tree over here. So, I'm going to leave tree five selected there and I'll press Ctrl+Shift+N or Cmd+Shift+N on the Mac in order to bring up the new layer dialogue box. I'll go ahead and call this guy tree six and click OK. I'll press Shift+Backspace or Shift+Delete on a Mac, and then just for the sake of variety, I'll click the OK button in order to bring up the tree dialog box. And you know what? I'm going to switch back to Robinia, and we'll leave randomized shapes turned on.
And I'll click OK in order to create yet another tree. Alright, now let's take that new tree. Ctrl+Drag or Cmd+Drag him over. Press Ctrl+T, Cmd+T on the Mac, in order to invoke free transform. Go ahead and make that guy about this big, take him over to this approximate location right there. He's maybe a little tall, I think, so I'll Shift+Drag a corner handle there, and move him down a little bit. Now, he's too short. With him about there, I'll go ahead and Shift+Drag that corner handle in order to resize him to that size.
Now I'll press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac, in order to accept that new tree. And that, dear friends, is how you create happy little trees here inside Photoshop CC 14.2 or later. Now, I can just imagine getting a letter from a marketing person at Adobe, saying, oh no, automatic tree generation in Photoshop has been one of our most requested features for years. If you're a member of the Lynda.com Online Training Library, I've a follow-up movie in which I show you how to take our flat forest so far, and we're going to turn it into this rich, lustrous work of artistic opulence right here.
In next week's free movie, I'll show you how to take this tiny, little postage stamp of an image and we're going to up-sample it to the best effect possible. Not only inside Photoshop CC, which has a new up-sampling algorithm, but inside CS6 and earlier as well. Deke's Techniques, each and every week. Keep watching.
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