Create this beautiful treehouse artwork using a combination of photo manipulation and painting techniques. Find out how to easily draw a surreal-looking tree easily using the Brush tool, clouds from scratch, and more! You’ll learn all these techniques in this Photoshop tutorial.

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Surreal Treehouse Photoshop Tutorial

Tutorial Resources

Step 1

Create a new document (Ctrl+N) of 1024 pixel wide and 1280 pixel high.


Step 2

From this step on we will create a tree going to be used in this work. First of all, go to Brush tool in the tool panel. Hit F5 to open the brush panel. Choose a hard round brush and then do some setting on Shape Dynamics, Scattering and Color Dynamics as the following:


Step 3

Set the color of the foreground to #fabc22 and the background to #352703 in the color pickers panel. With the brush size set to 150 pxl and the brush tip set to the ones in step 2, stroke it to give it a try. I have made a shape like the one in the illustration picture:


Step 4

Keep on trying to stroke the brush to create the stems and some branches. Do this on different layers. One thing to remember is try to vary the brush sizes and the amount of Fade Control in the Shape Dynamics accordingly. After doing some trials and errors, finally I sorted some shapes suitable to the tree we are going to create:


Step 5

What we are going to do next is arrange the shapes into a single tree. This is what I did: first I arrange the stem for the tree. Place the stem 1 in the bottom and then the other stem (stem 2) is right above it. Then put another stem (stem 3) above the others. Finally add the last stem (stem 4). See the illustration picture.


Step 6

Continue to add some branches to the tree until we find the complete shape.


Step 7

Next, merge all the tree layers to make them a single layer. With the single tree layer selected, go to Filter > Render > Lightning. Follow the setting as shown in the illustration picture:


Step 8

In this step we will give more details to the tree by defining the shading and shadow. To achieve this, we will use Burn tool. Activate Burn tool in the tool panel. Set its range to highlight at 10% exposure. With a very soft brush, stroke some areas on the tree to give it shadow and shading. Please see the illustration picture to see what we are doing:


Step 9

Finally, we will give the tree Gradient Map. Go to Layer > New adjustment layer > Gradient map. This will change the color of the tree. Remember to create a clipping mask to this gradient layer. Set this gradient map layer to normal blending at 60% opacity. Select all layers and then hit Ctrl+E to merge them. I named this layer tree. We have finished the tree.


Step 10

Create a new white document of 1024 pixel wide and 1686 pixel high. Create a new layer. Set the foreground color to #9db1fc and the background to #6ca5f8. Take Gradient Tool and set it to linear gradient. Fill the new layer with gradient by dragging the gradient tool on it. Now we have the background.