How to create a seamless wood texture in Photoshop

When I was working on Woodcutter and found myself in need of a set of seamless wood textures, my first instinct was to take photos of the real thing and use the Clone Stamp Tool to make them tileable. Usually when creating seamless textures, this technique works wonders, but the grain in a natural wood texture makes it very easy to spot areas that have been manipulated.

After doing some research and a bit of experimenting, I developed a technique that enabled me to create perfectly seamless wood textures from scratch.

In today's tutorial I'm going to show you this technique and teach you how to create a seamless wood texture just like the one below.

Start by creating a new document 1280 x 256 pixels. Set the Resolution to 72 pixels/inch and Color Mode to RGB Color.

Press D to set the Default Foreground and Background Colors, then select Filter > Render > Clouds.

Press Alt+Cmd+I to open the Image Size window, then increase the Height of your image to 1280 pixels. Make sure that the chain link icon is unselected so that the aspect ratio of your image won't be constrained.

Go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur, set the Angle to 90° and the Distance to 500 pixels.

Then go to Filter > Other > Offset and set both the Horizontal and Vertical offset to 640 pixels (exactly half the size of your image).

This will reveal a horizontal seam in your image, which you'll need to remove by using the Smudge Tool.

Set the Size of your brush to around 70 px and Hardness to 0%. Then make sure the strength of the smudge is set to somewhere around 50%.

smudge-tool-settings.png

Once you're ready, take your brush and start smudging the seam using a combination of short up and down strokes, working your way along from one end to the other.

Don't worry about spending too much time on this. The aim isn't to blend the seam perfectly into the background but to simply make it less pronounced.

Now, this is really where the wood texture starts to take shape. Go to Image > Adjustments > Posterize and change the Levels to 35.

Then go to Filter > Stylize > Find edges, which will give you a line pattern resembling wood grain.

Next, you're going to adjust the contrast to make the lines darker.

Start by desaturating your image (Shift+Cmd+U), then open the Levels window (Cmd+L) and increase the black Input Levels to 200.

Now you need to add some grain. Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise and enter the following settings:

Amount: 65%
Distribution: Gaussian
Monochromatic

After that, go to the Layers panel, right click the 'Background' layer and select Layer from Background.

Name this layer 'Wood Texture 1'.

Make a duplicate of 'Wood Texture 1' (Cmd+Alt+J) and name it 'Wood Texture 2'.

The next part of this tutorial describes the steps you need to take to put the finishing touches on your wood texture and ensure that it is completely seamless. Be warned, there is quite a lot of switching between layers, so please read carefully.

Start by hiding 'Wood Texture 2' and selecting 'Wood Texture 1'.

Go to Filter > Other > Offset and set both the Horizontal and Vertical offset to 640 pixels.

Then go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. Set the Angle to 90° and the Distance to 15 pixels.

If you were to Offset the layer again, you would see that as a result of adding Motion Blur, 'Wood Texture 1' now has a horizontal seam. Fortunately, this is easy to fix. What you need to do is repeat the previous two steps on 'Wood Texture 2', offsetting the layer and adding Motion Blur, but in reverse order. This will still result in a horizontal seam on 'Wood Texture 2', but it'll be in a different position to the seam on 'Wood Texture 1', allowing you to simply erase the seam on 'Wood Texture 2' and merge the layers together to create a perfectly seamless texture. Here's how it's done:

Select 'Wood Texture 2', show the layer and go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. Once again, set the Angle to 90° and the Distance to 15 pixels.

Go to Filter > Other > Offset and set both the Horizontal and Vertical offset to 640 pixels.

Then use the Eraser Tool (E) to remove the seam.

After that, merge the layers (Cmd+E) and you'll have a perfectly seamless texture.

Now it's time to polish things up and prepare your texture for some color.

Once again, make a duplicate of 'Wood Texture 1' (Cmd+Alt+J) and name it 'Wood Texture 2'.

With 'Wood Texture 2' selected, press Cmd+T, right click the canvas and select Rotate 180°.

Open the Levels window (Cmd+L) and decrease the white Output Levels to 127.

You may have noticed that your texture is looking a little blurry. To fix this, go to Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen More.

Next, hide 'Wood Texture 2' and select 'Wood Texture 1'. Press Cmd+I to invert the colors.

Follow this by pressing Cmd+L to open the Levels window, then increase the black Input Levels to 55 and the black Output Levels to 127.

Again, go to Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen More to remove any unwanted blur.

Now it's time to add some color.

Start by creating a new Solid Color layer.

create-solid-color-layer.png

Enter the hex code #d3a978, then move this layer to the bottom of the stack.

solid-color-bottom.png

Next, select 'Wood Texture 1', set the layer's Blend Mode to Overlay and Opacity to 30%.

Select 'Wood Texture 2', show the layer, then set its Blend Mode to Overlay and Opacity to 75%.

At this point, your wood texture should be looking fairly realistic, but to finish up, you need to add some more grain.

Create a new layer (Shift+Cmd+N) and name it 'Grain'.

Create a new Fill (Shift+F5), using Background Color as the Contents.

Then go to Filter > Filter Gallery.

Choose the Film Grain filter and enter the following settings: 

Grain: 10
Highlight Area: 0
Intensity: 0

Following that, press Cmd+L to open the Levels window, then decrease the white Output Levels to 127.

Move the 'Grain' layer beneath 'Wood Texture 1'.

Then set its Blend Mode to Overlay and Opacity to 50%.

You now have a seamless wood texture ready to use in your designs.

It's important to note that because the Color Fill layer is separate from the layers that make up the actual texture, you can easily customize the color and alter the Opacity of the 'Grain' and 'Wood Texture' layers to suit.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

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