In this tutorial I am going to show you how to create a vector image of a tree (see right for final outcome) from a source photograph – I will be starting out in Adobe Photoshop to prepare my image before moving on to Illustrator to perform the vector work. This is a relatively easy process providing you have the software and something that can be applied to pretty much anything, not just trees…
Software: Adobe Photoshop / Illustrator
Time taken: 2 hours (including photography)
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
I have always enjoyed drawing trees and it is something I do on a regular basis. Normally whenever I draw a tree, I usually do it to fit my project / drawing so there is no reference image - only my imagination which can lead to a certain amount of unnatural symmetry. What I mean by that is that I try to make my trees look perfect when in reality it is unnatural for a tree to display perfect symmetry. For this reason I decided to create a vector image based on a real life tree. I am not aiming for perfect symmetry on this drawing – I just want it to be real.
Step 1 – Choose your source image
The first thing I did was to obtain my source image. Now I live right on the doorstep of Cannock Chase (26 square mile mixed woodland area of outstanding natural beauty AONB in Staffordshire, UK) so there is no shortage of trees to photograph. If anything there are too many for this task – I only wanted a picture of 1, not 1000 After a bit of searching I finally decided on an image and opened it up inside Photoshop – I have not resized the photograph so it is still at default dimensions (4288 x 2848 pixels) and I want to keep it this way to make it easier to work with
Note: Try to take your own photographs wherever possible. Not only does it mitigate any copyright infringements but it also helps to bridge the gap between designer and photographer. In my opinion it is essential that you understand both elements if you want to get the most out of Photoshop