In this tutorial we're going to give a patch of grass some roots to grow in and dirt, giving a [ahem] somewhat realistic cross section.
Off we go...
Step 1: Get some decent grass to start with. (Har har you know what I mean :shifty: ) I created a little patch of it basically the same way we created hair in another tutorial, except obviously with different lowlight and highlight colors.
Step 2: First thing to do is create a ground layer. Make a new layer in Photoshop, and place it under your grass layer(s), which should be transparent except for the grass itself.
Step 3: Using a "dry" brush and a dark brown, paint in a ground shape, similar to the one below.
I laid down a few layers on top of the original dirt layer and set one's blending mode to "Vivid light" (the bottom highlight).
Step 4: With the original dirt layer selected, go to FILTER > NOISE > ADD NOISE, and add about 3.5% using the Gaussian method. Double-click the dirt layer and also set a gradient (the reverse of the default black to white) at blend mode "Multiply", opacity 23%, and scale 59%. This will make the dirt near the grass a little darker, implying shadows and moisture.
Step 5: Now we're going to add some rocks and debris. Create a new layer, and with the polygonal lasso tool, make a small, rock-shaped selection. Double-click to complete the selection, and then, holding CTRL, create another rock shape somewhere else. Repeat until you have a good assortment of selection shapes and sizes. You should have something like this:
(I lightened the opacity of the dirt layer in this image so you can see the selections better.)
Step 6: In your new layer, with the rock selections still on the canvas, click EDIT > FILL, and fill the rocks with any color. Now, double-click the rocks layer and then select "Pattern Overlay". Browse to the "Rock Patterns" set (by first clicking the down arrow next to the "Pattern" thumbnail, then the side arrow at the upper right corner. Pick a rock pattern you like best. Finally, select "Drop Shadow" and give it a 1px distance, 1px size black shadow at 17%. Give them a texture fill too if you want.
Step 7: Finally, we'll add some roots. Create a new layer under the grass layer, and with either the selection tool or the pen tool, draw some roots that start from the bottom of the grass and make their way through the dirt, avoiding any rocks they might run into. Remember roots grow in sprawling web patterns and in straight-down "tap" style. When you're done with your roots, fill the selection if you used that tool to create them, and double-click the layer. I gave my roots a rock pattern overlay with the standard settings, and a gradient fill of dark orange and green, set to "Color Burn" at 12%. The pattern overlay produces some nice random highlights and variations in the look of the roots. I also gave them a slight drop shadow: 1px distance, 2px size, 33% opacity. My roots I must say though are a little half-assed, but they give some nice texture and depth.
That's pretty much it! Add a blue/purple/polka dot sky and you're done.
Learn any tricks of the trade you'd like to pass on? Post them here.
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