Adding Realistic Foliage to your Images by Ed Hopkins (

By:Adam Thur
Date: Wednesday, August 06, 2003

To add foliageto a picture (likethis one of Poison Ivy)you can make use of patterns. Here is a step-by-step tutorial onmaking a seamless pattern using Photoshop.


Step 1:

Take a picture of some leaves in front of a blank background.

(Here's a friendly philodendron.)

Step 2:

Mask out the background. (To start the mask I inverted a copy of the picture and pasted it into the mask channel.)

Step 3:

Make a new 200x200 document. Use guidelines to put a 100x100 square in the middle of it. Paste your leaves into it and transform them to fit the square.

IMPORTANT: don't let the leaves go past the edges of square.

Step 4:

Make a duplicate layer (or go back to Step 1 and make a new second layer) and rotate it. Center it on the upper left corner of the square.

IMPORTANT: don't place the top layer's leaves past the edges of the document.

Darken your bottom layer and give the top layer a Drop Shadow. Merge these layers.

Step 5:

This is the most important part of making a seamless pattern.

A: Copy the contents of section 1 and move it to the lower left corner of the square. (Use the Snap To Guides option in the view menu to help you.)

B: Copy the contents of section 2 and move it to the lower right corner of the square.

C: Copy the contents of section 3 and move it to the upper right corner of the square.

Step 6:

Select the contents of the center square and choose Define Pattern in the Edit menu.

Step 7:

Set your Paint Bucket tool to Pattern and choose your new pattern. When you paint with it, you will notice the repeating grid but you should not be able to see the seams.

Step 8:

Manipulate the leaves to make them look more natural. Try selective erasing or multiple layers. (Here I've just duplicated the layer and rotated it.)

You are now ready to turn a simple house plant into a dense jungle.