Monday, 23 July 2007

Virtually July- Creating deadwood

After I added foliage to a tree the next thing I wanted to do was to represent deadwood and explore its position and detail.

You can obviously only add the deadwood 'look' to something that's already on the tree you want to virtual so its best to start with a good photo with nice contrast between light and dark in the area to be worked on. I have tried it with some trees that the trunk is all dark shadow and to be honest it's not worth the effort!!

You can just 'paint on' a layer to produce the effect but the ways described below I think 'use' the contours already in the tree to best effect.


1. Select the area to be lightened and produce a copy layer (see actions 1-4 in the adding foliage post.) I usually copy more than is required as you can always rub out the bits you don't want later!

2. There are then two ways to produce the deadwood effect.

A1. With the copy layer selected go to Image (top left) and then select Adjustments then brightness/contrast.
A2. Then slide the brightness and contrast sliders until your happy with their effect.

A3. Then delete the areas you don't want or like. (eg. the white areas around the trunk line etc.)


B1. Select the dodge /burn tool. (click the corner arrow to see all options under this icon)

B2. Use the variable brush to make the copy layer lighter (Dodge) and/or darker (Burn) where you want it.

B3. Adjust or delete the areas not required.

NB. Remember to add a shadow on the edge of a deadwood area to replicate the live wood being proud of the virtual deadwood.

I find the second method better as it produces more subtle effects whereas the first method is quicker but gives a single overall change. With both methods, be careful not to overdo the brightness/contrast though as the effect can look unreal if you go to far!!

PS. Using the 'Burn' alone can help when creating uro's or sabamiki's.

Hope this helps?

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Hello and welcome to the Wirral Bonsai Society Blog - an ongoing diary & newsletter highlighting the adventures of the society & its members

Society Diary-We meet at 8pm every 2nd Wednesday of the month at the RAFA club in Oxton (CH43 1UU).

  • 13th January
  • 10th February
  • 14th February Workshop - Port Sunlight GC
  • 28th February Workshop - Gordale
  • 9th March - Monthly meeting - Topic TBC
  • 13th March Workshop - Port Sunlight GC
  • 27th March Workshop - Gordale
  • 13th April - Demonstration - Andy H
  • 17th April Workshop - Port Sunlight GC
  • 24th April Workshop - Gordale
  • 8th May Workshop - Port Sunlight GC
  • 11th May- Monthly meeting - Topic TBC
  • 29th May Workshop - Gordale
  • 4-5th June WBS Flowering Bonsai Show - Port Sunlight GC
  • 8th June - WBS Member trees critique
  • 12th June Workshop - Port Sunlight GC
  • 26th June Workshop - Gordale
  • 10th July Workshop - Port Sunlight GC
  • 13th July- Monthly meeting - Topic TBC
  • 31st July Workshop - Gordale
  • 10th August- WBS Show tree selection
  • 13-14th August - Wirral Flower Show
  • 20th August - Japan Day, Liverpool
  • 27-29th August WBS Annual Show - Gordale
  • 14th September- Monthly meeting - Topic TBC
  • 11th September Workshop - Port Sunlight GC
  • 25th September Workshop - Gordale
  • 9th October Workshop - Port Sunlight GC
  • 12th October- Monthly meeting - Topic TBC
  • 30th October Workshop - Gordale
  • 9th November- Monthly meeting - Topic TBC
  • 13th November Workshop - Port Sunlight GC
  • 26-27th November - Potter Workshop with David Jones (Walsall Studio Ceramics)
  • 27th November Workshop - Gordale
  • 14th December - Club Party


New members are always welcome, just come along to one of our monthly meetings at the RAFA club. You can even 'try us out' for a few months before you decide on joining as an official member. The meetings are informal (there's a bar!) and the club members are (mostly) friendly, approachable and happy to pass on guidance and information to anybody interested in bonsai- whatever your level of experience.