Photographers often use Adobe Photoshop to create photo effects, fix skin blemishes or manipulate photos. However, the program is also a favourite of graphic designers and creative hobbyists because of its useful toolbox. The custom shape tool is just one of several Photoshop tools that enables almost anyone to create a realistic tree with little difficulty.
Open Photoshop and create a new document by selecting the File menu and choosing "New Document." The document can be any size that you desire, but 6 inches by 6 inches is sufficient for most purposes. Set the background colour to white and select "OK."
Visit a Photoshop tutorial website like Pixel Digest and download a tree custom shape package. Almost all websites that provide free custom shape tools offer a wide variety of custom tree shape options (such as oaks, evergreens and palms), so browse around to find the kind of tree shapes that are ideal for you. Other sites that offer free custom shapes for Photoshop include Shape-Mania and FreshFreeStuff (see Resources). Using a custom shape will also add a lot of detail to your project because they include bark and leaves.
Decide where you want to place your tree. If you plan to create a forest or something similar, you can easily switch between multiple shapes. Click on the Custom Shape option on the Tools palette and scroll down until you find the tree you plan to use. Choose your tree colour within the Custom Shape menu.
Add the tree to your document by clicking and dragging the custom shape tool from the left to the right until the tree is the desired size. Right-click on the shape layer and select Blending Options. Select Drop Shadow and use the default options. This will give the illusion that the tree is standing out, in turn making it more realistic.
Creating a tree in Photoshop can also be done by using custom tree brushes.