photoshop creative

How I Made: Tree of Life

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How I Made, by Mark White
July 18, 2016

How Ferdinand D. Ladera made this beautiful image!


1. Initial sketches


I usually do different studies of landscapes before I pick the one that stands out. Here are all of the sketches that were done for this particular painting.

2. Final idea


This is the concept that I chose to go with for this painting. On the right-hand side of this image are the brushes that I used in the creation of the landscape.

3. Adding key visuals


I have already incorporated the tree in this concept. I also added waterfalls around the tree. The waterfalls are coming from an underground river beneath the tree, which comes from the mountains.

4. Custom tree branches


This image shows all of the custom brushes that I used for branches and leaves to speed up the process of putting the tree together. As you can see, there are quite a few of them!

5. Putting it all together


This is the complete concept on a bigger canvas. The images at the bottom are the inspirational sketches that I used as reference as I painted. The right-hand image shows the custom brushes used.

6. Final greyscale composition


And here it is, the final painting in greyscale. I’m happy with the results and I like the composition of the entire painting. So, next up is colouring.

7. Curves for colouring


I started colouring by using the Curves settings. I played around with the Red, Blue and Green channels until I saw the result I wanted. Next, I used Color Balance, Levels, etc, until I got the right colours.

8. Final touches


Here, I added more details like the trees that you can see on the left side, and I also made some tweaks to the contrast and the colour.