Trees in photoshop

Photoshop CS5 Tutorial.

Ok it was late and thus a bit monotone, and a few errors for you to spot!

The idea is to show you how to create a simple tree from above with shadow. Its a starter for you guys to build upon so the detail is basic for that reason. A foundation if you like.

It took a long time to work it all out so it has some value to me (at least). So i will share it with Greenwich Students LA and Garden Design, to give you guys something to work with. Really appreciate if you don’t publish this video, download it by all means as it won’t be up forever.

 Come back for updates.

Original Vid below.(Update May 2014)

Photoshop CS5 Graphic Trees from Grant Beerling on Vimeo.

Done, Dusted and back to reality….Bump


Been a while due to doing stupid hours to get it all done, got to the point were sleeping seemed like a guilty pleasure!

Everyone really pulled something special out of the bag in the last two weeks well done to all my class mates.

As usual looking around at everybody else’s work see big gaps in mine, but came to the conclusion that we will always be better off following our own cue. 

Regrets, still think my sequential’s are a bit heavy, whereas my 1;50 seemed to hit the spot, with movement and a light touch.

Would’ve liked to have done a seasonal page as i played around with colours earlier on, no time. Would’ve liked the model to be better, seeing the rest of the class picked up some good idea’s, and well done some really nice models.

I think i managed to get the point across with this one, room for improvement on the trees though.

Obama visits Park life for inspiration and too meet an old Mexican friend

Distance and our friendly monks take a stroll.

A particular fave, really thought about the issues as i designed this in particular hidden fixings, but with accessibility for maintenance.

This one seemed popular in the sense ‘ooh i would like to go there’ so managed to sell the festival idea with the ravine.

Just need £20million to build it….. offers welcome


Home Straight of the Marathon…..

But who put all those Hurdles in the way?

Well thats how it feels, but we all occupy the same boat, though Adele seems to be swimming at the mo.

Well working like the proverbial on the planting scheme lost count how may days, keep changing my mind, then visualise and think……. too many ,too few, too busy not exciting enough..then i run out of steam and have to go to bed, only to wake up stupid early and start working and go through the same thing again. So put it to one side for a mo and finished a couple.

Levels and Spot Heights

Had to do spot heights and levels on their own sheet as they are important and if they can’t be read combined then there is no point. So many redraws, did the steps three times kept forgetting something. eventually worked out with 400mm treads (jamie will be pleased) and a decent mid point landing. Spent a while making sure gradients worked with 1;200, and they do with some juggling (thus the step drama’s).Spent some time on the seating area’s thinking about the interaction of people within the spaces.Changed my retaining walls along with stair details.

Also spent some time looking successful parks and the atmosphere that one is left with and whether the design is successful or not. Top of the list is the High Line in New York, ticks all the community boxes, visitor, seating, planting, people watching all within an atmosphere of relative serenity (well as much as one can expect in the middle of a busy city). A must visit next time.

Hard works Key plan

Made sure the rendering stands out and is clear in black and white. So many construction drawings off the back of this. Went into too much detail on the key i think, plenty of time for that on the details. Thanks Sue for the Gradient calculator, saved so much time and grief, got the decimal place in the wrong place a few times was that 30mm or 30m?

Silly stuff

Found this while reading a report on the high Line. let it read your blog and it picks out the most used words in size, surprised to see the word shit and bollocks missing, i am obviously losing my site manners with all this white collar education stuff or that could be a load bollocks!

Or 10 words.
Bed ZZZZzzzzzz

Russian Doll

Ahh, look another one!

This is how it feels at the moment finish a drawing and two more seem to arrive.Or is that buses? 
Finished(?) drainage only to realise that there are at least 20 detailed drawings that could come off this drawing alone.

It also seem that a Heat exchange drawing should be done, explaining were heat from the ground, lake and building waste could be retrieved. Along with more detailed drawings. A year to design this site would be quick!!!


Think i have covered most of it. Seem to be getting a bit neater in the layout or is that anal(?), i think there is a retentive person trying to get out, back, back, dam you!

The main plan updated, but annotation needs a fresh head otherwise i will repeat the blather that is on it at present.

Style: Darwin or God?


I have been working on paid work this week so that i have the luxury of eating food other that gruel (though as i seem to burn just about everything is there any point in buying nice food)?

I have been experimenting with various styles over the past year and am slowly coming to the conclusion that communication (no, i refuse to use the ‘paramount’ word, my most hated word due to journalists and ‘safty nazis’ using it at any and every opportunity, that includes you John Humphfies of R4 Today programme fame) is the first point to think about on drawings, obvious maybe, but in the past (and still now sometimes) i have fallen into the trap of trying to do a work of art (although not quite Tate Modern more bill posters under  railway arches) and the ‘impression’ overtakes the the design.
Result, confused clients.

So i have tried to do a clear and concise drawing, trying also to avoid the computer look too much, ie repeats.

A small garden, the desire for veg and perennial planting with a space to sit and admire. Hidden the functional area with a ‘dog leg’ in the path.
Veg near the house (as it is at present). 

Drawn on the board, Scanned bolted together in photoshop, Rendered and annotated photoshop.
Plain style to the point, once printed i will add people and slab and brick patterns, probably ruin it!

On to the next……..

D or the big G?

Well i think Darwin wins this round, style is mostly about evolution. Trial and error if you like. We all have eyes to see it just depends how we interpret and crit our own attempts, a never ending process, todays bacon is tomorrows landfill. Which i am being constantly reminded, onwards, forwards, no looking back, bright future, shades, as MJ said ‘Lets Dance, lets shout….. I think i need to eat blood sugar is getting low.

A tree for all seasons


Well first attempt at the tree planting schedule. I have not put sizes as i need some guidance from others on the pot/girth dimensions.

Really tried to visualise the effect the tree’s would have in the surroundings, ie some restricted space other area’s much more open. Also the effect on noise from dampening to echo down the ravine. Thought about enclosure for the visitors as well as seasonal colour and scent . Put some specimens in to cause special visitations when in bloom (in particular the Handkerchief and Foxglove trees)


Really just a quick template ,a lot more research as i have yet to get excited about anything. I know what i want but can’t seem to find the materials to match the vision….Compromise?

‘To Nail or not to Nail, that is the question’

Slingshots and Arrows 

If the Bard had been on our course i am sure he would of reached this conclusion. Having tried to complete stuff for pin ups i often compromised on annotation, levels, planting, materials, etc,etc. So ended up having to explain myself on the back foot, which is fine (you pay’s your money…..and all that), but non the less annoying. 
So this week i have concentrated on nailing the 1:200 ‘freeze’ plan. In particular levels, planting and materials. Really tried to get the ‘zing’ back. So slingshots and arrows, yes, but at least i feel that i have been thorough (to my ‘student’ standards at least).


Drawn on the ‘board’, scanned and merged. Photoshop rendering. A lot quicker this time as learnt techniques used and hopefully improved. Tried to make it a bit lighter in feel, but still atmospheric.
A lot of updates, but in particular the cafe to the right of the waterfall, set back into the hill, more space to accommodate seating. Thought a lot about the hills of grass to sit on, there aspect to the views in particular.

The annotation will be improved once i have completed the planting and material plans. Again a case of nailing them then updating this plan. I think the scale bar needs improvement, i know Andy had a good template. I feel some plagiarism or is that inspiration, m’Lord.
Sketch Book

Spent quite sometime drawing idea’s that were suggested as well as developing new ones. Scribbling seems to help me think, even if it turns out to be rubbish, also to check if whats in my head would look ok spatially and other problems that may be thrown up.

Had a go at rendering with water colour pencils, a hint is better than total fill i think.
My usual scratchy ink (fountain pen). I have come to the conclusion that this is the way that works for me, quick and effective (to my eye at least)

If i want to draw steady lines then i can trace over, but i think i have drawn this way for sooooooo long that the old dog ain’t gonna learn this time.

The zigzag of the planted path with axil steps cutting across, seems ok, Put a hoody in with some swag who is distracted by the lovely planting, later nabbed by the ‘Fuzz’ ,society to blame and all that

Brass railings an inspiration from the new bridge at Kew (with a nudge from Paula ,cheers ). Playing with a gold/brown glass or plates of textured brass, copper /zinc alloy (Admirality Brass higher Zinc ratio for reduced corrosion or maybe bronze copper/tin alloy)

Youth on bridge

Timber high walk way through the south bank. Resin in lay in the timber (aka Bluewater though black rather than yellow…yuk)

More balustrades, Central meeting point on the North bank under a large pergola. My version of the ‘Green Business Man’.

Cafe by the waterfall, out of scale and to near the front, rectified on the little sketch below.

A thought about enclosing the axil stair’s in a metal pergola with a climber. Plus a tunnel effect and shade, minus reduces the view across the park, mmmmm a conundrum as Sue would say. 

A cross section of granite by the water. Plus some anti skate board idea’s (grumpy gene coming into operation i am afraid)

Axil steps lined with trees? 

Le Crunch

Lille 2011


Arrived late so no change there, NetworkSouth East connections/cancellations blah blah.

Hotel room just south of Paris, a couple next door banging for France and finally the Kettle was broken.(though repaired as many know life without Chai for me is impossible)

so a good start.


Introduced to the site by the town planners walked around in our team, impression, windy, cold, exposed, industrial, dusty, brewery odours.

Big site 55 hectares.

Started to scratch out a proposal for Tuesday presentation.


Our theme was escape from the urban, but we really got bogged down in the intellectual process. All very , but fun.


We all worked hard to resolve and combine the two drawings from the two groups. Yes we argued,but in a very good natured way. Win some, lose some.

The God of Context and the saints of the straight line seemed to be our main stumbling block. The main idea in the end was radical so hats off to every one for going along with Simons idea. Pondering further a very good one.

Personally i felt we conformed on other areas such as housing, but its a case of looking past the rendering/model and thinking about the over all long term vision of 100 years. which was a good proposal, ie water recycling from an old dock, and as technology improves thus efficiency increases.


Pin up. Worked late and up early to get it all done. We didn’t but 90% on the wall missed annotation of master plan.

Master plan hand rendered pencil and pro marker
By Batiste, Soziem and Elise

Paula and Amile worked on the document and putting drawings together. 5 star hard workers!! As usual Sue pumped out some excellent perspectives , love the happy chicken. Susan for her work on planting and placement

Edith and I, the cross sections, i drew and partially rendered she finished rendering and sky, which i love, swoosh. Jamie said it was very good before realising that it was mostly my work, hilarious seeing him backtrack!!!
Found out today(14th Feb) Paula did a bit of PS to lighten the sky and make them brighter…Nice

Photo’s of Lukes awsome model. Edith and i for pics then i done the usual photoshop thing for atmosphere. Annotation in a matter of minutes.
One drawing to come with Simons analysis and proposals, very technical,but full of well thought out process. Sue and I also bodged out a time line of 15 years for initial completion. Edith some conceptual, drawings really deep, and more research work from Susan.

Simon And Edith spoke ,very well with Luke and myself jumping in at the end to clarify a couple of points, managed to insult the main man, but hey ho, he won’t forget us!

Over all great team work, no slackers every one gave it their all.

Hurrah for the Water People!

Why do i feel ‘Miffed’

Well crit over/marking. Not really sure what to make of it all. yeah, yeah, fancy rendering, but i agree with Paula (Romania) the previous one has more life as did the the very first sketch. This one is to dull, to refined. I prefer something with some more soul.

Its about being expressive for me and although there is a place for straight informative drawings, it just doesn’t get the feeling across. And thus the feeling of disappointment.

Perspective Ahhh need to do sketch up model for depth of field, over all a bit miffed. I think on the marking front i got away with it and it was generous. As the seduction of rendering helped the lack of skill on the perspectives, another day another attempt.

I think earlier in the Degree i felt more confidant about taking risks, as i get nearer the finally i find myself getting more conservative, its a case of letting go of the reins and then thinking too much about the consequences. Really quite annoyed.

What to do?

Well its a case of not trying to ‘please the panel’, but to concentrate on the design.
The difference of designing for a client, either they get it and love it or they don’t the story ends, whereas this situation its the added chasing marks regime which we all do as they are there as a standard, and there has to be bench mark. So i am going to try and stop thinking will they or won’t they and go for what feels right as that is the point otherwise we would all be Jamie/Julia/Paula clones and bad ones at that.

The presented drawing had cross section annotation, forgot to put the update on my stick and thus lost is when shutting down Uni computer.
Like this one, but the extension to repetive. trees have not been thought through, rather what i could find. Though there is some atmosphere.
Again trees’s 

Tree’s etc


Just don’t and have never liked these, just can’t get excited.
So the remedy, bring back the excitement/noise of experimenting and taking risks. Lesson over, now the document.

Tree’s blobs and lollypop’s

Well like just about everybody spent a lot of time trying to create tree impressions for the plan as well as the perspectives.


As usual stumbled on this idea and developed it I think the result is quite effective and can be played around with further
1) Pro marker on Trace, shade to create depth, (the ink stays wet so mixing is possible). Let it dry. The ink one side with .3-.5 pen.

Then put in photoshop, Filter gallery>watercolour>ok and then again but this time poster edges. Adjust to suit. Cut out, play with colours etc  
Cut out and duplicate loads of times for tree’s.When done, each tree will be on a single layer. Select all, duplicate. Then all the duplicates merge into one file. Turn to black via images>Hue andBalance>lightness bar to the left, so black.
And now the ta da bit, that layer put underneath all the tree layers, then  shift to one side and by magic you have perfect shadows in the shape of the trees all moving at the same angle.

Well spent ages with pencils, pro markers and to be honest still have not got it, but a start, pro markers on trace

Generally work needs to be done on perspectives.

Watercolour pencil + sharpie
Watercolour Pencil +.3 pen
Watercolour pencil+Bad Temper