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Sand Texture Photoshop Tutorial
Tutorials Textures and Patterns 27832 Views February 20th, 2011

I was really inspired by the previous article Texture Photoshop Tutorials so I have decided to create my own sand textures. Nothing complicated, in just a few simple steps you will obtain a very nice texture made from scratch. Today I will show you one way to create sand dunes in Photoshop.

So let's start!


Step 1 Sand Texture Base

Open a new document, 500x500 px. With The Pen Tool draw a simple shape to look like a sand dune  surface. Pick the color #b0a57f. Call this layer Sand Base.

Step 2 Create the Bump Map using Gradient Tool

Make a new layer, called Bump Map. Fill this layer with white color. Pick the Gradient Tool with the settings: Black/white gradient, Radial gradient and Mode Difference.

Use the Gradient Tool several time to create random effects. There is no rule, play with different sizes and positions.

Go to Filter, Stylize, Emboss and make the following settings to obtain:

Bump Map


Change the Blending mode of this layer to Overlay 100%. Also use the Distort tool from the Edit, Transform Menu, to add depth and perspective to the map layer. Also make sure that the Bump Layer has the height smaller than the height of the Sand Base Layer.
Use also the Burn and Dodge Tool to combine the two layers  


Step 3 Sand Texture Effect

Create a new layer, call it Sand Texture. Make a selection from Sand Base Layer. Fill the selection with color #cab76a in the new layer. Go to Filter , Noise , Add Noise.

Change the Bleding Mode to Soft Light, 100% opacity.


Step 4 Light Effect

Create a new layer, call it Light Effect. Set the Foreground Color to #9a7c17 and the Background Color to #3e2709. Apply Clouds Filter found in Filters , Render Menu. Resize the layer to a dimension similar to the Sand Base layer and select / delete the exceeding area.

It is always a good idea to use Dodge Tool or Burn Tool to add more light and shadow areas. With the same technique you can add some extra dunes behind to make the landscape more real. As we all know the quality depends on the levels of detail.


Step 5 Add Clouds Texture

To Complete our landscape we need to add a beautiful blue sky. So you can use one of these Beautiful Clouds Textures , you can draw the clouds yourself using these amazing clouds tutorials or simply you can use what I have used this clouds by spiddles .

Sand Photoshop Tutorial


If you're looking for amazing textures and backgrounds for Photoshop, explore Textures4Photoshop where you can find 1000+ unique images. You can download all these textures and backgrounds for free to use in personal or commercial projects!

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7 comment(s) for "Sand Texture Photoshop Tutorial"

7:00 AM Wednesday, February 23, 2011
That????????s a fantastic tutorial! Perhaps you would be interested in this great Photoshop Training Tutorial on How to Create a Lightsaber! reply
7:00 AM Wednesday, February 23, 2011
thank you Nathan! It sounds good, we intend to add a "write tutorial" section for people that want to help and write tuts :) reply
7:00 AM Friday, February 25, 2011
I am glad you like it Deborah ... I will publish another tut on how to create sand texture and it is better than this one!!! reply
night designer
night designer
7:00 AM Sunday, March 27, 2011
Thanks so much for posting this up. reply
9:37 AM Monday, April 01, 2013
Here is a nice Photoshop manipulation made using this sand texture tutorial ( made by Geja reply
5:58 PM Thursday, October 02, 2014
Fantastic! I was just talking to a friend about doing Sand Photos and then I found this cool tutorial reply
1:30 AM Tuesday, December 23, 2014
That????????s a fantastic tuto.Thanks. reply

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