Creating an Ecological Fairy Tale Wallpaper

This tutorial will show how to create pebbles covering with grasses from scratch in Photoshop. You shall display your own creativity on what things should be placed on them to form your own ecological wallpaper!

Preview of Final Image

The texts and images are copyrighted to 10Steps.SG and their respective owners. You CANNOT copy the whole tutorial, either in English or translate to another language.

Create a document with size 1200×800 pixels. Fill the background with a linear top-down gradient with color from #CCCCCC to #FFFFFF.

Select the Pen tool, set it to Shape Layers mode at the top menu and draw a simple shape for the pebble that you want it to be. You can fill the shape with any color for now.

Repeat the same process for more pebbles. The placings is all up to your creativity. There is no rules on how to do this step.

Now find a Sand Texture to your personal liking, otherwise you can download the one I used here from Position the texture so that it covers the whole pebble. Right-click on the pebble layer to load its selection, then click on the Add Vector Mask button. This way, you will get the sand texture masked within the shape. Hide your pebble layer for now.

Repeat the same process for the grass texture. You can download the one I am using here, made from FrozenStocks. Select the grass layer and go to Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen to bring out more details.

Select the Brush tool open up the Brush Preset Picker panel. Look for the brush named Chalk 60 pixels. Set the Foreground Color to #000000. Now click on the black and white mask on the Grass layer and start paint around the border of the pebble shape. This is to make the border less regular like those tips of grasses. Remember the black is used for opaque areas, if you want to unhide the transparent areas, use white color.

When you are done with the border, apply a Drop Shadow layer style to the grass. Set the angle to 90 degrees. This is roughly what you will get. Let us now work on the sand texture.

Create a new layer in between the Sand and Grasses layers. Name this layer as Tones and set its Blend Mode to Soft Light. Using the Paint Brush tool (in Soft-Rounded mode) with size around 100px and color #000000, paint around the bottom area of the pebble. You will get a soft shadow there.

Repeat this process a few more times, considering the light source coming from top left.

Unhide the earlier pebble shape layer you drawn. Right-click on the layer and choose Rasterize. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the Radius to 5 pixels then the layer Opacity to 40%. Select Edit > Free Transform and scale it vertically downwards as shown in the diagram below. Hit OK once you are done.

You have the basic shadow for your pebble already but we also need to enhance the shadow where the pebble is actually touching the floor.

Zoom in so we can get a better view. Using the black paint brush with a smaller size this time, paint at the part where you want the pebble to touch the floor.

And there you have your first pebble! Make more pebbles in various shapes and sizes to fill up the document.

Now you have several empty lands to fill things with. There are many stuffs that you can do with them, it all depends on your preferences and imagination. I want to make it more fantasy-like and there is a beautiful stock gallery provided by Shoofly Stock. The high quality items inside is able to fill up your pebbles in a variety of themes.

I start off with filling in the trees and plants.

Then I made a layer below them and paint in shadows using the Soft-Rounded Paint Brush tool.

This is an overview of how it is like after filling in the greens. Remember to leave spaces for theme objects.

Lastly, I inserted a few fantasy-themed objects like the shoe house, walking tree and stone hut.

That is all and I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. Thank you. Download high-resolution wallpaper here.

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67 Comments | Write a Comment

  1. Jason K says:

    I’m only confused about one bit. On what layer does the “contact” shadow go? Because when I paint it on the tones layer, nothing happens

  2. mikel silva says:

    unbelievable,great technique,thanks alot for this

  3. domi says:

    I figured out 😀
    Great tut btw.

  4. domi says:

    I’m stuck on step 4. I cant load pebbel selection and mask it…

  5. Jenni says:

    You’re so talented! I can’t believe how easy you make this effect look. Thanks for sharing this tutorial, I’ll be tweeting it to my followers.

  6. Ashish Kumar says:


    Amazing designing work.. Cool man..

  7. Fadil Shamir Khan says:

    Hey. I have an Idea…Why not include water around all those small islands….

    Make it look like it is surrounded by water…

    What do you think?

  8. Oiram says:

    My sensei…as always…you Rocks!

  9. Pine Pollen says:

    Hiya! Quick question that’s completely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My website looks weird when browsing from my iphone4. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to correct this issue. If you have any recommendations, please share. Many thanks!

  10. Very good tutorial! thanks for sharing!

  11. Venkatnarayan B says:

    Excellent! Thanks

  12. Dinara says:

    ..not 3Dmax, but photoshop! that’s awesome – thanks a lot)))

  13. rio says:

    awesome tutorial..

  14. ilham says:

    I am very interested in this tutorial, I will try

  15. doris says:

    wow, i never thought it can do in photoshop, cool man

  16. tee are says:

    wonderfull.. i love it… thanks for the tutorial

  17. ardhan says:

    wow, i never thought it can do in photoshop, cool man

  18. manawphyulay says:

    so good. Nice post!

  19. e says:

    This is a really great tutorial and the link to the shoofly stock is greatly appreciated.

  20. zee says:

    Nice tutorial

  21. deden says:

    very nice… amazing… great tutorial… i like it…

  22. koswara says:

    thank very very much..u teacher fo me…i like design u…

  23. nastro says:

    it’s cool..great tut..

  24. Garry says:

    very nice!

  25. PSDDude says:

    Interesting idea! I am definitely into Ecology , protecting people and nature !

  26. jess says:

    Wow, nice tuts. I like the grassy part and will try that one day.

  27. Adhir Pandit says:

    Gr8 tutorial, thanks for sharing!

  28. jeprie says:

    that’s awesome. simple but great, looks like a 3d project.

  29. Johnson Koh says:

    It is great to see many old friends here. Thanks for the likes and constructive comments 😀

  30. ricardofx says:

    fucking creative @johnson ;-] congratz mate.

  31. Wow, very neat tutorial bro. I like it. Keep up the good work.

  32. ramirezh says:

    Very nice tutorial. Initially I thought it would be a “drawing/painting” tutorial, but you demonstrated how do it for those of us who aren’t gifted with a brush. Thanks, will definitely be using these techniques in the future.

  33. tony says:

    Another fantastic tutorial bro.

    One of the best part about your tutorial is how easily it is to understand and how really inspiring it is to explore other possibility. Awesome work. Keep it up! and thank you for sharing. Will be back very often. XD

    p.s., I really like the new design of your website.

  34. DanOhh says:

    Wow, very cool.

  35. A.D.K. says:

    cool and interesting tut 😀

  36. insic says:

    Very amazing result. Great job Johnson.

  37. dennisquek says:

    i see some minor perspective issues but its clever to place stuffs on stones covered with grasses. very beautiful.

  38. CraigDesignz says:

    Very good concept! Gonna be my desktop wallpaper!

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