Realistic rope in Photoshop
Photoshop Tutorial

This tutorial came out of a request from the forum. I was asked if I could make a realistic rope. But it needed to be “coiled up like a cobra” with an end sticking up. I just cannot resist a challenge and this is the result. I present… the “rope charmer”

INGREDIENTS

by Colin Smith

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1

Create a new document.

The size here is really important because it will determine the angle of the coil. In this example I used 600x600. Look at the 2 examples at the end of the tutorial, the variation was created on 800x600, notice that the angle is a little wider and less round. Personally I think I prefer the 800x600, but experiment with different sizes and see how you like the results.
Create a new layer and choose filter>sketch>halftone pattern.
Size =2 (use higher for a higher res image)
Push the contrast pretty high


2

Now rotate the pattern by pressing cmd/ctrl+T for free transform and then pulling one of the corners around.
(You may enlarge the pattern to fill more of the page if you wish.)

3

To give a more frayed look add some noise: filter>noise>add noise

 


4

Make a selection with the rectangular marquee tool.
This will be a strand of rope


5

Press Cmd/ctrl+J to copy the selection to a new layer.
Hide the layer underneath by clicking on the eye icon.
Position the rope near the center of the page


6

Lets make it coil… filter>distort>polar coordinates and choose rectangular to polar.


7

Te contrast between the black and white is too strong, lets tone it down a bit by choosing the levels control. Cmd/ctrl+L
Move the bottom slider (shown) to the right to tone down the shadows.


8


Lets add some depth.
Press the little “f” in the layers palette to open the layer styles.
Choose inner shadow. Use the setting here

Also add a drop shadow as shown.


9

Press ok and you will see a realistic loop of rope.

Duplicate the layer 4 or 5 times and stack them as shown, we now have the coil.

 


10

Now for the end of the rope:
Show the pattern layer again and make a selection and copy it to a new layer just like we did before. (cmd/ctrl+J)


11

Rotate the rope 90 deg.

 

 

12

To make it “wiggle” filter>distort>shear
Click to add points and drag as shown.
Press ok


13

Let’s blend it in.
Add a layer mask by clicking the new layer mask icon in the layers palette.


14

Choose a large soft black brush and paint the very end of the rope and notice it will fade smoothly into the coil.


15

To the left is our final rope with a little hue/saturation added to give it a hint of color.

Here is a variation with a wider canvas width and a different hue/saturation value applied. I also nudged a couple of the “coils” so they were not so perfect. This results in a more natural finish.

 

So there you have it “yehaw” round ‘em up cowboy!
Have fun with the rope and see you at the café