Can I generate something similar using only Photoshop? Or should I be sourcing a wood texture and process that?
Is there any standard advice on the processing of wood textures?
Graphic Design Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for Graphic Design professionals, students, and enthusiasts. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
If you Google it, you will find dozens of tutorials:
But my stock answer is to go take a picture of some wood grain that you like.
You can do quite convincing wood textures in Photoshop if you're willing to put in the time and you have a couple of decent images of the actual wood to work from. It's an art, though, and unless you feel confident with the tools you're not likely to get a convincing result in a short time. Most of the tutorials out there produce okay-but-not-convincing results, unlike your iBookshelf example. They're fine when you just want to suggest a wooden texture, but not if you want to make it look thoroughly real.
It's an odd truth that even though most people couldn't tell you what tree a particular piece of finished wood came from, they can easily tell the difference between an artificial texture that mimics an actual type of wood and one that is merely "wood-like" and doesn't have a real world counterpart. That's why, if you want to really sell the illusion you have to start with the real thing.
In most cases, the shortest path to success is to take some photographs and either adjust and crop (and/or clone) in Photoshop or work directly from them using the Eyedropper and Gradient Mesh tool in Illustrator.
I found this nice tutorial, and this guy also has the source PSD files. This might help. http://naldzgraphics.net/tutorials/how-to-create-an-ibook