Mock-up Your Designs to Impress Clients

Lesson 2/6 - Flat Mock-up from Scratch


Mock-up Your Designs to Impress Clients


Lesson Info

Flat Mock-up from Scratch

- So in this first example, this first project is the something from nothing. Sometimes, you don't have resources. Sometimes, maybe you don't want them, maybe you want to keep it really simple, you don't want any distraction. So that's what we're going to start with. I'm going to start by creating a new blank document. So I'll come up to File and choose New. And you can make whatever size that you're going to need here. I'm going to go with just a five by seven. Oh, let's just do this. Yeah, 2,100 by 1,500 pixels. All right. So we'll go ahead and click Create. So, maybe your mockup is going to be for Instagram only, or for whatever purpose, it helps to know the size that you want to start with before you start. Now we got to go get the artwork that we're going to be mocking up. So, I happen to have that here in Bridge. These are some greeting cards that I designed previously for another project and we're going to make them look good here. So, I'm going to select this whole graphic by p...

ressing CMD or CTRL + A to get marching ants, and CMD or CTRL + C to copy it. And then I'm going to come over here and paste it in, and it's going to be way too large, because it was designed for print. So, I'll press CMD or CTRL + T so I can scale it down, and actually, before I do that.. I have a bad habit of forgetting. I'm going to convert to a Smart Object and that is just so that once I make this mockup and I love it, and then later when I decide, "Oh, I wish I'd made it a different size." I'll have the Smart Object information so I can resize it without worrying about pixels. So, once I paste this in before I do anything else I'm going to come over here to my Layers panel and right-click or CTRL + click and choose Convert to Smart Object. That's going to save all the data so that even if I resize it down, it's not throwing away the original data. So, basically, the image will appear small here, but Photoshop is still remembering the original file that it started with. Okay, and now we'll get the inside card, and we can close those, and we'll paste, and I'm going to do the same thing. Convert it to a Smart Object, and we know that it's a Smart Object, because it has this funny little icon, and we'll see more about what Smart Objects do and why they're so cool later. All right. So, about like that, and I think we'll make room for our envelope and stuff that we're going to add later. So, I'll make those even smaller. Okay, we'll zoom in so we can see. So, we have this nice sort of layout happening, but it doesn't really have a lot of realism yet. So, first thing I'll do is just add a simple drop shadow. So, I'll select the layer and come down to the bottom of the Layers panel and click the FX icon and choose Drop Shadow. And here I can tell Photoshop what angle I want the light to be at. I usually do something in this range. You can drag around and just move the sun or the light source wherever you want it, and we can adjust the distance. The higher the number here, the more it's going to look like this is floating in space, as opposed to setting on the table or the desk, and the larger I increase the size, the softer the shadow will appear, and I can adjust the opacity of the shadow here. I don't want... I call them big hairy drop shadows, when people have like big huge drop shadows. So, we don't want a big hairy drop shadow in this case. So, I'm going to keep it really simple, I'll click OK and then I'm going to copy this layer style and put it here. You could right-click and Copy or Paste, or if you hold down Alt or Option, I can drag the Drop Shadow effect that's now been applied, and I'm just going to hold down Alt or Option and drag that up here and drop it, and that copies it and applies it all in one step. So, now both of those layers are going to have the same drop shadow treatment, and I suppose we could leave this like this on a nice fresh white background, but I think it's fun to add a little bit of dimension to this with a gradient. So, what I'm going to do is target the background layer. And then, instead of grabbing the Gradient tool and drawing a gradient, which works just fine, you can do that, but it's so much easier and more flexible to do it this way. I'm going to come down to the Adjustment layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and you'll notice that there is an option for a gradient adjustment layer. So this takes the gradient and instead of applying it directly on the background, and then any time I want to edit it I have to redraw it, in this case, the gradient is sort of free floating above the background layer, so I can edit it endlessly, really easily, any time I want. But this is not what I had in mind, so let's tweak this. From the gradient drop-down here, If I click this little arrow, we see some presets. None of them are what I'm looking for, so I'm going to click this little gear icon, and you may not know it, but you have a ton of preset already existing gradients, and in this case the one that I'm going to go for is called Simple. So I'll click Simple and it's going to ask me if I want to replace these or append, and I'm just going to click OK to replace. I can always get them back, I can get the defaults any time by just choosing Reset. So, I encourage you guys, next time you get your hands on your computer, play around with gradients, because it's pretty amazing with what you can do with gradients. But I'm going to go ahead and choose maybe this one? That's a good start. So, I'm going to choose this purple gradient, and if I double-click it, I can choose it and also close this Gradient Editor. And I'm going to choose, instead of Linear, which makes the gradient go from dark at the top to light at the bottom, instead I want it to radiate from the center. So, if you think about like an advertising product shot, they often have a bright center. Like, I think about either a can of Pepsi or a box of Tide laundry or something. If you are sort of having this very nostalgic ad in your mind, there would be like a bright center behind it, and then the color would radiate out from there. So that's kind of the look that I want to create here. So, instead of a linear gradient, I'm going to choose a radial gradient, so we see that now it's a lighter color in the center, but I don't want it to be white in the center. So I'm going to edit the actual gradient by coming up and clicking on the actual gradient bar right here, and I get this box. This is the Gradient Editor, and this allows me to change any of the colors. I can add colors to make gradients. I can change the colors that are already here, which is what I'm going to do. So instead of white here, I'm just going to click to pull up my color picker box, and I don't want it to be black either. What I'm really going to do is click to sample the other purple that's already there, and then, when I know what purple that is, I'll just choose a lighter purple by clicking up here in my color picker box. So, I'll get something...I don't want it to be too light. I want it to be subtle. I don't want it to be like, "Whoa, there's a gradient." Just subtle, and I'll click OK, and that looks good, so I'll click OK again. And now, this is where the adjustment layer is handy, because now I can just scale this, and instead, if I was drawing the gradient, I don't know if you guys have ever used the Gradient tool before, but... Oh, I just clicked Cancel. Are you serious? Whoops. Didn't mean to do that. Come back. Let's redo that really quickly. If you've ever used the Gradient tool before, you have to click and drag with it, and It's like I end up doing a lot of trial and error with it, because I can never seem to get it quite... Like, the longer you drag, the more gradual the gradient is. And so, you have to do it over and over until you get what you want. And what's nice about the adjustment layer is I can come in here and just use the scale and if I drag it higher you see it takes the center brightness, and basically enlarges it, so I can really control how I want this to go. So, maybe something like that, and if I change my mind later, if I want to save this mockup so that I can re-use it... Maybe I design greeting cards for a living. So, I want to be able to drag-and-drop other designs in here, I can really easily change this color by just coming in here and editing the gradient any time. So, when I save this as a PSD, it will be very easy to tweak later. So, that's what I call something from nothing. It's a very simple mockup, if you don't have any other props or anything else. But of course we can take this to the next level by illustrating from scratch an envelope, and it's simpler than you might think, but it does mean using the Pen tool. So, what I'm going to do is set my colors over here to white on top, and I'm going to grab the Pen tool, which is right here, and the Pen tool allows us to draw shapes, vector shapes made with paths, right? And we can use the Pen tool in a couple of different ways. We can draw just a path, or we can draw a shape. So, the shape is going to be an enclosed path that has a color fill, or a stroke or something. Or not, but in this case we want it to have a fill. So, I'm going to use that with just a white fill and no stroke, and everything I think looks good, every other setting. So I'm just going to draw the rectangle for the... And I guess, actually, we could do this with... Let's make it easy, why am I using the Pen tool? We can use the Rectangle tool for this. Silly. Okay, so what I need is the envelope to be bigger than the card. So, I'm just going to come up here, and let's turn off that option. You can have it come from the center if you want, by coming up here and clicking this gear, and I turned that on once recently and now it's like all the time on, but I don't want it, so I'll turn it off, and I'm going to make the card be about that big, or the envelope. Something like this, and I'm going to hide these for a minute. Now, what we want to do is add some dimension to this envelope, and there's a couple of different ways we can do that and then we'll add the flap too. We're going to add some layer effects, so I'm going to come down here, and I just played with this. I mean, I just made this up the other day when I was like, "I want to show people how to have an envelope if you don't have an envelope." So I was just goofing around and I haven't totally perfected it, but I think it works pretty well. We're going to add an inner shadow. So, from the little FX icon, we can select Inner Shadow, and I think I just went with like a light gray color and the opacity was really low, like 15 percent or so, and I had the size here set really quite high, and the blend mode was Multiply. Let's see. That is probably going to be too mild. Let's tweak it a little bit. There. So, I'll up that. So, it's really subtle. I'm not sure if you can even really see that on the monitor. Let's toggle it on and off. So, in the Layers panel, you can toggle your effects on and off by just clicking. You can see it a little bit, right? It's a little bit of a shadow there. So, we just wanted a little dimension, not a hard-edged shadow by any stretch, but I also want to add a pattern overlay to this to make it look really like paper. Like, if you look at an envelope, it has a texture to it, usually. Well, paper does. There's all kinds of different paper textures, but I want to add some kind of texture to this so it doesn't just look like a flat white Photoshop box. So, from the bottom of the Layers panel, I'm going to comes back down to the FX, and I'm going to choose pattern overlay. This happens to be a glittery pattern, but if we click this little gear icon here, like everything in Photoshop, there are more options than you ever knew you had, and one of the things that comes with Photoshop is a collection of patterns called Artist Surfaces, and if we click on that and I'm just going to say... Well, we'll append it, just to be save. But if we scroll down here now, we see all these different textures that we can use, and the one that I went with was just the water color. So, I mean, you can experiment, and there's all kinds, but I wanted something very subtle and if we zoom in here, you can see the effect that it's having and then we can adjust the opacity of the texture like maybe it's too strong, we can dial it down, and we can also adjust the scale. Maybe we want it really fine, then I would shrink this. So, I'm going to go with something... Let's zoom out and see how that looks. That's going to be pretty good I think, for now, and if we want to tweak it later, we can always do that by just coming over here and double-clicking whatever effect, the inner shadow or the pattern overlay, and then we can tweak it so we don't have to worry about being perfect. Okay, now we're going to make the flap for the envelope. So, I'm going to deselect this, and this time I'm just going to use the pen tool and we'll do a shape with a fill again, and I'm just going to come over here and click in this corner. And I can adjust this all later, so I don't have to try to be perfect. So, I'm just going to click four times. So, one, two, three, and now I click to close it, four. So, that's it. Now we have a flap, and guess what? We're going to take the same effects that we did here. I'm going to hold down Alt or Option and drag effects to the flap up there, and now I have a flap. I might want to change the effects a little bit, because on this surface, on this different shape, it's a little too much. I think this inner shadow is a little over the top. So, I'm going to dial that down and reduce the opacity a little bit. Keep it subtle. Now, anybody notice one other thing I should add to make some realism here? - [Audience] A shadow under the flap? - A shadow under the flap. That's right. You're thinking like a mockupper, whatever that means. So, that's right. We need to add a shadow under that flap. So, that's one of the reasons why I put the flap on its own layer and I'm just going to rename it while I'm here. So, I'll call it flap, because you should rename your layers, and I'm really bad about it. I usually do it after. Like, in the process of creating, I make a big old mess and my layer palette is like a disaster, and then when I'm done and I am happy with like how everything ended up, then I usually go clean it up. So, I am going to rename these things, and let's now add yet another effect to the flap. So I'll come down here to the effects panel, and this time I just want a drop shadow. And I'll move this out of the way so we can see, and we can adjust this. We can say like, is that flap like really wide open, or barely? So, probably we want like barely, just subtle. Maybe like that. I don't know, I could tweak this endlessly, but we don't have to because we could always come back later. So, there you have it. We just created an envelope. I mean, it looks pretty good for three minutes of really easy Photoshop, and I wanted to show you that also... So, I made a pencil too, because then when I made the envelope, I was like, "Let me see if I can pull off a pencil." Pencils are really fun to use for mockups, especially if you do like greeting card kind of art stuff. They're really fun. So, I wanted to show you how that worked. I'm not going to build it, because just for time but I wanted to deconstruct it for you. So, this is the virtual mockup pencil that I made. It is comprised of one, two, three, four, five different parts. First, I made the main body of the pencil, and then I made the little metal ringy top part, and then the eraser's a separate piece, and then the wooden sharpened point is a piece, and then the graphite tip is a separate piece. Basically, I just used the rectangle tool to make the body and the metal and then the rounded rectangle shaped tool to make the eraser. I used the pen tool to draw the tip and the tip-tip, and then I just applied gradients to everything. So, for example, let's turn off like the metal tip and the eraser and we'll just look at like the pencil body, so you can just see how important it is to understand shading and everything. So, here we see a number of effects that have been applied to this. We have a gradient overlay, a pattern overlay and a drop shadow. So, the drop shadow is what you think it is. It's a drop shadow. The pattern overlay is the stripes and this striped pattern, it looks jaggedy and it is so hard to see what was really happening. It's included with Photoshop and it's part of the web patterns, so that's why its flicking jaggedy, because I'm misusing it in this case. It's meant to be very, very small and I'm not using it that way, but I was okay with it. But I also have a link in the resource guide for a really cool free striped pattern that you can get for free, and then you can take that same pencil and put stripes on it like this, or you can take any pattern and apply it, but I like stripes, so I did that. But that's just a pattern that is in Photoshop. So, if I double-click it, you can see it right here. It's part of this like web stuff. So, we can change it up. We can do checkers on the pattern. I loaded these fun ones. These are the links that I linked to in the resource guide, and so here's like the stripes, and they were free for even commercial usage, so I thought that was pretty nice. So, maybe we switch it to be this fun striped pattern. So, I will hide that so you can see it. Then the blue color is just the fill of the rectangle that I drew, but what makes it look round is of course the shading, right? So, if you study art and you study drawing, you study lighting and shading. So, this is just a gradient overlay. You see if I hide the gradient overlay, it's just a blue rectangle, but the gradient overlay gives it depth and shape. So, if we double-click that, you can see it's just a simple gradient that goes from black to white and back to black. Depending how you apply that, you get different effects, and the same is true for the metal tip up here at the top. This has two gradient overlays. I forget why. One is the shading on the side of course, to make it rounded, and then this gradient is the stripes. So, this is a metal sort of gradient, and then I colored it yellow to be like yellow. Anyway, so that's a pencil. You can see that you can think outside the box too and you don't have to have stuff that you photographed or that you've acquired from somewhere. You can also make things from scratch. So, that was the lesson there. Do we have any questions on that? - This isn't necessarily a question on the lesson, but like, what layout do you use? Because if you go to Window, you can choose a bunch of different layouts with different tools and I wonder what layout you use. - Oh, for my workspace, you mean? - Yeah, yeah. That's it. - Yeah. So, that's a good question. Well, I think this is just called Essentials. So, if you go to Window and you choose Workspace, the default workspace is called Essentials. But what I do is that's kind of just where I start and then I customize my workspace based on panels that I use a lot. So one of the things that's not part of Essentials that I use all the time is the Glyphs panel. You can find the Glyphs panel from the Window menu and you guys can rearrange your panels and all of that however you want. So, I can take my Glyphs panel here and I could drag it up here if I want, or I could tuck it in over here. Oops. I could tuck it here if I wanted, and then you can just save your workspace. If you go to Window, Workspace. Am I losing it? I don't know. There was the ability. New Workspace, there it is. I was looking for Save. It's not under Save, it's under New. So, if you go to New Workspace, you can give it a name and you can tell it to remember all kind of things, like how you like your toolbar and your menu and your keyboard shortcuts. So, I call this Khara's Bomb Workspace. And then I'll find it from up here if I go to Workspace. It shows up right here. So then, if I mess up all my panels, I can get them back really easily.

Class Description

Graphic designers often make the grave mistake of creating beautiful designs, but showcasing them poorly. In this course, you will learn how to create mockups that bring your designs to life and turn them into valuable marketing tools. 

Khara Plicinic has a unique teach style and playful sense of humor that continue to endear her exponentially growing audience. In her course, she will show you how to create mockups in Photoshop that will both quickly bolster your portfolio and make your work more marketable. 

In this class, you will learn:
  • How to make your work stand out by putting your designs on anything from apparel to packaging 
  • Tips for photo correcting images taken with your phone 
  • How to use existing mockup files in Photoshop 
No previous Photoshop experience required. 

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2017.0.1


a Creativelive Student

This was a great class for beginners or current designers who want to expand their current skill set. Khara has a great way of breaking things down and is inspiring to watch! Highly recommend!

Hannah Pearce

Great little course for beginners and designers, like myself, who are fairly new to mocking-up designs in situ. Khara explained things clearly and concisely. Enjoyed this course very much - Thank you!

Jim Shaw

This instructor is very engaging and fun as well as very talented. She also is very real in her explanations because she actually does the work not just explains how to do the work. She's someone who everyone would love to just sit with and have a coffee.