Articles by: Aaron Roberts
Go Media Approved
Here at Go Media, we’re custom template creating machines.
Disclaimer: Creating these nicely organized and layered files is far from easy for that matter, even for us after all these years. So sit with us and stay awhile. We want to make sure we do this the Go Media way.
Follow along with me as I create this custom hamster jumpsuit template, from high resolution photograph, to clean and crisp PSD file.
A white/neutral background: This will make tracing the garment much easier.
Red Garments: Red is a great middle value color, which means it shows relatively equal amounts of shadows and highlights. * If you’re not shooting a red garment make sure there is enough contrast between shadows and highlights. In the end, we’ll want to be able to change the garment’s color while keeping it’s natural look.
Sharpness of Image: Sharper images will contain more pixel information. This is crucial editing shadows and highlights.
Duplicate your background.
This is the layer that you’ll be working on. Right click on your background layer to duplicate it then double click to rename that new layer. Once you’ve done this, hide your original background layer.
This will save you time later. Clone tool out any unwanted fuzz, spots, creases, or tags.
Using the pen tool “Paths”, trace just inside the edge of the garment to ensure that you’re not including part of the background. Tracing every detail/fold in fabric will keep it from looking stiff. This is one of the most important steps, and it can take some time. Be patient.
Once you have traced a garment, it will automatically be saved in your “Paths” palette as a “Work Path” – double click to rename it to something more specific. this will allow you to add more paths to the garment later.
Right click on your path and “Make Selection” (click OK on the dialog box that opens). I’m a firm believer in keeping as much of the original photo in tact as possible. To do this I use “Layer Masks”. Ultimately it will make your file size larger, but will save headaches if you need to change something later.
Now that you have your garment selected, go back to your layers palette and click the layer mask button at the bottom of your layers palette to isolate it. If you ever need to show or hide parts of this garment you can do so in the mask layer without actually deleting any pixels. Add a solid color background to be sure you didn’t miss anything. I usually stick with a middle value gray.
Shadows & Highlights Setup
Duplicate the garment layer twice. These will act as your shadows and highlights. Rename the layers accordingly “GarmentName – Shadows” and “GarmentName – Highlights” It’s good to get in the habit of organizing your layers. At this point I’ll create a main Garment folder, in this case “Jacket” as well as “Shadow” and “Highlights” folders.
After that, move the layers into their respective folders. Select the Shadows layer and change its blending mode to Linear Burn. This will set your shadows to show a good amount of contrast and vibrancy.
Adding Hue & Curves Adjustment Layers
At the bottom of your layers palette, click on the black and white circle to add a Hue & Saturation adjustment layer. Change the Saturation to “-100”.
Add a Curves adjustment layer above that.
Currently these adjustment layers affect the entire document. We will need to make them only affect the shadow/highlight layer they’re above by creating a clipping mask. Hold shift to select both the Curves and Hue adjustment layers then right click and “Create Clipping Mask”. You’ll see two arrows appear next to the adjustment layers to indicate that they’ve been clipped into the layer below.
Next, move onto your Highlights Layer and change its blending mode to “Screen”. This will knockout the shadows of the garment and allow you to focus on the amount of highlights that are visible
Repeat steps 4-6 to create the Hue and Curves adjustments for your Highlights Layer.
One of great uses a mockup template is the ability to change the color of the garment. These next steps will ensure that shadows and highlights are consistent no matter what color you apply.
Our next step is to add a White color adjustment layer and clip it into the original garment layer. (you can also apply a color overlay blending mode to get the same result)
*Photoshop automatically adds a mask to that layer – this will come in handy should you need multi-colored sections.
Make sure your Highlights folder is hidden then move onto the Curves adjustment layer that is clipped into the Garment-Shadows layer.
On the left side of the Curves palette, click the button with the exclamation point to get a more accurate view of the histogram. This will show you the brightness values of the image.
Plot points around the three highest values in an arch as shown. From there you can adjust each point to optimize the amount of shadows will appear. Shadows will become lighter the further away from the brightness values you are. If the points are plotted too far away, you run the risk of the shadows looking pixelated and blown out.
*Every garment’s brightness values will be different, but this arch will serve as a general guide to plotting points.
Once you have the shadows to a place that looks natural, hide your Shadows folder and add a Black color adjustment above the White layer. The same rules apply to editing the curves of the highlights only they’re opposite of the shadows.
Once your shadows and highlights are set up correctly, any color you apply to your base garment layer will look natural.
*If the amount of layers you have is overwhelming and you’re confident with the shadows/highlights you have set – you can always select the Curves, Hue, and Garment layer – right click and merge those layers.
If you’re looking to customize a whole outfit just repeat all these steps for each garment and you could create your very own hamster jumpsuit.
-or clip your artwork into the base garment layer to make some wicked snowboard gear!
Hard work, huh?
Pick your pleasure
Shirt Mockup is a free tool used to realistically mockup your designs on tees. The Pro Version is available, offering you a larger variety of t-shirt templates. It’s super easy. Upload your art, receive a jpeg snapshot of your design. Try it free for 7 days!
Mockup Everything, similar to Shirt Mockup, provides designers with an easy-to-use platform for applying graphic designs to a growing variety of print products in multiple categories including technology, apparel, print, outdoor and food & beverage. Also like Shirt Mockup, both free and Pro versions are available. Mockup Everything is similarly super easy to use and designers receive jpeg snapshots of their designs. Try the Pro version free for 7 days!
Want the very best in Mockup Templates, wrapped up in neat and clean Photoshop files just like you saw Aaron create above? Look no further than the Arsenal. Our Mockup Template packs come in all varieties, from tees to hoodies, posters to tanks and more.
Expert Advice from Go Media Designer Aaron Roberts
Having just graduated from college in the past few years, I am able to put into perspective exactly what I learned, and wish I learned, before I headed out into the real world. There are plenty of articles floating around the internet talking about what to put in your portfolio and how to send out resumes, so I won’t go too much into that. What I want to talk about are the things that surprised me about working on real projects here at our small Cleveland-based creative agency, Go Media, and how I wish I had been a little more prepared.
1. Know how to communicate in multiple media.
When it came to explaining my ideas, I was used to standing up in front of my classmates and professors, going through my conclusions and why I made the decisions I did. I felt like I had a great handle on my presentation skills. The only problem; my audience was other designers.
What I needed was practice in presenting to people who are not designers. There will be times that you can’t meet in person so being able to respond to client feedback over the phone and through email is crucial. Be prepared to speak clearly no matter the format.
2. Understand that client budgets and timelines will play a major role in the process.
Since almost all of my projects were hypothetical, there weren’t any restraints other than deadlines to have sketches or rough mockups and so on. I was able to indulge in all sorts of choices even ones that weren’t very practical. The possibilities were endless. It was fun, but it led to the assumption that all projects would be like this.
The client’s needs, opinions, and overall message will always have to be taken into consideration. Sometimes you and the client may not see eye to eye on aesthetic choices or they will ask for changes. Do your best to stick to your guns, but remember, you’re working with the client.
The real challenge is to meet the client’s needs within the restraints while producing great work.
3. Be conscious about how you work.
I’ve known some people that couldn’t work in class and feel productive. It’s easy to get used to working solely on your own – without distraction. Unless you’re completely set on freelancing out of your humble abode, chances are you’ll need to work with people.
Work environments come in many shapes and sizes; open concepts, one long desk, cubicle farms, etc. Each one comes with its own set of distractions. Be prepared to be able to be productive in any scenario.
Try to visit as many studios as you can to get a sense of how the day-to-day really looks. Some may be more collaborative and strategic, while others more production oriented. Not only is this a great way to get introduced to potential employers, you can really find what kind of work environment suits you.
4. Recognize that your attitude is just as important as your work.
If you think about it, you’re around the people you work with more than most. The relationship you have with your co-workers will have profound effect on the way your days are.
Confidence is great. It especially helps when you’re standing up your ideas. But no one will want to work with someone with too much ego.
5. Do great work no matter where you are.
Early in your career, there will be times that you’ll need to make ends meet by supplementing your normal work with freelance pay that isn’t ideal.
The key is to work hard, even if you’re not at your dream job. Get familiar with the subject matter, and find what gets you interested or excited about the project. Looking at every project as an opportunity to learn something will make it that much more rewarding.
What are some things that would have helped you prepare for your career?