First shoe render

Well, I will be starting my first shoe internship in January and figured I might as well use the break to practice a bit.

Here is my first ever shoe render. Not really excited about the design, but the render was good practice, definitely took way too long. I sort of followed the first pullover tutorial, but I suck at illustrator so I used ps more than the tutorial.

Any advice/critique you could give would be great. There is next to no background thought on the design, more of a rendering exercise, but I am having a really hard time with proportions. So any comments in those or any other categories would be great.


i’m working with proportions myself. check out, moderator: YO and his website (i think that’s right?) he’s got a a short tutorial on proportions. you can also trace over photographs of similar shoes specific to your design. you’ll find that to be a help.

your rendering looks good, i like the colors, however it get’s kinda flat at the laces and that really throws my eyes off.

Don’t worry Illustrator is a bit*h, I suck at it as well. Last time I gave up on it and did everything in PS instead, I’m much more familiar with PS. Just keep at it and try to enjoy the process without worrying about the result.

You have a good feel for colors, that’s good, the rest will come with the time.

Are you going to school? What is that for an intern? Just curious.

Thanks for the quick replies.

I based the shoe straight off of Yo’s proportion guide, but I was kind of going for that casual trainer look thats between the real slim shoe and an athletic shoe proportion.

the laces gave me some grief, I think that whole area just needs more detail like the eyelets for the laces etc, but I sort of ran out of steam and decided I would post up what I had.

I think I’m going to try to do a few renders of shoes from my collection, just so I have zero design to think about and can just work on getting some good renders down.

rocsta: I go to school at the University of Cincinnati, two and a half more years. I just did the shoe for fun, but I’m doing an internship in Boston with a shoe company. Just trying to touch up my skills.

looks pretty good for a first attempt.

some suggestions-

  1. learn illustrator. it will be your friend in no time and is much easier to use to get the design/proportions right as you have more control over the paths/objects.

  2. if you dont have the black outline on all your shapes it will help to make it more 3d looking.

  3. likewise, if you give some dimension to the sitching and make it not only black it will help.

  4. textures go a long way. youve got nice texture on the mesh/PU areas, do the same for the outsole/laces.

  5. some of the shapes look a bit too sharp (ie. top of tongue). making things more naturally curved would be good.

  6. outsole could use some more dimension/shading, especially in the toe/heel and waist to make it look like it curves around the shoe.

  7. laces are a bit off. they should show more thickness in profile and lay on top of the tongue to look more realistic.

  8. shadow on the ground is a bit too low, makes the shoe look floating a bit.

  9. some of the highlights on the green panel on the side dont seem to correspond to the highlights of the underlays. consider the shoe as one form to get consistent highlights and then adjust for materials of different reflectivity.

  10. dont be afraid to go darker. the heel area looks very good, but the toecap and eyestay area are a bit flat. would help to have more shadow at the edge of the toe and eyestay to give a more 3d look.

all and all though a great first attempt. keep at it and im sure you’ll see good improvement.


R: Thanks so much for the crit, I’m always amazed on how helpful people are on this board, I know how busy your life is and taking time to really analyze the work thats posted on here is really incredible. Sometimes it seems like you and Yo are raising the next crop of shoe designers.

I’m ok at illustrator, I did do all the paths in illustrator, but I can’t get a hang of the pathfinder tools. I have a hard time getting the paths grouped so they are the shapes I need to fill, I usually end up selecting and filling the paths in ps then just blocking out the colors and using layer selections from there.

I will try to fix some of the things you posted and throw up the revised addition, getting the shading right is pretty tricky.

Thanks again for the crit.

Tightened up some stuff, I tried to fix the laces but they were a lost cause, something to work on in the next effort.

I tried to add some highlights to the stitching but it didn’t really work so well. Probably should have stayed away from white on the first effort, white always gives me grief.

I also tried to push the values on the toe and the outsole (molded bottom part right? I need to work on the terminology). Anyway hopefully will have a polished Adidas render next week. Then I think I will start trying to do some actual design work. Maybe a trail running shoe.

I also tried to tie the plastic green highlights into the rest of the upper, sort of worked, but I just realized I botched the angle on the leather.

the rendering style itself is nice… the line work needs help.

Your close! Take a break and come back with a critical eye.

I’m not sure if you had a worked out sketch before going to illi but that is a must. Right now you have a lot of awkward transition point all over the shoe. Control the forms and the silhouette more. Remember, the purpose of a rendering is to help communicate the design, make sure the lines represent the ideal state of how this looks in your mind’s eye.

Small technicalities: Laces are thin. Back tab pushes out at a funny angle. Vamp is very short and sloped upward to much.

This one of the things I hand out to students when I speak:

Thanks for the response Yo, as far as design I found an old sketch I did of a shoe for an Alias Paint class I took last year, and started tracing over it. I agree the design is pretty weak and unresolved. I just wanted to see if I could render a shoe at all. I’m going to do one more of a Reebok Ventilator that I have just for fun (lots of vinyl and color). Then I might focus more of some solid designs. Shoes are freakin’ hard.

I have been doing a little bit of sketching, but I giving myself a little breather over the holiday’s to make sure I stay excited about working. Its easier for me to get motivated to do a rendering because you get this pretty thing to show off afterwards, and there isn’t a lot of thought.

For those that are interested here is the original sketch.

and here is my illustrator linework: