Question for Yo and others on Photoshop rendering....

Nice Photoshop demo Yo. My question is: how do you get the line drawing layer to show the color behind it? Are you using a layer transparency and if so what are the settings? I couldnt see the menu in your demo because the jpegs are distorted a little. In the past I have used the multiply layer transparency but I am just curious if there is a better way. Slightly alters the colors, you know. Thanks- :sunglasses:

I used to do all kinds of complicated things to remove the white from the line drawing.

Now I copy the line drawing layer and take the brightness down so that all of the white is a medium to light grey. I trim the background out so that the product is left in grey with the linework in black.

I then use dodge and burn to show the form.

Next I copy parts that are in color onto a new layer and using the colorize feature in the hue saturation menue I add color.

This way is pretty easy for a quick sketch. Here’s a quick example, takes about 10-20 minutes to color up depending on complexity:

The way I do cars and final renderings is a bit more painterly. I kind of homogonized Herald Belker, and Scot Robertson’s techniques (off the Gnomon DVD demo’s) together into something that works for me.

I have two tutorials posted on my website on Photoshop and Illustrator rendering. I have many more samples that what are on my website.

It really is fast and effective.

My favorite Technique, frequently used by cartoonists:

Layer 1: Scanned Drawing: set “multiply” blending mode to make the white transparent

Layer 2: Hilights: Airbrush white only, use the “lighten” blending mode

Layer 3: Shadows: Airbrush black only, use the “darken” blending mode

Layer 4+: Color: nothing but one solid color per layer…makes it easy to adjust Hue/Saturation

hello all, im new here!

Can someone point me in the right direction for this Photoshop rendering demo, after seeing what can be done I’m keen to try me hand at it.


this one?

I learned the basic technique here:

some more sources:

Just a quick one, back to the first question on the black lines, usually it works for me to use the sketch layer as a “darken” one (in the options of the layer), if the contrast is enough, the white will not show up, because it can’t darken anything.

I have no idea how I missed that, was looking up and down the threads for ages. It was pretty late last night though.

Can’t wait to give it a go, thanks again

Got inspired reading through this thread, and decided to do a few tutorials and try rendering an old project with PS. It’s a kids radio/alarm clock/casette deck, so I tried to give it a cartoony look, while still getting as much realism as my novice hands could muster. Comments or suggestions?

Great! I’m glad to hear this topic got you juiced up and inspired!

I’ve got a few rendering suggestions and a few design suggestions if you can bear reading it all, cool?


  1. the shadow- shadows are tough to get right. the drawing is done in a flat ortho front view, but the shadow recedes in space. i would suggest to either make the shadow one long fuzzy bar, or to shorten that third central leg so it looks like it recedes in space with shadow

  2. textures- it looks like the feet and the spaeker covers have the same texture. They have very different functions and would probably be very different materials. Try scanning some meshes in and using them as the speaker cover textures. Also, it you are going for a rubber look on the feet, sometimes I’ll use a monochromatic noise filter to give it that soft touch look.

  3. main housing- Great light structure! Very consistant, and you put the gloss highlights in very logical places (something I am allways too timid with to tell the truth). The shading tends to get a bit blotchy in spots. To do the soft shadows I will zoom way out and use a big brush to give it a smooth gentle gradient. The gloss stuff I’ll do on another layer so I can smoothy erase around the edges with a wacom tablet, or draw boundries with the path tool.

  4. style- for this tight of a rendering I would probably redraw the linework in illustrator so things can be layed out cleanly. If this is just ment to be a loose concept, I would render it in a looser, lighter way. It takes a bunch of these things to find a balance


I think it has an overal young and fun feel which is exactly what you are going for. There are a few things you might want to think about moving forward.

1- Do the feet need to be so tall to capture the same playfull feel?

2- The large, positive form speaker covers create a large negative central form in the center where all of the human interaction occurs. Is there a way to tie all of those small negative forms together into a stronger more positive single form? Maybe the top CD door, the FM display, and the clock display all get connected in one large bezel?

3- Products like this tend to have details that are all very similar and communicate a single message. Each control can be young, playful and kid friendly. Maybe there is a heirarchy of scale, i.e. huge bright colored volume and power as these are the most used buttons most likely.

Thanks for posting, great start. Would love to see another pass.

Thanks for the suggestions! Will be working it out some more over the weekend.

Surprisingly painless…


Only had a little time to work on it, so concentrated on the rendering & shading issues rather than design – here’s the latest:

Tried re-doing some of the shading with a larger, softer brush, shortened the back leg to take it away from straight on front view toward perspective, and re-did the shadows & buttons. Also, textures on the speaker and feet were actually different textures (canvas and sandstone, respectively), but I think the scale was too small for this to be discernible, so I enlarged it, and differentiated a little using color and a noise filter on the feet. Threw a Gaussian blur to soften the feet up as well.

So, couple of questions: I see the advantage to having shadow and hilight on different layers from the base form, but if you’re using Burn and Dodge, don’t they have to be on the same one? Is there an overlay trick I don’t know, or is it just common practice to do a seperate shadow layer and darken with the Brush tool? (Much prefer Burn to Brush – gives more realistic shading IMO).

Also, floor shadow is a combo of a distorted Drop Shadow and some black airbrush to darken under the feet – but it still feels like its “floating”. Any suggestions?

That’s it for now, would love to hear from the general populace, and will be re-working the form and layout in sketch as work schedule permits. Stay tuned.

PS – sorry for taking over this thread…would it be proper ettiquette to move this somewhere else?

I use a combo of dodge and burn, and the airbrush. Dodge and burn is great to rough in the light structure on the same layer, as you are doing. Then I do the more extreme highlights and shadow on another layer (hot white spots), I will usually brush in another color in the deep shadows, like a blue/purple, very lightly, esp on a shiny product like this.

Try using a softer, less defined shadow, and bluring some of the edges of the product to make it sit on the background.

Yo, could you tell me how you got that leather effect? Looks really good, especially in this example

Sure, first scan a real material with the texture you want. Save that file as .psd.

Render your imsge and then select the area you want the texture applied to.

In the FILTER pull down, go to TEXTURE and then TEXTURISER.

From the textures pull down (CANVAS should be the default shown) select LOAD TEXTURE, select your scan and then mess around with the settings until you get what you want. You might have to play with the light source and invert it as well as rescale it.

You could grab a sample, scan it and colorize. Or find a big enough patch on an image online and use it, for all different types of materials. No need to be a photoshop purist and attempt to recreate with filters what’s easily found. Took me a while to figure that out. Could also do some patterns in illustrator (like meshes, etc…) and import the lines. Keep up the good work, that ground shadow is much better in your second revision.

Thank you Yo, I will try that. For some reason I did’nt think it would be as simple as just scanning a texture in, anyway thanks again

anything to post?

I threw a few new things up here:

Including this random page:

for the mesh texture on the white shoe, I created a single quadrent of a pattern in illustrator, then rendered it’s depth in photoshop, went to EDIT>SAVE AS PATTERN, you can then use the pattern overlay feature in the layer editing pop up pallet (where you use bevel/emboss, drop shadow, ect), takes some playing around.

Oh, yeah, forgot to update. Here’s the latest version of the tripod CD alarm clock. Re-drew most of the faceplate components to give a clearer heirarchy to the elements, condensed the controls into a single bezel, smoothed out the highlights and shadows. Any better?