Time to learn how to render and present

Hey Guys,
I started this topic so I don’t populate the sketching topic with an ongoing study. It’s my hopes that someone in the same position as I am will see this post and have many of the same questions answered that I have coming from a totally novice point of view and position.

The number one issue for me at the moment is that I am a die hard fan and user of CorelDraw. I have limited experience with CorelPaint which is similar to Adobe Photoshop. I figure that since programs vary and users have different preferences of said programs I hope that the responses will be directed towards visual execution rather than technical step by step responses as it relates to photoshop.

It’s like when my ex-father in-law taught me how to play golf. He is an excellent golfer but he was a terrible teacher of golf for me since I am left handed and he was right handed. His solution was for me to learn right handed and then translate on my own and so I did.

I will learn photoshop at a later time because the learning curve is steep but the idea and execution remains the same if I use CorelDraw which has a control and command set that I am totally comfortable with.

Step one:
I need to find a shoe design that fulfills my needs to understand different surface rendering properties. So far this is the design I have come up with. It’s in first draft pencil and only the lateral side view for now so you are viewing this project in its infancy.

As I develop the various views needed for a well rounded presentation I am sure the design of the shoe will adapt and become cleaner and more focused.

This design has a plastic heel area, smooth leather upper, meshed inserts, sueded toe area, elastic inserts and a rubber 3D bottom outsole. I think this incorporates all of the various textures I might come across on my Bball rendering journey.

I will flush out the various views prior to going to stage one of rendering.

I would like to thank you in advance for any consideration and feedback you give this study.


photoshop really isnt that difficult just start with the basics color, dodge and burn. you can work up from there.

You are probably right so I will try PS, I have it so I might as well use it :wink:
I’m going to start with this tutorial:


Hey Humancargo,try PS,and also try Illustrator.
If I tell you the truth I don’t know exactly whether you have the same control with layers when export to PS with Corel.

But I am really happy using ai-PS.
This picture was one of my first attempt with PS,artwork by hand and using Corel just for automatly vectorwork.
Just simple colour blocking,a couple effects and that’s all.I did it 3years ago.

And this one is what Im doing now,the difference is awesome.
Just play with it.


I broke down and loaded PhotoshopCS3 a while ago but I didn’t give it more than a quick look and I bought and loaded Illustrator last night after researching Scott Robertson’s rendering tutorial DVD’s
I MUST get that tutorial collection :smiling_imp:

I love your style of rendering and it’s even better knowing you came from a Corel background. I think we are few and far between. Luckily there are a boat load of tutorials out there for CS3 and all I have to do is roll me sleeves up and commit to learning and I will I am, it starts today.


three points-

design first. design first. design first.

honestly, i would recommend to design first, and work on sketching, and dont even think about rendering/computers. i give this advice for anyone just getting into design.

first develop your sketching, proportion, perspective. then develop your formal skills. then develop your technical understanding.

then worry about rendering.

if you do it backwards, it only makes everything else more difficult and slows down the learning.


Hey R,

I agree with you on the fact that the computer and rendering is nothing but a tool and for a designer that says hmmm. I have never drawn anything in my life but I want to render, he needs to get control of his pencil skills and translating 3D objects to a 2D surface.

I have been drawing my whole life and I an very confident with my pencil skills. With that being said, do I have the technique and style of an accomplished iD guru? Nope. Can I translate a thought on to paper with a pencil including shading and a sense of proportion and attachment to the real world, I would have to say yes.

More pencil time is not what I need for furthering my ability to stay interested in designing sneakers. The proportion will come as it has from when I started posting here.

I have a really good control over vector manipulation but when it comes to adding color and presenting a design with computer aided tools I suck and that has nothing to do with my ability to draw freehand.

I will post some pencil images and you can tell me how more time will aide me in learning how to render a sneaker or better display an idea I have.

I am very interested in your response and I look forward to reading it.

Man I hope that didn’t come off harsh I am really, really interested in hearing your advice as to what I should be doing instead of learning a new programs and techniques that are the industry standard prior to going to school?




I do realize that you already draw. I’ve been following the threads, and see you have good fundamental base and certainly are eager.

My comment is more to effect that as you mentioned, computers are a tool. I think you would improve much faster and be more prepared to render with more proficient sketching.

You have been improving greatly in your footwear drawings, but there is still room to go. You have lots of time to learn how to render later, and im sure school will also help with rendering techniques.

Take a look at some of the other footwear portfolios online, such as Yo’s -

Lots of footwear design is still done by hand, and it would help first to develop those skills. As mentioned, improving perspective, proportion, etc. go a long way.

For example, look at your image below-

its a pretty basic form (boxes/rectangles), but the perspective is really skewed. Not the box in the front has diverging instead of converging lines that dont follow a true perspective/vanishing point.

Your work so far is OK, but there is still room to improve. I’d also suggest further developing your aesthetic/design sense in terms of pattern, forms and shapes. Learn the conventions of different types of patterns for different types of shoes (ie. typical running toecaps, basketball collarlines, lacing options, etc.)

As an exercise, (i think someone else mentioned it as well), draw a real shoe (sitting on the table in front of you, not from a photo). Do side views, top views and a perspective view. Get control of your line thickness, and making 3d forms in 2d drawings (ie. making a side view look 3d not flat).

Then move onto to your own designs, developing iterations of one concept to refine and improve it, finally looking at detail, colors, etc.

Going straight to rendering//computers now will not help develop these things.

Please understand I’m only trying to help here, not at all putting down your skills or where you are at.



First of all Thank you for taking your time and posting your input and by no means do I take any of this personally, this is why I’m here :wink:

Based on your response and references it makes total sense and I agree.
This is the purpose of this thread. I have no problem putting myself out there as it unfolds in real time.

Prior to this I didn’t understand your point.
I’m naive and I have no experience in this industry but I am very willing to learn.

Being a fellow that owns one pair of sneakers (hey I like Hush Puppies) I think a trip to the local shoe shop is in order to get some permission to do some quick draw studies.

As you say, I have no clue as to toe shapes and etc. I’ll make it a point to spend the majority of my time drawing real shoes.

At the same time it’s important to me to start the learning programs of Photoshopcs3 and Illustratorcs3 and I might as well use shoes as my point of interest.

Thanks a bunch for your explicit and open reply, I look forward to your input as time goes on

no prob. just trying to help. best of luck! I look forward to seeing your progress.


Thanks R…

After much thought I decided to continue on with my attempt to learn how to render using:

pencil: initial idea
Sketchbook Pro 2.0: to develop the lateral view and fine tune the initial sketch
Adobe IllustratorCS3: to create the vectored lines and further fine tune the lateral view
Adobe PhotoshopCS3: to add shadows, textures, background etc. in a sense render.

With that being said I have very little experience in all said above disciplines but I am loving the process of finding my way.

Sketchbook Pro 2.0 drawing, you can see the refinement compared to the pencil drawing below.

I agree with you R’,

but I think is not bad to experiment with other tools while improving your artwork by hand.

I’ve been sketching footwear since I was 13,now Im 31,Im really comfortable with my hand and is the most helpfull tool after your brain.

In my case,is now when Im improving my computer design skills,cause I allways worked by hand for companies,exactly 4months ago.

This is an example of how sketch,is a rough presentation,I know :slight_smile:

And this is the “modus operandi” that I did before,hand artwork


Cool stuff B’

I have confirmed a 2hour nightly drawing opening with the local performance shoe shop :smiley: :smiley:

I’ll probably start out with 4 nights a week and see how it goes from there but I will have access to all types of shoes and dedicated sales people that are engaged in the sports requiring athletic foot wear, there is even an ex-Olympian working there.


Excellent job. Footwear designers don’t often make fancy photoshop renderings, they are too time consuming. It’s not like car design where you work on one car for months on end. We sketch and sketch.

HC: I would have to agree with R somewhat. For now, focus on studying how shoes are constructed (cut some apart if you can) as well as perfecting your line, form balance and proportions while exploring performance solutions for the intended use. On the other hand, it can be good to explore the relevant computer programs and be learning both simultaneously. This is how I did it. Just don’t put all of your focus on rendering. It should be secondary for sure. As long as you stay excited and passionate, you will get there!



Hey Guys,

I will definitely become a real shoe sketching fool. I plan on sketching one shoe a visit so I am now planning out the styles I want to accomplish.

  1. quick line feeling style very much like the original plinus style.
  2. color block where I will use markers or colored pencils with no line quality
  3. detailed line art lateral, medial, top, bottom, perspective
    This should cover me for the future when it comes to sharing ideas in a one on one setting or a group setting.

I think I will start tomorrow so I can finalize my plan and the product I will take with me tonight.

Meanwhile, it’s not much but I’m in Illustrator and PS, man this has a slight learning curve but I am taking a stand and not going to CorelDraw for a while.
There is definitely a difference in tool set and usage.

I decided to concentrate on items of the shoe for now then when I get the hang of things I will incorporate more of the shoe.

By the way, the medial and lateral side are asymmetrical due to the asymmetrical location of the protruding ankle bones.

Getting the hang of it.
heel color V2a.jpg