I’m putting up the old tutorial I did a few years back. There are definitely some more streamlined ways of doing some of the techniques now but this method shows tactics that can work if you’re using old versions of software, etc…consider it a more manual method. Throughout the years I definitely know I’ve added a few time-saving tricks here and there but this should be a nice in depth guide for anyone, but especially folks that are new to psd rendering.
I’ve had a couple of people ask me for an illustrator/ photoshop tutorial so here it is. For this one I’m mainly focusing on creating the “no-line” photoshop rendering for products. No special tools needed, I did this completely with an uncomfortable apple mouse.
-I would consider this type to be the next step up from a good sketch rendering to show more exact and realistic form and proportions for presentations. These can be done fairly quickly. Assuming all of the thumbnail sketch design exploration is done, on average I could do about 5 pages of these in a regular work day (as long as no managers or marketers are over my shoulder and leave me alone so I can work, lol!!) Okay, so here it goes, hopefully I’m clear enough with these so buckle up!
Start with sketch drawing to figure out what you want. Do them nicer if you want an easier illus trace session but don’t spend much time on it. I don’t do these neat at all…since I’m going to be retranslating and drawing in illustrator anyway, no need to waste time duplicating efforts. I’ll do them quickly, just enough to get the point across and let me know what I’m doing. These were about 10 seconds each, timed.
Redraw in Illustrator, .5 to 1 pt line weight. Anything smaller turns to grey in PS and makes it hard to make clean selections. If you do decent hand drawings, you can scan and trace. I personally just do 10 sec. fugly sketches then just draw from scratch in illus, no underlays. I take my time with the illus line art, it’s very important and makes the renderings go by extremely fast. I took about 20 min. to do the line art for these 3 views below total. With a little practice and a good critical eye you’ll be able to do quick illus lineart on the fly that’ll just take a little bit longer for a good sketcher to do by hand of similar quality…
-Warning: Personal rant coming, feel free to skip!
But when you then have to do 10 variations, they’ll be hunting for white out and a photocopier with an extra 1 1/2 hrs of work, you’ll be finished the variations in 10 minutes, that’s where it pays off and you’ll be faster in the long run. They serve different purposes…so do what’s most appropriate for what you’re trying to accomplish. For exploring, figuring things out, and coming up with ideas quickly, sketch it up, quick and sloppy. For doing things where proportion is important and presenting to clients, use illustrator. I don’t spend any time obsessing over getting ellipses right by hand, if the drawing has to be good enough where ellipse accuracy line quality and good perspective is important, then it’s in the next level and it’s illustrator time.
-End of rant
For this tut, we’re doing a more refined rendo, so we want to be real clean, that’s where illustrator kicks butt.
-Pay attention to tangencies and good line curvature. Use similar mentality as 3-d modelling if you know any. Control point where 2 curves are tangent.
The least control points the better, etc…
-Bring into photoshop 300dpi, transparent bckgrnd. With both programs open you can just drag from one window to the other, no need to export or open as.
Pay attention to corners, make sure they’re closed in illus, it’s a must for the magic wand tool which is a huge time-saver in photoshop.
-Be careful of sharp pointy intersections. They probably won’t exist in actual product so they shouldn’'t be in your drawing either. They’ll disapper when you rendo but better to do it purposefully with rounded edges, etc. (I know I have some sharpies here. I was just doing this for practice one day, didn’t know I was going to be using it for a tut)
-Put EVERYTHING on a seperate layer. It’ll save you lots of troubles down the line, trust me. Everybody will have changes and others may finish stuff you start and vice versa. Good layer management is extremely important for variations, corrections, and working in groups. It’s not fine art anymore people. Organize similar things into folders. Newer versions of ps lets you have folders inside of folders, that’s really nice. You can even color code some layers. It helps when you have a one file of 30 different product variations with over 100 layers!
-Make a blank white layer so you can turn it on or off whenever, helps to see different things.
Now shift select all the contrast color areas. It’s kind of hard to see the marching ants here, but you’ll get the idea.
Now expand the selection by 1 pixel so that it goes halfway through the line width.
See how the expanded selection is halfway through line thickness. This is what will allow you to hide the lines and have a clean rendo. You’ll have to experiment with the exact number depending on how thick you made your lines in illus. If you’re just doing line art, line weight variation is good, but if you’re bringing in to ps and you know that’s your end goal, don’t waste time doing stuff that won’t matter later on. Keep it all one weight if going to a rendo, then you only have to remember one expand number for your selections.
This is what happens with pointy areas, they don’t get selected completely. Hey, if the magic wand can’t select it plastic probably can’t flow there or it’ll break easily there anyway. But sometimes it’s undesired so you have to use the tool to add to the selection and fill in that corner if you want.
I made it pointy again with the lasso tool instead of having an uncontrolled gap in my rendo. Use the straight lasso tool, while holding down certain key combos, you can make it draw freehand or switch to straight on the fly. It’s very useful. You can also use it to add or subtract from a selection. I can’t stress it enough, learn your key commands people, that’s where the speed comes in. Turns a 2 hr rendo into a 20 min rendo.
After you get your (expanded) adjusted selection areas, save them as an alpha channel so you don’t have to go through that process again wasting time to select the same areas. Go to new alpha channel, then fill the selection so the white is showing. Command delete will fill the selection with the white background color. Here are the contrast color selection areas.
These are the white color areas.
Fill in colors. Command-click the alpha channel to select it. The white part has a slight color to it, it’s more realistic that way and can make selecting areas easier.
I’m not doing the open view here, decided it was unnecessary for what I’m trying to show with this page. It would be easy to rendo the open lid and interior seperately then just add it in another layer.
This contrast color green is just so you can see how the colors line up with no gaps (the top half of the product).