Make Mockups Quickly With Smart Objects: Mockup Academy Class 3 | Kris Ruff | Skillshare

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Make Mockups Quickly With Smart Objects: Mockup Academy Class 3

teacher avatar Kris Ruff, Surface Pattern Designer & Mockup Maker

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (29m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Making Mockups - The Basic Concept

    • 3. Quick Explanation of Smart Objects

    • 4. Creating Smart Objects

    • 5. Smart Object + Warp Tool

    • 6. Some Final Details

    • 7. Your Project and Upcoming Classes

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About This Class

What is a Smart Object? It's a special kind of Photoshop layer that allows you to manipulate art non-destructively. More importantly, it allows you to make multi-use mockups incredibly quickly! Once you set it your mockup, you can just drop in new art any time and it will automatically be transformed into a perfect mockup. And even if you use purchased mockup templates instead of making your own, you'll need to know about smart objects since they're embedded in most template files. 

About the Class: This class makes it easy to understand smart objects and goes over all the details for setting them up. It's Class 3 of Mockup Academy, and while I recommend starting with Class 1, it's not totally necessary.* I'm including a basic concept lesson for setting up your files, so you shouldn't have any problem following along. (Note: If you've watched other Mockup Academy classes you can skip this lesson.) Mockup Academy is designed for surface pattern designers, graphic designers and entrepreneurs who already have a working knowledge of Photoshop who want to learn specific skills for making realistic product mockups.

My Background: I've been a surface pattern designer for 6+ years and have licensed art to dozens of companies. I created this course because it took me years to learn how to make mockups and I would have loved to find a course like this when I started out! I'll be sharing all my secrets -- from how to set up your layers for maximum efficiency, how to use layer masks and smart objects, tricks for outlining objects, and how to use the transform tools.  

Thanks for watching! I hope you have fun learning how to make mockups and I wish you great success with your art business!

If you have any questions, please post them in the community section and I'll do my best to answer them.

There are more classes coming, so click the Follow button in my profile for new class announcements.

Want to learn even more about making mockups? Download my FREE 13-page guide "6 Simple Tips for Making Better Mockups."


*But you really should take the first two classes — they have lots of great tips!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Kris Ruff

Surface Pattern Designer & Mockup Maker


I live for color and pattern! Beautiful colors lift my spirits and I’ve never met a polka dot I didn’t like. I fell in love with Scandinavian design in the mid-70s when my dad hung a Marimekko wallhanging in this office, and that influence shows up in the simple shapes and saturated colors I use in my designs. I add lively linework and a bit of whimsy to create playfully energetic prints and patterns. 

My design career began with a Fine Arts degree from University of Wisconsin. I returned to my native Minneapolis to work as an advertising art director but after several years I was drawn into surface design when a friend told me about Spoonflower, back when they were first starting out. I loved the process of making repeat patterns and learned every... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi. Welcome to mock up Academy. I'm Chris Rough, and this is class number three all about using smart objects. Smart Object is a special kind of photoshopped layer that allows you to manipulate your art non destructively. And more importantly, when you're making mock ups means you can manipulate your art once and then make multiple mock ups by just dropping in new art. So it's a huge time saver in this class. I'll give you a better understanding of smart objects, how to set them up and how to use them to your best advantage. The first lesson in the class is my basic concept lesson, and that's the same lesson that I put in all my classes. So if you've taken a mock up academy class before, you can just skipped that lesson. But if you haven't, I do recommend you watch that lesson even if you've made backups before, because I'm gonna be explaining how I set up the layers. So if you watch that, then we'll all be on the same page as we move forward into the other lessons. After the basic concept lesson, I'm gonna give you a 92nd explanation of smart objects. And then I'll demonstrate on this notebook how to set one up. Next, I'll demonstrate on this paper cup. We're gonna be using the warp tool, which can sometimes cause a lot of distortion on the art. So I'm gonna show you a trick I use to keep distortion to a minimum. So let me share a little bit about my background. I'm a service pattern designer, and I've been doing that for more than five years. I love what I do, and I've worked with probably a couple dozen manufacturers creating products for home decor and stationery and pet products and gifts and lots more to. I created this course because it took me a long time to learn how to make mock ups. And I would have loved to have found a class like this when I first started out something that's geared specifically towards putting art and patterns onto a variety of different products. Couple technical details about the class. Everything I show will be in photo shop, and I work on a Mac. And so the short cuts that I give will be based on that. I'm using Adobe CC 2018 and I'm assuming that you have a basic working knowledge of Photoshopped. That way I can keep the classes moving along quickly, so I think that's it. And now let's go ahead and get started. 2. Making Mockups - The Basic Concept: in this first lesson, I want to go through the basic concept of how you make a mock up. First, I want to do it with some diagrams, and then we'll jump right into photo shop. So to start, all you need is your photo and your layers palette. Now, when you open the layers palette, you'll see there's already one layer in there, and that's your bag. Photo will start by setting this layer on multiply, and the reason for that is we're gonna be adding layers underneath the bag photo. And so if we said it to multiply, then we'll be able to see the layers that are underneath it. Next, we'll create a folder, and that's where we're gonna put all her art and that will go right underneath the bag photo. Next, we select the area on our bag where we want the art to go, and we're gonna turn that into a layer mask. Now, if you're not familiar with a layer mask, I like to think of it as a window. So that selection we made on the bag is now this white square on the layer mask, and that's the window where the art is going to show through the rest of it. The black area is all blocked out now when we add art into the folder, it will only show through that window. Now you'll notice that I put the layer mask on the folder and not on the layer that has the art. The reason for that is now when we add additional layers of art, it's already massed and ready to go. In addition, if the layer mask is on the folder, then we're free to add additional layer masks onto the art layers. And we'll do that in some of the later lessons. Okay, so that's the very, very basics. Now let's go to photo shop and do the same thing. So here's our gift bag photo again, and over here we have our layers palette. Now your photo might have a padlock on it like this one, so just go ahead and click on that to get rid of it. Now we'll take that layer and change it from normal to multiply, and now we're ready to make the art folder, and to do that, just click down here and change the name and then drag it down below the bag photo. Now we're ready to make the selection on the bag where we want the art to go. And to do that, I'll go use the quick selection tool and make sure that the photo layer is selected and then go up here and select subject. Now that did a pretty good job, but it did give us the handles and we don't want that is part of our selection. So we'll go to the Polygon Tool and used the option key to get a minus on our icon. And then we'll just subtract that from the selection and missed a little bit along this side. So let's zoom in and using the shift key. We can add that area here and down here, and I also see that we missed a little corner down here. So let's add that in using the shift key, and then we want to take out the shadow at the bottom. So for that will use the option key and just go along that edge and subtract. So now we have our selection, and we just need to turn that into a layer mask and we want the layer mask could be on the artwork folder, so make sure you choose the artwork folder layer and now use this icon which says, add layer mask. And there it is. We have our layer mask. Now, everything that we put in this folder will only show through that white area. So let's go get some art. I'm gonna go to Illustrator, which is where my art is, and I'm gonna copy here, and you can also copy from Photoshopped. Or you can drag your art into the photo shop player. However, you usually get art into photo shop will work just fine in this situation. So go back to photo shop and paste as a smart object. And now just click and drag that art layer into the art folder. And there it is. It's all masked and ready to go. Now. Everything that we put in this folder will be massed in exactly the same way. So that's the very basics for how to make a mock up. And now you're ready to learn about smart objects 3. Quick Explanation of Smart Objects: So here's my 92nd explanation of a smart object and how to set it up. We'll set it up just like we did in the basic lesson with their layers. Palette will have our mug photo will create on art folder and make a layer mask on it. And then we'll create a rectangle around the area where we want the art to go. But this time we're gonna fill it with a color. Just any random color will be fine and before we do anything else than will convert it into a smart object. When we do that, Photoshopped automatically creates a second file that's linked to this one, and it takes a copy of that yellow rectangle and puts it inside for safekeeping. Now we won't actually see that happen. It just goes on in the background. Now we can take that yellow rectangle and warp it so that the art looks like it's wrapping around the mug, and we do that you see in thumbnail. It also looks warped, but if we go into that length smart object file, the artwork hasn't been changed at all. It's still safely tucked away, so now all we need to do is copy and paste our art, either from photo shopper from Illustrator and paste it into that smart object file. When we do that, the art isn't changed it all. But when we go back to the mock up image, you'll see that that art has been transformed just like we did to that yellow rectangle. So every time we want to make a new mock up, all we do is drop in the art and it automatically gets transformed in the same way we did that original yellow rectangle. So that's the basic concept. Now let's go give it a try in photo shop. 4. Creating Smart Objects: in this lesson, I'm going to show you how to make a smart object in photo shop. We're gonna use this notebook, and the first thing you'll notice is it's a lime green notebook. That a white notebook. We're gonna take out that color, but we're also going to use it to our advantage. Notebooks air kind of hard to outline because of the spiral binding. So we're gonna use the green to help us make that selection. I'll show you what I mean. But first, let's set up our layers. We have our photo, and if yours has a lock on it, just click it. And one thing that I didn't bring up in the previous lesson is that I always make a duplicate of this original photo That way, if we need to make any changes to this photo like we're going to in this instance, then I have a back up copy that's unaltered. So just dragged the layer down here and make a new version, and then we're going to just lock that and hide it. Now we have a new layer and let's just call this notebook photo and we'll set it to multiply and then we'll make our art folder. So just click on the folder icon, rename it and drag it down below the photo, and now we're ready to make our layer mask. So, as I said, we're gonna use the green to our advantage. So click on your notebook and then just go up to select color range. We get this dialog box and at the top, make sure it says select sampled colors and then just go over to the image and click. Now you'll see there's some tiny little dots in our preview and that represents all of the pixels that we just selected. So if we go back over and hold down the shift key, we can add to that selection. So just sort of click randomly around the notebook and you'll see our preview start to grow . So once you've got most of it, you can go over to the fuzziness and bring up the number. We don't want to go all the way because some weird things can happen. We'll start getting some of the background stuff, so just leave it, you know, kind of in this range. Now it looks like we've got all the green in this preview, but to check it, you can go down here to selection, preview and shoes black Matt. Now, when I look over here, I can see that this area here isn't completely in our selection. So I'm just gonna use the shift key again and click down there and you can see that it starts turning brighter green and click. OK, so now you can see that our selection is around the green areas, including all of those little tiny areas in and around the spiral binding. So that's what we use for our layer mask. So click on your artwork folder and shoes layer mask. Now we'll take out the green color on the notebook. Now, since we only want to change the green color and not anything else about, the image will go back and load our selection by holding down the command key and clicking on our layer mask. So now we've reloaded our selection. Now choose the notebook photo and we'll take the green out by going up to image adjustments , hue saturation, take out all of the saturation and then we'll lighten it up a little bit here. But most of our lightning we want to do in levels, so click OK here and go until levels, which is image adjustments. Levels now move the white point down until the images almost white. And we don't want to go too far because that really blows out the image and makes it really flat. So bring it back in. So it's still a little bit gray and you could see it's more white. It's almost white up here, but then there's a little bit of gray down here, and that's gonna help it look more three dimensional in our mock up. So click OK, now, if I turn off those marching ants using command age, you can see down here that that green was so bright it actually kind of made our drop shadow glow green, and that's not going to really look good. So I'm gonna turn those marching ants back on, and we're gonna eliminate that green cast in the background. To do that will select the opposite area by going to select in verse. So now we've selected everything that isn't the green cover, and I'm gonna turn off the marching ants again so we can see it better and now I'm gonna go back into hue saturation, and I want to change is a little less possible here because we want to keep it. Can see there's a subtle like yellow in the paper down here. We don't blow all that out. So just go into master and choose greens and take out the saturation there. And now we don't have that green cast down here anymore, So that's all we want to do here. Click OK and de select. So now we're ready to make our smart object. So just like in the previous lesson, will make a rectangle that corresponds to the area you want. Our art will fill it with a color and convert it into a smart object, and we want to put that in its own layer. So click down here and create additional layer Will call the smart object and make a rectangle on your screen, and it doesn't really matter what size it is, but make it about the same proportion as a notebook would be. So we'll fill it with the color, and you can choose your color over here. I'm tired of lime green, so let's pick blue click. OK, and then make sure you have your smart object layer selected. And then just right click in that rectangle and shoes fill the blue. Is there foreground color. So choose that and be select. Now go up to that smart object layer, right click and choose Convert to smart object. Now our layer has the smart object icon on it. So we know that in the background photo shop has created a separate file and put a copy of our blue rectangle inside of it. And we contest that by going in and looking at that file, and we get there by just double clicking on the thumbnail. You can see it's popped up over here, so it's a separate file, and it has that blue rectangle in it. So we're gonna just close that for now. But it's still linked, and it's just in the background, and that will take that layer and put it in the art folder, because this is where our is gonna go. And it looks a little strange now, but remember, it is still that rectangle. It's just masked by this layer mask, so now we're ready to distort it. So go to transform distort, and now we'll just move these corners to correspond with the corners of the notebook. We want to make sure that the lines of our rectangle are parallel to the lines of the notebook. And we want to make sure that our rectangle is big enough to include this back cover area and the back cover that we can see along the side. So bring that out and make sure that our all our lines are running parallel to the notebook and then click OK and return. And now we can see that our thumbnail has changed to show us the new shape of that rectangle. But if we double click in the smart object file, the rectangle remains unchanged. So now we're gonna copy and paste our art into this smart object file. So here I am an illustrator, and I'm gonna copy my art and you could copy art from photo shop. Or you can drag it into the smart object file. However you usually get art into. Photoshopped will work just fine here and then go back to photo shop and paste Command V and we still want to paste it as a smart object and I'm going to enlarge it. Click OK, and I don't want that blue background anymore, so we'll just turn off that original blue rectangle now. Nothing has changed on our mock up file yet, and that's because we need to save first. So click save. So now our art pops up on that mock up, distorted in the same way that we did that blue rectangle. And now I really want the cats to be bigger on this notebook so I can just double click on here again. That reopens this file, and I could make it bigger here and again in order for those changes to happen. Back on our mock up file, we need to click Save. So now, any time we want to make a new notebook mock up, all we have to do is double click here, copy our new art and paste it into the smart object file. And then when we save or close this file, it will automatically be transformed into our mock up. So that's the basics for how to use smart objects. It's really pretty simple concept. Now, in the next listen, I'm gonna show you a little bit more complicated version, and there could be some little nuances to using smart objects that could make them a little bit tricky. So I'm going to give you some tools and tricks to make sure that you don't get tripped up by some of the problems that can happen. 5. Smart Object + Warp Tool: in this lesson we're gonna mock up this paper cup will create a smart object in much the same way as we did in the previous lesson. But this time we're gonna be warping. So I'm gonna show you a trick that I use. We're gonna drop in some art at the very beginning before we warp it to make things go much quicker and easier. So let's get started. I've got the layers already set up with the duplicate photo, the cup photo set to multiply the art folder. And I've already made the layer mask. So we're ready to make the smart object and will do that on a separate layer and we'll name it Smart object. And with that layer chosen will make a rectangle, and we'll make it right in the area where we want the art with just a tiny bit of margin on the sides and the bottom. Now we'll right click on that and fill it and d select it. And now, before we do anything else, turn it into a smart object and I really want emphasized to make it a smart object. Before you start any warping or anything else at some point, you're gonna go ahead and do all the warping and realize that you forgot to make it a smart object. And so you have to do all those transformations over again, which is really a bummer. I've done that more than once. Okay, so we'll right click converted to smart object and drag it down into the art folder. So last time with the notebook we took our blue rectangle. We made it into a smart object. And then we distorted it. And then we copied and pasted art. This time we're gonna do that. Just the opposite. Now that we have this smart object, we're gonna open up the smart object file and paste art into it before we do any warping. Because the art is going to be a grid that's gonna make the warping go a lot more smoothly . So let's go ahead and go into a smart object file. And then I'm going to go to Illustrator and copy this art and paste it into this smart object file. I'm gonna make it a lot bigger on what? Maybe you'll see. 1234 about four between four and five squares across and don't move it all cause we want this stripe to go right down the center of the art. So now just click save, and that art pops up on our mock up, so go back to the market file. So now we're ready to do our warping, so go over to edit. Transform, warp. Now, I'm gonna use this very similar process to what I did in class two on the bowls. So I'm just going to quickly go through this. The general idea is to is to move the outside edges first before we start making curves on the inside, so I'll show you how to do it. But I'm going to fast forward through it so you don't have to watch all the details. And if you want more details, you can look at markup Academy class, too. We're gonna use guides, so make sure your rulers are on by going to view and make sure rulers air on and we're gonna set up a grid first. And rather than put a guide here, we're gonna put it right down. So it's just outside the edge of the cup. Now you can just watch how I line up points using this grid. Now we're ready to make the curves and will use our center line to help make things symmetrical. So So pull down on this intersection right here and go straight down and do the same with the others. Okay, Once you get everything lined up, you can click return. And now we're ready to put the rial art onto this cup. So double click to go into the smart Object folder and we'll turn these off and I'm gonna go into illustrator and copy this art. So go back to photo shop and paste into the smart object file. Click OK, and then make sure to save this so that it will pop up on our mock up. So there's the finished cup and this one's pretty easy, cause everything's really organic shaped. But let's go to try something a little bit more geometric to make sure we've got everything lined up. So go back into your smart object file and from illustrator, I'm gonna choose this art. So copy here, Go back to photo shop commune V for paste, and I'm gonna make that big, and then we'll turn off this other layer click save and let's see how he did. This looks pretty good. Although this this green square really should be more of a rectangle. So I think we should adjust that a little bit. And the nice thing about smart objects is we can go right back into that warp and adjust it . So just go back to edit, transform, warp. And now you see, our guidelines and everything are still exactly the way we left them, so we can just adjust them a little bit. So just just the warp as needed. Until you have the final result that grid art I'm gonna put into the class. Resource is so feel free to download it and use it on your mock ups, too. In the next lesson, I'm just gonna show you a couple other little tips for using smart objects. 6. Some Final Details: in this lesson. I just want to go over to little details that are useful when you're working with smart objects. So when you're working with a smart object, there may be a situation where you need toe rast. Arise your smart object layer. And if I do that by right clicking and rest arising image, you'll see that those smart object icon has gone away. But so has that connection to that outside file. So you would no longer be able to drop in new art and create new mock ups because you've lost that smart object. So a good way to ensure that you won't have to do all that warping all over again is to just make a duplicate copy off the smart object. Once it's finished said To do that, just drag your smart object layer down to the add layer icon, and then you can drag it up here, which is where we also keep our duplicate photo, and we're just gonna put it there for safekeeping. So just lock it and hide it. And now, if you need to rest, arise this layer or if you accidentally do it, you'll have a backup copy of your smart object, and you can just drag it back down into the art folder and use that for the next markups that you need to make. So here's another scenario that might happen. Let's say you want to make a couple different variations to show your client, and you want to show them one that looks like this and another one where the artist scaled down much smaller. So it seems like you should be able to make a copy of this and then go into it and make that change to the art and save it. And now you have your second version. But if you go back into the market file, you'll see that both versions were changed. So way to get around that I'm gonna delete this one is instead of making your duplicate by dragging it onto here instead, right click on it and choose new smart object via copy. So now if I go into this smart object file, I can change the art. Save it. The change is made on the mock up, but it has Onley changed that one file. So essentially what we've done is we've split apart these two objects. So this one is now linked to a separate file compared to this one. So that's a nice thing to know about us. Well, so next step will talk about your project and also about some future classes. 7. Your Project and Upcoming Classes: So your project now is to create a mock up of your own and to try out how easy it is when you're using smart objects to make multiple versions of your mock up so you can use your own photo or you can use one of the ones from the class. I'll put a link to those in the project description. They're available at shutter stock dot com. And if you'd like to use the grid art that I showed in the Paper cup lesson that will be available in the class. Resource is so let's review the steps you'll set up your layers. You make a layer mask on the art folder, and then you'll create an area, a rectangle around the area that you want the art and convert that into a smart object. Then you'll distort or warp that smart object as needed, and then you go into the smart object file and drop in your art. Once you're finished with your mock up, I encourage you to post it to the project section of the class and post a couple versions because you're gonna be able to make them so quickly and be fun to see more of your art. And also, if you could review the class, that really helps me out a lot and helped students know what the classes are gonna be like . And it helps me plan for future classes. And speaking of future classes, the next class will be about working with transparent items and shiny surfaces. So I'll be demonstrating on a glass tumbler and ah, metallic water bottle and on some ceramic table. Whereas, well, I've got some super simple tricks that really makes you artpop and look realistic on those kinds of items. And then, after that, will be a class about working with lifestyle images. Now, So far, all of my lessons have been just on an isolated product on a white background. But if you're working with a photo that's like set outside or in the interior of a room, you really want your mock up to reflect the color and intensity of the light in the environment. And I've got some great ways to do that, so I hope you'll join me. For those and in the meantime, have fun making mock ups