Bring Your Patterns to Life Using Photos as Mockups | Aga Kobylinska | Skillshare

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Bring Your Patterns to Life Using Photos as Mockups

teacher avatar Aga Kobylinska, Surface pattern designer

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      General introduction


    • 3.

      Preparing your pattern file


    • 4.

      Choosing the right photograph


    • 5.

      Gather all materials in one working file


    • 6.

      Working with the layer mask


    • 7.

      If your pattern has a black background


    • 8.

      How to change the object's colour


    • 9.

      Good luck!


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About This Class

This class is aimed at surface pattern designers and other artists who create their artwork so that it can appear on products later on. I will teach you in a few easy steps my way of preparing the photoshop file so you can use your photo mockup over and over again. I will also provide a useful list of links where you can look for free photos, & tips on what to take into consideration when choosing one/taking your own.  No matter if you would like to show your designs to a client and make your portoflio more appealing or just to see how your artwork presents on products, this class is for you!

This class is for the Photoshop beginners, and will cover only very basic and easy techniques. I use Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud for Windows, but for this class it doesn't really make a difference if you have a previous version of the Photoshop or/and you work on Mac. The shortcuts introduced in the video lessons work for PC, but in the class materials you will find a pdf with their equivalents for Mac.

What you will need:

Below are a few of the tools that will be helpful in this course.

  • Adobe Photoshop (begin a free trial here)
  • Your own pattern design (or the one I provided in a class project section)
  • A photograph that you will use as mockups (here are the ones I use during the class: a baker girl, a girl in a black t-shirta girl over the sea)
  • Wacom Tablet (not mandatory, but useful)

*For the trailer video I used a free background music from

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Aga Kobylinska

Surface pattern designer


Hi! My name is Aga (this is abbreviation from my full name which is Agnieszka, but I suppose it would be hard to pronounce for most of you!). I am a surface pattern designer based in Warsaw, Poland.

My adventure with the pattern design has started a few years ago with Make It in Design courses. I loved designing patterns so much, that I have left my job in advertising to fully concentrate on this new career. Since then, I've been constantly learning new skills, painting and designing patterns for fabrics and other goods. I've beed working with fabric manufacturers and brands owners to bring new, beautiful designs into the world. Nothing feels better than seeing your work serving others everyday! 

I'm truly obsessed with learning. It may sound crazy but I graduate... See full profile

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1. Trailer: Hi! My name is Aga Kobylińska, I am Surface Pattern Designer from Warsaw, Poland. I mostly work freelance from my home studio, creating Pattern Designs for textiles. After finishing any design, I just can't wait to see how it would look like on the final product. That's why I make plenty of visualizations using pictures from the Web. In this class, I would like to share with you my technique, and I'm sure you will love it as much as I do as it's really easy and fun and quick. What's more, it gives really nice results. So it's a great way to add some life to your portfolio and impress your potential Clients. At the end of the class, you gonna have your own textile design envisioned on the piece of clothes. and the Photoshop file ready to be used for another project. Don't worry if you're a beginner in Adobe Photoshop. The tools I use are really basic, and I will guide for their process step by step. I just can't wait to see your beautiful designs on products! See you in class! 2. General introduction: Hi everyone, welcome to the class. I'm really excited to have you here, especially that this is my first teaching experience ever and I've had so much fun while preparing this class. I hope you will enjoy it and that you will use the new skills in your future projects. Just a quick introduction here. My original name is Agnieszka Kobylińska but my friends call me "Aga" and this is under this name that you will find me on the Web. I'm a freelancer and I create Surface Pattern Designs, that later on can be printed on fabrics, for example. I would like to show on some examples what you will learn during this class. A picture speaks better than 1000 words so let's move on to the screencast for a while. This is my online portfolio on As you can see, I just love to show my designs on exemplary products. For this purpose, I used both ready made mockups and real life photo course. Before we dive into our project, I would like to shortly explain the difference between these two terms. ready made mocups are pictures prepared in a way, that you just insert your design into a Smart Object and your visualization is ready. Uh, here is the example. It's a great tool, especially if you create artwork for stationery and marketing materials. In most cases, the setting is neutral, so it fits to any presentation. However, if you create your designs with textiles in mind, as I do ready made mockups present some limitations. First of all, there is a relatively small number of mockups of clothes to choose from, excluding T shirts maybe. But even if you find some, they are generally quite austere and cold. Meanwhile, the clothes and textiles in general are soft and cozy. That's why I like to replace or complete the ready made mockups with real life pictures of peoples and scenes that they use as mockups, after a prior preparation. In the following segments, I will share where to look for the good photographs, what to take into consideration, while choosing or taking one and how to put your design on the chosen object so that it looks realistic. And your assignment will be: to put your own textile design on a piece of cloth, on a picture of your choice so that we all can see how wonderful it would look like in the real life. Let's get started. 3. Preparing your pattern file: If you have taken this class, I suppose you already have your textile design that you would like see on the final product. But if it's not the case, don't worry. You can use the JPEG I provided the class material section. You will find there also some links to great SkillShare classes about this subject. If your pattern design is prepared in Adobe Illustrator, open a new document and prepare quite a big rectangle filled with your pattern. My document is set A4 but it's up to you. As you see, I will change the scale of my pattern. Yeah, about 30% to make the pattern more dense so I can have more control over it later. If you have your design prepared in Photoshop, create a new file. Let's say A4 seize, like here, fill it with your pattern. I will use, um this pattern, I think with a little bit smaller scale and convert it to Smart Objects. It's not really necessary but in the next segment I will explain why I like to do it this way. Okay, we have our pattern ready to be put on the photo, now let's talk a little bit about the pictures that we will use. 4. Choosing the right photograph: Now let's talk a little bit about the pictures that we will use us our mockups. The general rule concerning the photograph, you need for this purpose is that the piece of cloth or other object, you wan to cover with your pattern should be white or possibly light colored. It's very important that the picture is not over exposed in a way that the highlights are blown. All kinds of details, textures, and shadows are crucial here. Here are some great examples of photographs that can be used as mockups. I'm not the photographer, so I mainly use pictures from the Web that are on Creative Common License. My favorite stock is, they have really great pictures but there are also lots of commercial stocks where you can buy pictures for this purpose. Just a little note here. If you use a picture from the Web and you want to print it out later, be sure that the file resolution is big enough. For the Internet purposes 72 pp. is sufficient but for print you will need resolution off 300 ppi. You can check it by clicking on image size, (of course, your image have to be open in Adobe Photoshop) If you enter 300 ppi here, it will show you the print seize of the photograph. This one is quite small for print, just about nine by nice centimeters. But I'm only planning to use it for screen so this size is sufficient. Of course, you can also use pictures taken by yourself. You're free to choose. If you have your picture already chosen, open it in Adobe Photoshop. 5. Gather all materials in one working file: Okay, Now let's gather our photograph and our pattern in one place. My tiny branches pattern, I will just move from the second window into my file by holding left mouse button. As you see the size of the document with my tiny branches is much bigger and the scale is not as I want it so I will zoom it out by taping "CTR-" shortcut. Now I can see the edges of my Smart Object. By holding "SHIFT" to maintain the proportions and "ALT" to preserve the center, I reduce the size of my rectangle. Okay, we have it. Let's zoom in by using the shortcut "CTR+". If you have your pattern prepared and saved in Photoshop, of course you can directly make new layer filled with your pattern, let's say this one. But I don't recommend to leave it like this. I'd rather you convert it to the Smart Object because, thanks to that, you can move your pattern around, and otherwise you don't have so much control over it. If you have your pattern opened in Illustrator somewhere in the background, just copy it and paste into the Photoshop as a Smart Object and fit the scale. Okay. And for those of you who used the JPEG, I provided in the class project section, go to file, place embedded, find the "Hooray.jpeg" file, and click "place" and fit the position and scale as I've already shown on the example off the Illustrator file. For this moment, we will turn it off. I mean, you click on this eye here, so only the layer with the photograph is visible. I would just delete the patterns I won't use so I have only one, just like you. 6. Working with the layer mask: For this tutorial, I've chosen my watercolor pattern with tiny branches and this beautiful picture of a baker girl from In the next steps we will cover hers white blouse here with our pattern and the final result will be something like this. In this tutorial, we will use very basic Photoshop tools. It will be, first of all magnetic lasso tool you will find it here. On your workspace, you probably have a regular lasso tool in this place but you can choose the magnetic one by clicking on this icon with the left mouse button. Then we will need this layers panel and that's it for a moment. Okay? Let's start preparing our layer mask. For this purpose, choose your magnetic lasso tool, the shortcut is "L" and that starts to trace the edges off the bakers blouse. Click the starting point with your left mouse button and trace the edges. Once you have some corner, click on it to add a point. Otherwise, just follow the edges without clicking anything. Normally, I use my WACOM tablet for this purpose but for this tutorial I use the mouse as, thanks to that I work slower, so it will be easier for you to follow. Okay, this part of our blouse is selected so let's turn on our pattern and click the layer mask icon here. You see, this white circle over a white rectangle? It adds a mask to your layer. So we click here and uh, you see? The mask is added. For this moment, it doesn't look really well as our mask completely covers the photograph that is below but if you change your blending mode, you see? You have a panel here. And if you choose multiply, you see? It's much better. Okay, so this area is ready and now let's add the other ones. We will do it a little bit different this time, but just as before we start by selecting our area with magnetic lasso tool. But this time we will not click on the layer mask icon, we will work on the one we have had already created. Be sure that the mask is selected, take your brush tool. It's here. You can enlarge it a little bit and start to paint over the selected area with white color. Be sure that the foreground color here is set to white because this way you add the mask areas. If you want to do away with it, change the foreground color to black. You can quickly switch between these two colors by typing "X" on your keyboard. Okay, we have a few other areas we want to cover with our pattern. It will be this area this and this. So let's repeat the steps. To uncheck the marching ants, you just click the shortcut "CTR + D". Ok, and as you can see our mockup is almost ready but there are some details I would like to correct. First of all, we have the buttons here covered with our pattern and we want them playing. So let's zoom in, I will decrease the brush size down to this, change the foreground color to black and start to paint over the buttons. Oops! You see, once you go wrong, you can quickly and easily correct the mistake by switching between the two colors of the brush. If you want, you can play with details such as this chain here exactly the same way. I will correct it only a little bit. Okay. What I would like also to correct is the scale of my pattern because I want my burn just to be a little smaller. So I go to my Smart Object on the layer panel. You see this little chain linking our pattern with the mask? If you keep it like this and you want to change the position of your pattern, You see? You move all the elements together. But if you turn it off and select your Smart Object, you can move it and change the scale. I will live it like this and I will link it again. I you want, you can leave it like this. I think the visualization look quite nice, but I will show you a few more tips here. If you want to check if you're a mask is exact you can do it by making a new layer, filled with a solid colour. Um, let's say this colour. And let's copy our mask to this layer. You do this simply by holding "ALT" button and dragging the mask to our solid color layer. And you see? Oops, it's not so, so exact. So, this is the good way to correct your layer mask a little bit. So let's click on a layer mask, let's zoom in, and let's start to cover the elements we want to correct with power brush tool. Okay, See here and here. Oops You see, all the time, I'm using my brush tool just switching between white and black foreground color by typing "X" on the keyboard to cover and uncover with the mask the fragments off our blouse. Of course, you can also change the blending more to multiply here. so we can see if our mask covers some areas that we don't want. Yeah, if it's the case, we correct them by using brush set to black. You still see the edges aren't really perfect. If you have a pattern design with a white background, as I do, it's not really a problem because we don't see the edges. Otherwise, you will want to correct it a little bit. You can do this by clicking with right mouse button on mask, refine mask, and you can play a little bit with this adjustments here. So you can shift edge, for example. See what happens? If I shift edge to minus, the edges become more visible, but once I change it to more, they edges are shifting outside, let's say. We can also smooth the edges, See, if you Okay? Like this. I don't like that it was moved too much, but let's leave it like this. You have to just play a little bit with this, with this adjustments. Okay, If you are quite happy with the results, just click "OK". Now our layer mask is ready, and we can move it to our pattern. so do the same as we have done a few moments before. Just hold out and let's move it from the solid colour layer to our pattern. Ok. Replace the layer mask? Yes. Turn this one off, turn this one on and you see? It's much better. Okay, let's delete this. Yeah, it's perfect. You see, my girl, have nice patterned blouse. If I place here my, let's say "hooray.jpg" As I did here, I can just I've been just holding old, take this layer mask here. Yeah? Change blending mode to multiply and voilà! Our baker has blouse in other pattern. Ok, you see? So you can use this Photoshop file over and over again just by changing the patterns. In the following segments, I will try to show some problems that you can encounter and how to solve them. Okay, so see you in the next segments. 7. If your pattern has a black background: My designs are generally delicate and light but sometimes I need to make something on the black background and in this case, my standard technique doesn't really work. This is because the multiply blending mode works in the way that darker areas from the buttom layer become darken in the upper layer. If the upper layer is very dark or black, the darker areas are not really visible. And the design looks flat. My way of coping with this problem is to find the picture with a black piece of cloth. But again, it can be just a black spot - light refractions should be visible. Here is the example of the photograph that I can use. We just repeat the steps we have already learned. I cut the layer mask, I put it on to my pattern and I set a blending mode to exclusion this time. You see? It looks much more realistic. I can also blur my pattern a little bit so so that it looks even more realistic. Okay! 8. How to change the object's colour: Sometimes you have a great photo that you would love to use as mockup up because, for example, it's mood suits to your idea or the textures are great. But the object that you would like to cover with your pattern is not white. In this case, once you cover the chosen object of your pattern and set your blending mode to multiply the colour underneath will influence your design. But there is quite an easy remedy. If your chosen piece of cloth is plain and light colored, you can use the gradient map to change its color to white. You see the effect? I will quickly show you how to use it. I have already prepared a layer mask over the blouse here. Now I create a gradient map layer and just as before, I will add a layer mask on top of it, I click twice on a gradient map here and this panel opens. Click on this bar, be sure that this black and white gradient style is selected. You see, the blouse is already black and white. But don't click OK yet, we will adjust it a little bit. You see the slider? These two little controls respond to the gradient and colors. I will change this black to something warmer by clicking twice on this indicator. When choosing colors, you will directly see on your photo what it does your picture. You can also brighten this area by changing the position off white indicator. You can play a little bit with this tool and same time observe the changes on the photograph. Once you're happy with the result, click okay and that's it. The piece of cloth is white. Now you repeat the steps from the last segments: place your pattern on the new layer. Copy the Layer Mosque, I said, the lending moat to multiply and finally. 9. Good luck!: Once your picture is ready, you can keep the document for another project. Now you can change patterns very quickly and see your different designs on the chosen piece of garment. Just by copying the layer mask onto the new layer, you can save your picture as day pick or other for much. You need use for your portfolio are just for your own subsection. You will see it's really addictive. For now, you have every think to make your patterns shine, thanks to the visualizations. But I encourage you to experiment with the other tools once you feel sure with the ones I have shown you. Maybe in the future you prefer to use the mental instead of the magnetic class. It'll or you will want to play with a displacement map. The possibilities are endless. Okay, that's it. Thank you for watching. I hope you have found this class useful and that you have already started to visualize your patterns of products. I'm really curious of the results off your work, so please don't forget to share them in the class project section. I would like you to post separately your textile design Incan be a seamless pattern or other design that you imagine in the club the original picture you have used and it, sirs, and your final for the montage seeing the community section where you will try to respond to any of her with initial questions by