Mocking up a bottle in Photoshop is something that can either be very simple or a real nightmare. It all depends on the shape of the bottle and the sticker you are trying to put on it.
First we open our blank bottle image. I got mine online for the purpose of this tutorial. Any serious client will either give you the bottle assets you need or even enlist you to design the bottle shape.
When the image is open we place (file/place) our sticker design on the bottle and resize is to fit the bottle.
Convert your placed sticker in to a smart object by right clicking on the layer and selecting “convert to smart object”.
Now comes the tricky part. We need to adjust it to the shape of the bottle. This tutorial uses a standard round bottle. The easiest are square bottles but there are a lot of other shapes out there and some are harder to mock up then others. But round bottles are most common so we’ll use a round bottle.
Select the layer with your sticker and press alt+t or cmd+t on a mac. This brings up the free transform tool. Right click on the object and select warp.
This will divide the object in to a mesh. You can click+hold+drag the points in the mesh to warp it.
The trick is to round out the sticker so it looks like it follows the contours of the bottle. How exactly you do this depends on the perspective of the bottle and the shape of the sticker. It takes practise to get good at it.
After you did that you are basically done but the sticker still looks really flat on the bottle. Bottles made out of glass or plastic have a shine to them and usually reflect light very clearly. So it looks really odd with a flat sticker on top of such a reflective surface.
First we’ll take care of the shadows. Create a layer group and put your sticker layer in to it. Now create a new fill or adjustment layer. Select the levels option.
A new window with the levels gauge will appear. Darken the image up a bit. The whole image will get darker but don’t worry. We’ll fix this in the next step.
Right click on the adjustment layer and select create clipping mask.
Now go to image/adjustment/invert. The whole image will turn back to normal.
Select the brush tool and adjust it to a soft brush. Set the colour to white. Now follow the lighting of the bottle. Everywhere where there is a darker surface along the height of the bottle drag the brush over the sticker. This will reveal the darker image levels we adjusted earlier.
Now we need to take care of the lighter portions of the bottle. Create another adjustment layer. It should automatically be a clipping mask (a little square arrow on the left side of the layer). If not, right click on it and select create clipping mask. This time adjust the levels so the image becomes lighter. Be careful not to “overburn” the colors. Remember, be subtle.
Go to image/adjustment/invert. This should turn the image normal again. Again select a soft brush and set the colour to white. This time drag the brush along the surface of the bottle that has light reflecting of it.
And you are done!