As a designer you have a clear understanding on how a product design will look when finished but a client may not. That’s why it’s imperative to mock up objects so the client has a visual representation. There are numerous products we could look at today but let’s start with some basics and then work our way up in latter tutorials.
In this blog we will be mocking up a business card. It’s easy, straightforward and when you are finished you have a reusable template that can have multiple backgrounds and designs implemented. You will also have a grasp on how to use this knowledge on other mock ups.
First we need to find or take a photo (in this case I made my own photo) to use as a reference for perspective. We need a photo that has 2 business cards laid out in the same position that we want to have represented in the final mock up. Don’t worry. The photo doesn’t need to be high quality it’s just for reference. Just make sure that the card size in the photo is the one you are actually going to be using since business cards come in different sizes depending on region.
Now create a new document in Photoshop. I set mine up for print but if you know the mock up will only be views on screen you can set a lower resolution or size.
Create a new layer and fill it with a solid colour (not white). We will be worrying about the background later this is just for contrast.
Now place your reference photo on the canvas. And resize it as needed.
Now select the rectangle tool and draw a shape that is the same size as the business card you are mocking up (in my case that is 55mm x 85mm).
Go to the layer with the rectangle shape, right click on it and select convert to smart object.
Now double click on the little square in the smart objects layer. A good thing would be to mark the cards side. Let’s make this the backside of the card so select the type tool and type “back” in the centre of the card. Now save (file/save).
Go back to the mock up art board (just select the tab to go back to that document) and you’ll see that the card already has the word “back” inserted. Now you understand why this needs to be a smart object!
Press cmd or ctrl + T (or edit/free transform). Right click on the object and select “distort”. Now position (click and drag) the corners to the card on our reference photo. Press enter to confirm.
Now go back to the layers panel and right click on the smart object layer. Select “new smart object via copy”. This creates a copy of the smart object. Don’t just duplicate the layer because that just creates a new layer with THE SAME smart object. We don’t want that. We need a new smart object that’s going to be the front of the business card.
Now double click on the square in the layer of the new smart object. Now enter “front” in the middle of the card. Save (file/save) and go back to the mock up art board.
Free transform the new smart object the same as we did earlier and align it to the reference photo.
Let’s add a background. You can either use a solid colour, a soft pattern, or in my case a wood or table texture to make it seem like the cards are lying on the table. Either make your own photo or find one online (but don’t just steal it). Just make sure the patter is in a top down view. Later on I found out I found out that my background image is too grainy. Make sure to use a good quality image.
Create a new layer and place it at the bottom of your layer order. Convert it in to smart object (click on the layer and select “convert or smart object”). Free transform it (edit/free transform). Rotate it to the right a bit. Right click and distort. Now distort the corners of the object so it matches the perspective you want.
Now that we added the background the cards look a bit flat on the surface. We need to add some shadows and light. But first lets make some order in the layers panel. Create 2 new groups. Name one “front” and name one “back”. Place the card layers in their respective groups. Don’t forget to label your layers for easier navigation. You can also delete the fill layer now.
Double click on the front layer (not the smart object but the layer) to open up the layer blending options. Go to gradient overlay. This will add a sense of lighting to the card. For now it wont really be clearly visible because the card is more or less blank but later on it will show. Trust me. You can see the setting I used in the image bellow.
When you are done click OK. Right click on the layer and select “copy layer style”. Go to the back layer (not the group), right click on it and select “paste layer style”.
Go back to the front layer right click on it and select “duplicate layer”. Place the new layer under the original layer. Select the move tool and move the layer down 1 or 2 times (down arrow key). This adds a certain level of thickness to the card. Now double click the layer. Add a colour overlay. Select a light grey colour. Also add a drop shadow. You can see the settings I used in the image below.
Now duplicate the back layer and do the same as the step above. Move it down a couple of pixels and add the same layer styles as above (or just copy them).
Now that we created our template all we need to do is insert our business card design in to the smart objects. Select the front smart object and insert your design in to it. Don’t forget to delete the text we inserted earlier. Do the same for the back smart object.
I later changed the background because I wasn’t satisfied with the one I chose at first!
We are basically done now. You can add some camera blur if you wish to make the photo look even more realistic. Now that you have this template on hand you can crete any business card mock up by simply inserting your designs in to the smart objects. You can even change your background the same way. You can use this method to mock up other products like posters, fliers or brochures.