Adobe Photoshop has become an industry standard product visualisation tool, used for creating 2D photorealistic images of just about anything. In this tutorial I will show you techniques used to achieve high quality results when using Photoshop in this way. Unlike most of my tutorials, I hold your hand and walkthrough each step, this one will act as more of a guide, teaching you the techniques and the reasoning behind these techniques. The tutorial will be based on creating an iPod Nano, starting nothing, with some previous knowledge of Photoshop, or having completed all my other tutorials, you should have more than enough skills to get a result like mine or better. These steps would be exactly the same as for other products of this nature like phones and cameras.
Before you start make sure you either have an Ipod Nano or a photograph of an Ipod Nano in front of you. For this tutorial it may also be helpful to download the PSD file to examine it more as I won't be going into every detail.
Start by making a new document with dimensions 60x120cm, 72dpi. Probably the most important part of making your image photo realistic is to get the proportions right, lucky for you I measured my Nano. I would advise always setting up some guides before you start as Photoshop will allow you to snap to these guides in the same way that you would snap to a grid. Firstly make sure the visibility of extras and guides are turned on in the view down and also that guide snap is turned on. Then go to view>new guide and create guides as follows (always in cm):
Horizontal: 10, 15, 39, 54, 62.5, 75.5, 84, 100
Vertical: 10, 15, 23.5, 36.5, 45, 50
Next create a layer named body, then one called wheel and another called screen. for the body layer hit D to reset the colors then using the rectangle tool raw a box snapping to the right guides, then hit X to swap your colors and in the wheel layer draw a circle using the ellipse tool. For the screen layer use a rounded rectangle with radius, 30px.
Using the elliptical marquee tool, draw a circular selection like so the select the wheel layer and hit delete. Now that we have the crucial dimensions, the next stage is to build up layer by layer and experiment with each layer until you are happy with it. An efficient way to work on a project like this is to draw most of the elements in either black or white then use the layer styles to add colors, textures, lighting etc. By doing this we can also copy layer styles to similar elements and we will be doing this a few times later on.
Right click on the body layer then select Blending options, all we need here is a gradient overlay. Use a gradient similar to the one below and the angle to 0 and the blending mode to screen. At the moment you're wondering why I used screen for the blending mode, well after I applied the gradient I realised it looked to smooth so in order to fix it you go filter>noise>add noise and add the amount of noise that you think looks right, using uniform and monochromatic, here I used a value of 40.
Now go into the blending options for the screen layer and use a stroke with the following propertieas and a color of #404040. click OK and the fill opacity to 0% so all that is visible is the stroke. I did this because I decided to use this only as the border for the screen and create the rest of the screen and the backlight later.
Now for the wheel, again go into the blending options and add an emboss with the settings shown below this is because the wheel is in fact embossed into the body slightly. From here we can see how useful the blending options are as we have created a recognisable Ipod Nano using only these. Next I will show you the basic steps for creating the details although these steps are mainly just the same as what we have just done; create shape, add layer styles, easy!
From now on the best way to worke is to create a new layer for each shape then merge them later if neccessary. Here we will make the iPod controls on the wheel, use a light gray for these similar to the color used on the body. Create the text first, the font I used was called candara. Next use the polygon shape tool with three sides to create the play icon then use the rectangle tool to create half of the pause icon. Using this triangle and rectangle you can create the three different icons for the controls by duplicating and rearranging them then just place them in the right position above the wheel. It is often more efficient to group the layers rather than merging them as it aids in reediting them but is a personal preferance.
The screen is created using similar methods but her we will use the layer styles. First add a white rectangle behind the border of the screen making sure it doesn't show outside the outer edges of the border. Now hide the border and create four elements shown in the image below using this method; first create the header bar using a rectangle then in the layer styles (blending options) use a gradient overlay and a stroke, it shouldn't be to hard to work this part out. Next create a rectangle for the play bar at the bottom, use a gradient overlay with various grays and the main highlight at the bottom as shown. Duplicate this layer then hit Ctrl+T and make the width of it smaller, now blending options, this should already have the same gradient overlay as the layer before but we want it to be the opposite and blue so beside the gradient box check reverse. Now the colors to blues, lower the opacity slightly and add a pattern overlay using the bubbles. Create the battery using a rectangle and a rounded rectangle, copy the layer style from the silver play bar and add a stroke then use a rectangle with a gradient overlay for the green part. The pause button should not be hard to figure out so I'll leave you to it.
Unhide the border then add your text, using the same font as before. Now, although it probably isn't noticable, I wanted to add a slight pixelated look as you will notice this if you look closely at an iPod screen. To do this I created a new layer just below the border and above every other part of the screen and went filter>render>clouds then filter>pixelate>mosaic and used a small value then filter>stylize>glowing edges and only lowered the smoothness to create sharper corners and set the blending mode to screen. Make sure that this layer is only affecting the iPod screen by removing the excess or adding a layer mask.
You should now have finished your iPod and if so it should look like the image below. From here on the steps are optional and will show you some ideas for creating an advertising type image. You will need some brushes to echeive some of the next step. I used floral brushes wich can be found easily by searching DeviantArt.
Create a new layer just above the background and use your brushes to add some style to your peice. Next create a layer at the top of the stack, select a small brush and using the pen tool, create a path then right click and stroke the path with pen pressure. Erase parts of this line to make it look like it wraps round the iPod. Lastly add a reflection; everyone knows how to add reflections. You should now have a nice iPod image and a lot more knowledge of the program.