In this tutorial, we will create an editable mocap for the business card, using simple photos and techniques of working in Photoshop. At the end we get an elegant customizable mocap, which is suitable for a spectacular presentation of business cards to the customer.
What is mocap?
A mocap is an editable template to show how the finished product will look. It is used in the field of graphic design to show the customer how the printed version of the work, in this case business cards, will look like.
The working process
In this lesson we will cover the following topics:
- Design business cards / flyers. You can use any software for this, but Illustrator and InDesign are best for printed materials.
- How to photograph a business card. Place a card or something similar on the surface and take a picture of it.
- Select and edit photos in Photoshop. Choose the best picture and edit it.
- Adding smart objects to photos. We will insert the design on the mocap inside the transformed and configured smart object.
You can use the techniques given in the lesson when creating any mock-ups with the office or for branding, so that you can show the customer the final printed result without printing it.
Not everyone has professional photography equipment, but, nevertheless, I will give you some tips on how to get quality mocap. To work, we need Adobe Photoshop CS5 (or higher) and the best camera you can find (even a good smartphone camera will do).
1. Create a business card design.
Before you start working with a standard business card, decide for which country you are creating it and check the dimensions with the customer. Each country has its own standards, which you can read about in Wikipedia.
Most likely, you are planning to work in Illustrator or InDesign, because these programs are specially created for such work. However, in Photoshop, you can also create materials for printing.
Since we are creating a mocap, we do not need to take into account the cutting lines and the size of the business card, we simply insert the finished design in the right position. However, the finished business card must be in vector format, with colors intended for printing, and include cutting lines. More information about the design of business cards, you can find in a detailed guide.
For this tutorial, I designed this minimalistic design.
2. Preparing photos with white cards
There are many books and manuals on setting up lights, cameras, etc. for working with photos. I will not give you an exhaustive explanation of all the subtleties of the work, but I will try to share a few key points that will help to make a high-quality snapshot, even if you have set everything up not entirely successfully.
A dark photo is always better than a light one. It is always easier to work with an underexposed photo than with an illuminated photo. Dark areas are easier to retouch than bright ones, since in Photoshop it is much easier to restore details in shaded areas than in light ones, which are sometimes just white.
Always install one or more primary lights. Direct light source will create a clear contrast between the lights and shadows, making the photo more memorable and attractive.
If the composition does not have a pronounced light source, the result will be too boring. You can use any number of light sources. If natural light is too bright and the photo may light up, reduce the camera exposure: the correct value will be between 0 and -1.
Grab more background. This is my opinion, but based on personal experience. It is better to capture more background than you might need. Excess can always be cropped in Photoshop, and during the creation of the image focus not on the background, but on the composition and lighting.
It often happens that you want to add space in the photo and you have to resort to photo retouching, because initially the photo was taken without taking into account such situations.
In this tutorial we will work with the snapshot above. As you can see, I photographed more background than necessary, so we will have more space to work in Photoshop, and we just cut off the excess. Below guides is shown the final frame, which we will use.
Given the task, prepare the appropriate composition. Spend enough time placing objects, and choose a successful composition for your taste. The most obvious, but not the only solution, is to show the business card from two sides.
For example, it is not necessary to place cards in the form of geometric shapes (however, I do this in my mocaps, because at the same time they look more corporate). In addition, they can be scattered on the table or folded card house. Consider whether such a solution will be attractive to the customer, and act.
Keep experimenting and changing elements in places. Take as many photos from different angles as possible, change the direction of the light source, its intensity, etc. The main thing is that at the end you have a lot of options from which you can choose at least one decent shot.
3. Retouch photo
Having finished with a photographing stage, we transfer pictures to the computer and we open Photoshop. If you work in Lightroom, you can adjust the lighting and contrast in it, but we still need Photoshop to work with smart objects.
We continue to work with the photo. We have already decided how we will crop the photo, so we take the tool Crop Tool (C) (Crop) or select the desired part using Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) (Rectangular selection) and go Image – Crop (Image – Crop).
Now go to the setting of lighting, color and contrast. We will also remove excess stains and details. Before color correction, let’s get rid of dust particles and small stains that are especially noticeable on dark surfaces.
Next, take Clone Stamp Tool (S) (Stamp), hold down the Alt key and take a background sample and transfer it to the part that we want to remove. Also for this task tool is suitable. Healing Brush Tool (J) (Healing Brush). Below is the finished photo after retouching.
To reduce the reddish tint in the photo, create a correction layer Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Black White (Layer – New adjustment layer – Black and White) and customize it.
Also in the center, add a bright spot with blurred edges to make the composition a little brighter. For this we activate Brush Tool (B) (Brush), choose the softest brush with Hardness (Hardness) 0% and on the new layer (Ctrl + Shift + N) we put a white spot in the center of the working canvas. Switch the blending mode of this layer to Soft Light (Soft light) and we get this result.
Now it’s time to create a smart object, inside of which there will be a business card design. First we need a template of the same size as the business card. We take Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) (Rectangular selection), on the top panel, switch to the mode Fixed Ratio (Set the proportions) and enter the proportions of our card – 3.5 x 2 inches.
It doesn’t matter if the size of the rectangle matches the size of the business card, the main thing is to have the same proportions. In this step, you should create a rectangle as close as possible to a business card. The end result will depend on the size of your photo, so the size of the rectangle may vary.
Via Paint Bucket Tool (G) (Fill) on the new layer fill the selection with any color and call the layer “Frontal side”. Business card design will be added on this layer.
On the layers panel, right-click on the layer and select Convert to Smart Object (Convert to smart object).
Switch the blending mode of the “Frontal side” layer to Multiply (Multiplication) so that we can see what is going on under it. Activate the free transformation (Ctrl + T) and transform the rectangle to the shape of the card in the photo. In the corners of the transformation frame there are special reference points with which the shape change takes place. Hold down the Ctrl key and grab the point to move it.
Next, click on the object with the right mouse button and switch to the mode Warp (Deformation), since the card is slightly bent, and in this mode you can transform straight edges. Please note that this mode works with smart objects only in Photoshop no less than CS5 version.
Then we perform the same actions and create a red rectangle for the business card with the back side. To speed up the process, we will duplicate the “Frontal side” layer.
Click on it with the right mouse button and select New Smart Object Via Copy (Create a smart object by copying). As a result, an editable copy of the first smart object appears.
Open the contents of the copy of the smart object (to do this, on the layers panel, click on it with the right mouse button and select Edit Contents (Edit content)) and fill the rectangle with a different color (for example, red, like mine) so that both cards are different. Name the red layer “back side”. Then we repeat all the stages of the transformation of the rectangle, trying as precisely as possible to set the reference points in the corners. This is how the current result should look.
For the “Back side” layer, we need to apply a mask and hide the part that partially covers the front side. To do this, we hold down the Ctrl key and click on the thumbnail of the “Frontal side” layer on the layers panel to load its selection.
Then select the layer “Back side” and at the bottom of the layers panel click on the button Add layer mask (Add layer mask).
Next we just need to invert the mask. To do this, select the mask on the layers panel and press the key combination Ctrl + I.
If necessary, we refine the details. Below, I manually deleted a part of the back business card that did not fit into the selection. Via Lasso Tool (L) (Lasso) we select the desired fragment and paint it on the mask with black.
Now we need to modify the created rectangles so that they look realistic on the mockup. Blend mode Multiply (Multiplication) has already done some of the work, and it seems that both cards are actually initially colored blue and red. But there is a detail that breaks the illusion and makes the composition unrealistic – this is the defocusing effect.
To create such an effect, we need to blur the boundaries of the smart objects that fall into the defocus area. Select the layer “Back side” (just the layer, not the mask), go to Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur) and choose the appropriate value for Radius (Radius), which will correspond to the degree of blurring the photo (in this example, 2-3 pixels).
Below is the result before and after blurring the borders. Do not forget that the filter must be applied to the smart object in order to Gaussian Blur (Blur according to Gauss) was transformed into a smart filter, which at any time can be deleted or edited, without violating the integrity of the layer. In English, this method is called non-destructive, which can be translated as “non-destructive”, because the content of the smart object does not change, and the filter is added, in fact, as a separate layer.
As you can see in the picture on the right with the blur applied, the corners and edges are more harmoniously combined with the background, adding realism to the mocap. But keep in mind that the design overlaid on the map will look inappropriate if it is clear and the surrounding area of the photo is blurred.
Do not forget about it and watch the level of blur throughout the image so that the superimposed design is really combined with the photo.
Go to the layer “Back side”, click on it with the right mouse button and select Edit Contents (Edit content). As a result, a smart object with a red rectangle opens in a separate document.
This is how the content of the smart object should look.
Now we need to insert a prepared business card design here. To do this, go File – Place (File – Place) and find the desired image on the computer.
Save the smart object (Ctrl + S) and close the document. As a result, the smart object will automatically be updated on the main working document, and instead of red, we will see our design, automatically transformed and with color correction applied.
In the same way, insert the design on the “Frontal side” layer and get a professional and customizable mocap.
Great job! Our mocap is ready
You can test it with a different design, and the smart object will do all the extra work for you. Also, this mocap can be used for leaflets and posters, since it is difficult to tell from the photo what the actual size of the cards is. So the size can be any, as long as the proportions of the card and design are more or less respected.
Online GraphicRiver You can find my set of 15 mokapov for business cards.