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Creating a Mockup from Scratch - Step by Step Guide

Visually appealing presentations are key to success for designers. Whether your goal is to convince a client or to stand out on a portfolio-like website, the viewer's first impression has great impact. While many design areas are oriented towards creating "flat" image files for web or print use, those can become boring to look at and easily disregarded when shown next to other designs.

This is where mockups come in handy, demonstrating the real-life appearance of a design in its particular application area. In other words, they help the viewer to visualize how the image would look like applied to a real world product. The following examples make use of this concept:

Admittedly, some of the examples might just be photographed with the designs already on them. With the term 'mockup', people often refer to editable templates with easily replaceable design. This article will explain the creation process of such a mockup template, in form of an editable Photoshop document (PSD). The final result is available as a freebie.

Getting a base image to build on

In general, the image underlying a mockup is either photographed or digitally created, usually with 3D software. This part is probably the most challenging but also the most creative one. Of course you could take the shortcut by simply resorting to stock images, however for commercializing, you'd be better off assembling your own image.

I've listed pros and cons showing some of the characteristics of either method:

Digital Image (3D Software) - Pros