Pillow Mock-Up Tutorial

I’ve had quite a few people enquire about how to use a supplied mock-up template to create a visual/mock-up of your own design. It’s something I’ve been doing for years as I’m often required to show visuals of what a design will look like on a product prior to actual production. Some are very simple, and some are much more complex. See the image below of a range sheet I created for “The Princess and the Frog” products. Some of these were mocked-up over actual photographs of the product (usually a blank dummy which we photographed) and some are created entirely from scratch using the Photoshop transform controls to manipulate the artwork to fit a 3D shape. After this, masks and shading are added to give some extra realism.

As I’ve recently created visuals for the Ohh Deer “Pillow Fight” competition, it seemed a good one to use as an example, and it’s also quite simple in comparison to some mock-ups. So here’s my first attempt at a mock-up tutorial using the provided template to mock-up the cushion for the OhhDeer competition in Photoshop. I hope you find it helpful.

Please note:

To quickly and easily produce professional mock-ups like this you will need to master the basics of the transform and masking commands in Photoshop. It’s also a good idea to be familiar with how to use the basic drawing tools if you have to draw a shape from scratch to create a mask. If you are new to these, it’s well worth taking time to check out some Photoshop tutorials and familiarise yourself with these options first. There are also some very good books available in the absence of a printed software manual. I learnt almost all of my basic Illustrator and Photoshop skills from books like these alongside actual real-life projects. If I needed to create something and I didn’t know how, I looked it up in one of the step-by-step books and worked my way through it.

Also, mock-ups and blank templates will come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Please bear this in mind as you’ll need to use different transform options dependent on the type of shape you are using.

Preparation: Design your cushion to the size in the brief (45 x 45 cm). If using Illustrator, export the finished file as a png.

Open your png file in Photoshop. Open up the supplied template png from Ohh Deer. See below image showing the file dimensions of the supplied png. Re-size your cushion design (shown on the right) to the same dimensions as the supplied template. In this case, 530 x 530 pixels at 300dpi.

Select and copy your cushion design and paste it into the template. It will automaticlly be added as a new layer on top, and, since you re-sized it to the same dimensions, it should fit the template. If it doesn’t fit for any reason, double check both images are 530 x 530 pixels at 300dpi.

 To see the template of the cushion on the layer below your image whilst working, select the top layer (your cushion image) in the layers palette and adjust the transparency to 50%. 

Transforming the design to fit the template
With your cushion design layer still active choose edit — transform — warp from the edit drop-down menu.


Photoshop will display a transform grid with control points and handles around the edge of the grid. Use the move tool to select and move the points and handles, transforming the image to fit to the shape of the cushion template. Accuracy isn’t critical, as we’ll mask out anything outside the edge of the cushion in the next step. Just ensure the outer edges of your image fall outside the edge of the cushion giving you a little “bleed” so you won’t get any white showing around the edges. Once you’re happy with it, hit “enter”.

Your image should now look like this:

Turn off the top layer you have just transformed for now and select the background layer . We are going to make a mask of the cushion shape. Use the pen tool to draw a path around the edge of the pillow. Note: No need to include the branding label, just draw a path around the area you want to be filled with your design.

Once you’re happy with your shape, use the path to create a selection by choosing path — make selection from the paths menu.

See below for the default setting in the “make selection” dialogue box. No need to change these settings.

Save the selection to use as a mask in the next step. This will be helpful if you need to use the same mask for a second design.

With the selection still active, turn your design layer back on and adjust the transparency back to 100% so it’s fully opaque. With the design layer selected choose layer mask — reveal selection from the layers drop-down menu.

Here’s your masked cushion (below). The layer mask has masked out the extra overhang around the edges and your mock-up is almost complete.

Finally, change the layer properties to “linear burn”. See the difference? The slight shading and highlighting on the original template is now showing through from the layer below, giving your cushion design that final realistic touch.

I hope you’ve found this tutorial helpful. Any comments on how I can improve it or if anything’s unclear would be helpful. And if it helps you with your mock-ups, the please feel free to post me a link below so I can see your final images. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.


4 thoughts on “Pillow Mock-Up Tutorial

  1. This is perfect!! Sometimes I would like to show a pillow example, and I could not figure out how to do that. This is how I will create them now! Thank you!

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