Tutorial: Packaging Design – Part 2

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Today we’re bringing you part 2 of our packaging design tutorial, yes it’s 2 weeks late, (apologizes for that!) but as they say better late than never. So onwards and upwards with the tutorial.

For those looking for part 1 click here.

1 – So picking up from where we left off we jump straight in and open up the background group. The background is a little plain so we want to add a bit of drama to it with the addition of some shadows. Setting the foreground colour to black I use the gradient tool to add a shadow to the top of the image (Set the gradient tool to foreground colour in the options in the bar at the top of the screen). We then set this layer to multiply and name it Shad Top.

2 – It’s still a little plain so I duplicate the cloth layer, set it to multiply and add a mask. I brush out the areas I don’t want until I get the desired effect, the idea being to darken the edges of the image creating a focal point around the bowl. In this case it will depend on the image your using, my image had some interesting effects that I was able to utilize, you could use a separate image from an image bank, duplicate the one you already have or just brush in black as you need to.

3 – Now its time to add in a space for our text and logo, this will help us determine where to add the rest of the elements and eliminate unnecessary work. I opened up Adobe Illustrator, dragged in my PSD to use as a guide and drew a rectangle. I then applied the round corner effect (Effect > Stylize > Round Corners), copied it into a new group in my PSD file behind the bowl and named both the group and layer blackboard. This gives us a good space to add ingredients behind the blackboard and bowl but also allows us to add in a decent sized logo and text afterwards.

Here you could personalize your design if you wanted, possible ideas could include an image of a real blackboard, wooden frame or piece of paper all of which are readily available on stock sites such as Shutterstock and Thinkstock.

4 – At this point I want to add some ingredients into the background to finish off the design. Seeing as it’s a tomato soup we’ll use some tomatoes and basil. I jumped onto Shutterstock and selected some images, the images used in the final design are shutterstock_93830227 & shutterstock_22019500.

First I drag the tomato image into my PSD file, name the layer Toms Rght and size it as required (command + T, enter to commit to the transform), position it and then cut the tomatoes out by using a mask. Here you can turn the blackboard layer on and off to see how much image you need to mask off as it’s not necessary to mask off the whole image.


5 – Next we duplicate the image, name it Toms Lft and flip it (Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal). At this point I want to add some colour to the file so I open up the Basil image, drag it into the same group and name it Basil. Once again I size it using free transform (command+T) and position it as I want, I then add a layer mask and cut out the image using the brush tool.

6 – Next I duplicate both of the tomato layers and position these duplicated layers 1 layer below (as per the image), I name them shad and remove their respective masks. By setting these layers to multiply it means I can use the natural shadow that already exists in the image, which also reduces the amount of work we have to do. (Please note, you may have to mask off or delete the top part of the image as sometimes it doesn’t match up perfectly with the image above.) You can use this technique whenever the shadow of the original image matches the light / look of the image your working on as it’s quick and obviously gives a very natural looking result.

Lastly I add some shadows to the tomatoes on the left. To do this I first create a new layer above the tomatoes (command+shift+N), add a clipping mask (not to be confused with a normal mask these allow you to clip that layer to the layer below meaning that layer is contained to the pixels of the one below. To add a clipping mask hold alt and hover over the middle of the 2 layers until the pointer changes and click, or command+alt+G), set it to multiply and brush in some black to act as a shadow being cast from the bowl.

7 – At this point all the elements are in focus but as they’re behind the bowl and thus further away, we need to blur them. Doing this will mean they fit in with the overall look of the image and give it a natural feel. I want to keep a copy of the original in case I need to go back and make any changes, I could use smart filters at this stage (filter > convert to smart filter) in order to conserve the layer information but I want to work quickly and need the ability to duplicate and retouch layers as and when I want. As a result I decided to duplicate the group (drag the group down to the create a new layer icon at the bottom of the layer palette or select duplicate group from the layers palette fly out menu).

Once duplicated I blur the tomatoes and basil one by one using gaussian blur, just add enough so the image looks natural remembering that you don’t need to blur the shadow layers. At this stage I can make some adjustments to help integrate the separate elements into the image further. First I reposition the basil a little, then I create a new layer (common+shift+N) underneath, set it to multiply and brush in a shadow using black and the brush tool. I duplicated the basil and shadow layers (command J on each individual layer or drag them to the create a new layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette) and dragged these layers to the right hand side. I then adjusted the shadow layer using the brush tool and black. In this case we’ve used different parts of the basil to make it look like 2 different pieces, had we used more of the image it would have been obvious that it was the same image duplicated and as such we would have had to get another piece of basil from an image bank.

At this point we’re almost done all I need to do is darken up the tomatoes to the right to make it look like there’s a shadow being cast onto them from the blackboard and bowl. Here I used a channel mixer adjustment layer to increase the tomatoes natural colour, we could also use curves or levels but I wouldn’t recommended brushing in black. The reason for this is that the tomatoes have various lights hitting them and using black over highlights can give an unrealistic look, on the other hand if we raise the tone that already exists then it creates a natural effect.

To add the channel mixer adjustment layer we need to add an adjustment layer to the tomatoes (icon at the bottom of the layers palette), clip it to the layer you want to affect (this option is also available in the adjustment layer dialog box, icon at bottom) and then apply your changes. All we want to do is darken the tomatoes so I selected the black as the output channel and raised the magenta to 50%.

Lastly I felt like the basil needed a little more dark and light, so I duplicated the layer, clipped it and set it to multiply. I then added a mask, filled it with black (quick tip here, filling layers is easily done by using the following shortcuts: alt+delete = fill foreground colour, command+delete = fill background colour, adding shift to these maintains transparency) and then brushed in the areas I wanted.

You may have noticed that I deleted the shadow layer for the tomatoes on the left, this is simply because the basil covered it and as such it wasn’t needed.

8- Although we’re pretty far along with our design the tomatoes still look a little lost. To add more depth to the image we can use the existing tomatoes and duplicate them to make it appear as if they are extra tomatoes in the background. To do this duplicate (command + J) the tomato layers and position them behind the existing tomatoes roughly as I have or as looks good. As these tomatoes are further away they need to be blurred more, to do this we simply apply a little more gaussian blur to them, between 2px – 10px should do it.

In this image I used 3 duplicated tomato layers, the first 2 (Duplicate Rght & Duplicate Lft) were kept as per the originals, the last Duplicate Rght 2 has an extra shadow added to blend it in with the background and give the image a greater feeling of depth.

9 – We’re now finished with the image so it’s time to work on the logo. Up until now we have been imagining that we´re creating or redesigning a supermarket range, so first things first I add my supermarket logo, it could be any but here I choose to use Tesco. I then set about creating a sub range logo and a descriptor for the flavour, as the rectangle is imitating a blackboard the most logical thing is to use a chalk style font that has a hand drawn look, here I´ve used FS Sammy. As this sub logo has a lot of personality the description doesn’t need to be too extravagant so I choose a typical san serif typeface in the form of Bliss.

10 – Although I said we were done I couldn’t resist one last addition as looking at the image I think it could benefit from a shaft of light being casted down onto the soup. To do this I use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) and draw a shape in the form of a shaft of light (to close your selection command+click). I then guassian blur the layer, set it to 20% and add a layer mask, working on the mask I choose a feathered brush at 10 – 20% opacity and brush away the parts that I don’t want.

Now we’re finished with the image and it’s ready to present to the client but in order to do this we’re going to have to add some 3D effects to it. However in order to find out how to do that you’ll have to wait another 3 weeks !!!

James Thompson is the creator of this tutorial, he is a Packaging Designer with over 10 years experience in the industry and a good friend of ours here at The Packaging Design Blog. You can check his work out at his website workandturn, he’s also open to nice messages from people too.

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