Design a Brilliant Product Advertisement

Advertising is one of the primary markets for graphic designers.  Companies around the world rely on the talented and creative minds of designers to create visually impactful and memorable product advertisements.  Advertising differs from other forms of design, as you often have to incorporate a product, a logo, a company image and other details to meet the client needs.  Therefore, being able to manipulate results to match the color scheme, subject matter and target market are essential skills for any designer.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn the steps and techniques involved in creating a brilliant product advertisement.  You’ll start with a stock image of an Adidas shoe, extract it from the background, then combine it with various photostocks to create a liquifying product advertisement.  You’ll learn how to build around a given product, and how to integrate branding into the design work.  Let’s get started!

Tools Used

  • Adobe Photoshop

Final Image Preview:

finale 1

Step 1: Isolation

To start off we will go to: and copy the jpeg into Photoshop. Do not size the shoe down or do anything at this point. The reason we won’t size it down now is because if you clean it up, isolate it and then size the shoe down the quality of our isolation will look 1000 times better than if we had just sized it down and then done it.

Once the shoes in the new document go ahead and press ‘M’ on your keyboard, this will select the marquee tool. Make sure your marquee tool is set to the rectangle tool before you continue. Go ahead and make a selection of the bottom half, grab the entire reflection where it meets the cleats and delete it.

Now that the reflection is out of the way we can continue. But if your noticing the oddness that has become of our cleats not to worry! This will be fixed in due time.

Now press ‘W’ on your keyboard, this will enable the magic wand tool. The magic wand tool may not be the best for large scale people and things of that nature but for a shoe like this it will work fine.  Set your Tolerance between 10 and 18% I went with 10 just to be on the safe side, and I suggest you do the same. Click the white area surrounding the shoe and be sure to grab all of it, you should get a selection similar to mine.

Now that our shoe has been selected you can see where the selection (dashed line) has intersected inside the shoe, don’t worry about this at all.  We can fix the inside portion in due time.  Now press ‘CTRL SHIFT I’ on your keyboard, pressing this will select the inverse of what we have selected now.  Once you have pressed that, go to your layer toolbar and click the icon that looks like a square with a circle in it, this is the “Layer Mask” tool.  It will remove the selection but unlike deleting it, it will allow you to add it back as you wish.  Once you have clicked that you will notice a duplicate view of your layer in the layer toolbar, this one being in black and white.  The white represents what you can see and the black what will remain invisible.  We will be working on this layer for the majority of the isolation process.  Go ahead and make a new layer beneath our shoe layer and fill it with black. Once you have created the new layer you will immediately see all of the torn and destroyed pieces of our shoe. That’s ok, with the layer mask and some patience this will be an easy cleanup!

Now being sure to have the black and white mask layer selected we will be cleaning our shoe up, filling in the gaps and getting rid of that pesky silhouette. Start off by creating a similar brush as I have. If you are without a tablet use a much smaller size, I prefer the large size with my tablet only on filling in the large pieces missing. As you will see in the screen shots below I vary the size all the way down to a 10 and constantly change my pressure.  This, for you non Wacom users, means my brush size will vary depending on how hard I press! It’s also a good idea to keep your keyboard nearby, pressing ‘CTRL Z’ will undo what you just did, and pressing ‘X’ will change your brush color from white to black and vise versa. This is very important since when we paint black it erases and when we paint white it makes our shoe appear again.

Go ahead and press ‘Z’ on your keyboard and click a few times until your zoomed in so much it looks pixilated like mine does, this will make it allot easier to fill up the gaps in the shoe laces, which is where we will start.  Set your brush to about 10, 5 if you’re using a mouse.  Now being sure we have the white paint selected and we are on the white and black layer, go ahead and start to fill it up!  It’s a good idea to create a duplicate of the image before we applied the layer mask, that way you can go back and forth between the layers to see what your shoe looks like compared to the original.

Remember to be careful with this process. It may take a bit of time to get used to but it’s the best and quickest way to isolate an object such as this. So slowly try and follow the contour of the laces. Remember to go back and forth between the unaltered image and the altered for reference. In the tight corners go ahead and size your brush down even more until you get used to it. And try to stay away from using the brush to make blot’s to fill up the gaps. It will create an uneven bubbly looking shoe, which is not good, so be sure to make strokes like you would with a real paint brush or pencil. Once you feel like your laces look good go ahead and repeat the same process with the top area around the tongue of the shoe. For this section bump up your brush size and just fill it in, then press ‘X’ on your keyboard and use a smaller brush to clean it out. Again be sure to follow the contours, this area should be something of an oval shape. I cannot stress that enough; if you have a square shoe it will ruin the end outcome, so please, head the warning and be patient. Once you have this area done yours should look like mine does here:

Now go ahead and continue on any areas around the cleats that look like they need it, they shouldn’t but if you strayed from the above instructions you might need to take a look.

Now that pesky white outline. We could approach this a few different ways:

  • Paint over it as we did above.
  • Try and use the magic wand tool.
  • Use the pen tool and select it out.
  • Erase it.

But we will be doing it in a different way, with the smudge tool! That’s right it’s not just for making abstract art, we can use this tool to clean up our isolations as well, but be careful, it can get harry. So we will start off by pressing ‘R’ on your keyboard, this will bring up the sharpen tool, smudge tool or blur tool. Make sure you have selected the correct tool and that you’re on the layer mask. Set your smudge tool up as I have set mine in the below screenshot. Don’t be overwhelmed by the size, this is not important as it was before, the large size will speed the process up ten folds. But don’t get ahead of yourself; you will see that once we get down to the cleats this doesn’t apply.

Use your large smudge brush and push SLIGHTLY around the edges of our sneaker. Go from the outside of the shoe (the black area of your layer mask) and push inwards. Start off around the tongue as this section will be the easiest. Press once or twice and then just look at it, if the line has become dull and almost translucent then hit it one more time. The idea here though is to barley smudge the black of our mask over the white of our shoe, doing it to harsh will result in a feathered looking isolation, which is not what we want at all. Continue making the small strokes until your tongue looks similar to mine here:

Now just continue the process on the laces, but keep in mind the laces are white to begin with, so this will just smooth up our filled in ‘pot holes’. So do it less here, just do it once maybe twice when need be. Then go to the back side and do the same thing. The back side, as with the tongue, is an easy section. Doing as I have stated above will give the back of your shoe the appearance as if the black is blending in with the back ground (not feathered though). My below screen shot will show you what I mean, try and get the same result by using the small brush strokes we have discussed.

We will now move onto the cleats. By this time you should be somewhat comfortable with using our smudge brush technique which is good, because here is where it will really count. Size your brush somewhere between 15 and 20, depending on how comfortable you are, I went with a 17. Keep the rest of our settings the same as before. Smudge in the cleats the same as before but be careful, if you brush too much or use a brush that is to large you will push the black over one side of the cleat and the white out of the other. This will result in a horrid isolation and a terrible headache so keep at it, if you need to keep sizing down your brush and work your corners very carefully. The corners of the cleats as well as the little gaps between each individual claw will be the hardest part. Be sure to make straight even lines. If you push up and to the left it will pull the white out of the isolation on the right. Sizing your brush as well as using the straight, small and even strokes will result in a beautifully isolated image. And remember the ugly looking square cleats where we cut out the reflection? Do you see that white line on them that’s perfectly straight? Go ahead and smudge it as we did the back, it will make the tips of the cleats ‘Fade to black’ which will make them fade into the background which is a very good thing. The next two screen shots will show you my progression on the step, and what your outcome should look like:

Once you’re done with the cleats do the toe of the shoe, which should require the least amount of effort. Once you’re done with the tow section press the ‘H’ key on your keyboard, which will select the hand tool. With the hand tool selected right click anywhere on your document and click “Full view”. Use your hand tool to pan over the shoe, making sure you haven’t missed any little pieces that need fixing.  Be sure to look at the cleats carefully, they can hide little white blocks in there that will turn the isolation into something terrible. Remember when you see an isolated image somewhat else does, you’re not looking at how difficult it must have been but where there errors are. No matter what the image is, it’s always the first thing a person notices; the one or two ugly spots. So make sure you cover all of your bases!

Step 2: Document Setup

If your all good to go create a new document at 2000*3000 and place in your shoe. You will see its way bigger then our document size which is fine, just press ‘CTRL T’ to enable the free transform tool. With the free transform tool selected go ahead and size your shoe down and set it at a tilt as I did in the below screen shot. But be sure you have the chain icon selected on your free transform toolbar or your only sizing from a corner. If not you will wind up with a poorly proportioned shoe, which is not good at all.

When you feel like your shoe is positioned as mine is and it looks good to you we will go over to: and grab the logo. Put it in your open document and press ‘CTRL I’. This will invert the colors of the logo, so the black will become white and vice versa.  You will have to free transform the logo as we did the shoe. So go ahead and press ‘CTRL SHIFT T’ and size it down to the size mine is below.

Now that our logo is the right color we can set it to layer mode ‘screen’. You can do that by going to the layer menu and clicking the drop down menu and selecting ‘screen’. It’s a good idea to make sure you have the logo somewhat lined up with the shoe in the middle of the screen, if you’re having trouble with this you can make a new ‘guide’ To make a guide line press ‘CTRL R’ to turn your rulers on and click the ruler on the right and drag it to the middle of the screen to make a light blue line. The light blue will be your guide, using the rulers and the guide the center should be easy to find. And once you have found it you can turn your rulers off if you want and delete the guide by clicking it and dragging it back over the ruler.

Step 3: Stock isolation and blending

Now it’s time to get down and dirty with some stocks. So hide your logo later, we will bring it back up later on in the tutorial, and go to: and grab the largest one. If you don’t have an account at Cgtextures it’s a good idea to get one, it’s free and has a ton of resources available. Now that it’s downloaded go ahead and press ‘CTRL SHIFT U’ to grey scale the splat, ‘CTRL I’ once more and then press ‘CTRL SHIFT L’ to auto level and invert our splat. We will set this layer to screen as we did with the previous layer and then duplicate it.

Move the two layers on top of our shoe, place them as I have. You will have to free transform the layers to get them in the proper angle and size so press ‘CTRL T’ as we have done before and place them as I have in the below screenshot.

It looks pretty good, but it looks kind of thrown on. So press ‘E’ on your keyboard to use your eraser and clean off all of those ugly pieces. Get rid of the splat droplets and keep the paint on top of the shoe, don’t let it get out of hand and wind up consuming the shoe. Try and make it appear as if it were part of the shoe. To do this you may want to deploy the help of our friend the smudge tool once again, this time smudging the beginning and ends of our splat slightly, try and blend the white with the leather of the shoe as I have done in the below screen shot.

Now we will repeat the process but with this stock image: . This time we will place it as if it’s coming off the first splat. Keep in mind this one should remain on the shoe at all times as well. I also removed the top section of the first splat so that it ends in between the slashes of the adidas design. This spot is where we want the new splat to start. It will be done exactly as same as before so try and not get ahead of yourself, if you need to refer to the previous steps then do so. My splats now look like:

Step 4: Milk stock isolation and blending

As of now, our shoe looks kind of cool but it’s unclear of what we are trying to do. So go to: and grab the shot of the pouring milk. Drop this into Photoshop and press ‘M’ we will use the marquee tool again to cut out the bottom half splatter sections.

Once that’s done press ‘W’ on your keyboard to bring up the magic wand tool. Use a tolerance of about 15% and isolate it the same way we did the shoe. Once you have created the layer mask for the pour you will notice there are no real gaps, but it looks strangely pixilated. We can fix that as well! Press ‘R’ on your keyboard and we will get the smudge tool out once again, we will be using the exact same settings and in the exact same way. Brush softly and slowly on either side going inward all the way down the pour. Once you have finished that we will do something different with it, now we will brush in a straight line, upwards and downwards. Small strokes are the key to this as well as making sure that your lines are straight and follow the stock. Once you feel like you have smoothed out the pour as much as I have we can go to the next step.

After you have smudged the pour we can make it the color and shade we want. Press ‘CTRL SHIFT U’ as we have done before to grayscale the image. Now we can press ‘CTRL L’ this will bring up the level editor. We have previously only been auto editing the levels so this is a tad different, but don’t let the strange graphs overwhelm you. Just use the same settings as I have and press ok. But first ill try and describe what it is. The three triangles are in order of right to left, black level, gray level and the white level. I have moved the grey level over closer to the black level. This will result in the grays becoming whiter. The black level was moved to closer to the grey level which means the black spots have become even blacker.

Now we can duplicate the layer and set the duplicated version to screen. We also need to free transform (‘CTRL + T’) our pour and place it. Place the pouring stock layers around the right tip and have them just long enough to where they hit the tip of your adidas logo. As of now it will look as strange as the splat layers looked so we will clean the stock that meets the shoe in the same way as we did before. So grab a nice sized eraser 100px with no hardness and the opacity set to about 35% and clean it up. Follow the clean up with the smudge tool to create the effect that the pour is fading into the leather.

The connection looks better now but it doesn’t look as good as it could. So grab a small soft brush around 25px, no hardness and 100% opacity. Make a new layer by pressing ‘CTRL SHIFT N’. Use this brush to paint where the two stocks meat and then paint a tiny bit going down the pour. Once you have it painted it will look strange, so grab your smudge tool and feather the white layer up. Be sure to keep the new white layer off of our black layer and off the black sections of the shoe. Its only purpose is to give the appearance as if the shoe is melting or the paint is still wet and dripping. If you’re finding it difficult to feather the white so it appears the way we want don’t be afraid to decrease the opacity of the layer. You can repeat this step as many times as you need to on as many layers as need be. The final outcome should look like this:

As you can see the pour is just kind of sitting atop our logo, we need to fix this and give it the appearance as if it is hitting the logo and splashing against it (or in it?).

Step 5: Milk splashes part two

To do this we will start off by going here and referencing another tutorial and putting the next image into our document. We will repeat a few of our previous steps to isolate this section and transform it the way we want it. Start off by using your marquee tool once again to select the text portion and delete it. Then press ‘CTRL SHIFT U’ and ‘CTRL SHIFT L’, this will grayscale our image and apply the auto level adjustments.

Go ahead and duplicate this layer and hide the duplicate, we may want to use it later and there’s no point in wasting time trying to find it all over again. Duplicate the layer yet again and leave this duplication visible. Set the two visible layers to screen as we have done before then free transform the layers (‘CTRL SHIFT T’). You want to get them small and place them around the pour stock so it gives the appearance of the pour is splashing.

We will now repeat the processes from before where we painted over the stocks with a white brush and smudged it. This time however we are just trying to make the grey hard edges fade to white. So make a new layer above the two stock layers and set it to screen. Press ‘z’ and click to zoom in and use the smallest brush you can to paint the hard edges where the splash meats the logo. Once you have blocked it all up with your brush press ‘R’ and smudge it a small bit to create a feathered looking final result. Do keep in mind that just as before we do not want any of this layer to make its way to the black layer, we want to keep the final image as clean looking as possible. So if anything gets out there just use a soft eraser and clean it up before we go to the next step.

Now we are getting somewhere! The image is starting to take a form, slowly but a form none the less. But it needs more, allot more. We will go to and grab the drip there. If you don’t have an SXC account, go ahead and make one, just like CGTextures its free and a hell of a site. Once you have it drag it over to our document and press ‘W’. We will set our wand tolerance to about 18% this time and just delete out the white. Once it has been deleted go ahead and press ‘CTRL SHIFT U’ and ‘CTRL SHIFT L’ as we have done in the past. This time we will follow with a manual edit so press ‘CTRL L’ and set your sliders as mine appear below.

Once we have done our manual edit you can see it’s gotten allot whiter, but not as white as we want it to look. So duplicate the layer and set it screen as we have done before. Your drip should look as mine does below.

Now we will free transform it down and place it to the left side of the main pour. Upon placing I noticed it could be whiter so I duplicated the layer again, and applied a 3rd screen layer, this one being at 45% opacity. Once that is done we will do the above techniques of using a soft semi opacity small eraser to erase parts of the drip, followed with some smudging to make it blend a little more. Also go ahead and grab that tiny brush again to repeat the white paint step, were we painted over the shoe and drip a small bit and smudged it to create a better looking blend. However this time it might be a little more difficult to keep it off the background than before due to the size of the drip. So be extra careful in smudging this time, use a brush similar in size to the one you used to paint with and nock the strength down a percent or two depending on your skill level. Once you have done all of that your drip should look similar to mine here.

Step 6: Milk and paint stocks and tips

Once we have done the last drip we can do the same thing over and over again with multiple stocks. You don’t have to use multiple stocks for certain areas. For example the tiny drip can be used a multitude of times without it getting dull looking. But vary your stocks as much as you can. I have a list of milk stocks below that you can use to repeat the steps with. Once you have created a large quantity of pouring, dripping and melting looking aspects of the shoe and logo, we will start the next step that deals with the text as well as minor finishing touches.


Remember to isolate the milk properly and blend it with the smudge tool and another white layer. Also be sure that we blending to do it properly and do not leave any odd looking aspects in there. The most important thing to keep in mind though aside the above is to make it look as natural as possible. Once you have grabbed the stocks above and repeated the steps your shoe should look something similar to my series of screen shots below. But keep in mind each result will look different and that you don’t want to go terribly overboard.

Step 7: The Progression

As you will see in the below series of jpegs, I have taken pieces of the stocks from above and blended them the same way we described in the above steps. It’s important to follow them, blending is of the utmost importance in the design.

In the above Jpeg you can see I changed the placement for the original stocks, just moving them slightly. No other major changes took place.

Now things are starting to take a drastic change. I have taken pieces and whole sections of the above stocks and started to blend them into the shoe, specifically the stocks from Media Militia. Try to take advantage of all the white areas you can, as you can see in the above screenshot I also added some effects to the thin white reflection around the middle of the shoe. This will change it up and add a more ‘liquid’ feel to the shoe. You can try and do this with your black areas as well, making them look fluid, but I left those be.

In the last screen shot I have added even more atop my shoe. Although you should take into account the direction of your stocks. The shoes tilted, so the likelihood of any of you drips falling straight down are slim. You can combat this by using the free transform tool but there will be times when even that won’t seem to solve the issue. The next best thing would be to apply a filter, so go to your filter menu and select ‘Distort’ > ‘Twirl’. Try to keep your twirl between 17 and -17. But take into account that the more it is twirled the higher the decrease in quality will be. If you don’t like that filter you can try the liquefy filter. It works similar to a super power smudge brush, but be careful it can also result in quality loss. But if you have sized your document as I said to in the first few steps (2000*3000) then this should be no problem since we will size down our finished piece in the end either way.  Also I have begun to add more to the front of the shoe, the main drip was widened using a stock from the above list and then added a wide short drip. You should try and vary your drip sizes as I have, having 30 drips that are all the same length and width won’t look that good in the end will it!


As you can see I haven’t left the logo out of my manipulation, I have added a splash or two on each of the stripes; I have also embellished the first splat we applied. The logo is a very important part, it will be leaking into the text in the next few steps so take that into account and make them appear as I have. The stripes are also some of the easier pieces to add the splashes and stocks to, they have no shadows or saturation so they tend to just need a tad bit of smudging!

Step 8: The Text

Now that you are satisfied with your result and have wound up with something similar to mine we can move on to the main event, that is to say the text. We can start our text by pressing ‘W’ on the keyboard to pull up the magic wand tool. We will be using the same settings as before, just simply select each individual letter, be sure to hold shift on your keyboard so you can make multiple selections. Once you have all the letters selected make a new layer by pressing ‘CTRL SHIFT N’.  Now go to the edit tab and select stroke. Set your stroke up as I have set mine up below.

Now that we have applied the stroke we can go ahead a make a new layer beneath the stroke layer but above our original text and logo layer. We will press ‘M’ on the keyboard to select the marquee tool and make a selection that covers our original text. Once the marquee is in place and it only covers the original text, we can press ‘G’ on our keyboard to bring out our paint bucket tool and fill this marquee area with black. Now the only thing visible should be the stroke layer. With only the stroke layer visible we can once again make another new layer by pressing ‘CTRL SHIFT N’. Once the new layer is created press ‘B’ to bring up the paint brush tool, use a standard hard brush around 15-25px and begin painting the bottoms of each letter. Don’t worry about going out of the lines we can fix that easily latter. Your letters should look like mine below.

With the basic shapes filled in we can go ahead and go to the stroke layer. Once back on the stroke layer press ‘W’ on your keyboard to bring your magic wand tool back up, we will select all the letters as we have before and then press ‘CTRL SHIFT I’. This will inverse our selection to anything that is not inside the letters, with this selected go back to our white paint layer and press delete. This will remove anything that is not inside the letter! Now we want to go back to our stroke layer and press ‘E’ on the keyboard, use a standard hard brush similar to what you used to paint the letters with. Then just erase part of the tops of each letter so they look as if they are ‘open’. Once you have done that your letters should look something like this.

Step 9: Text Splashes

Now just take a splat you like and blend it onto the inside of the letter. This time instead of using the screen mode just use the normal layer mode and use the free transform tool to get it down to size. Once it’s down to size erase any black bits that are covering our stroke or white layer and make sure the splat stays inside of the stroke lines. Use your smudge tool and drag straight down along the letters this time, once yours looks similar to mine we can move on to the next step.

Now that it’s smudged down go ahead and make a new layer above this layer and do what we did before. That is to make a new layer (‘CTRL SHIFT N’) and paint over the smudged area. Once you have painted over it smudge this new layer as well, this time smudging upward towards the splat.  If you’re having difficulties with the darkness of your splatter you can always duplicate the layer and apply the new layer as a screen. Or you could press ‘O’ on your keyboard to bring up the dodge tool, set it to 50% on shadows and use a small soft brush to brighten up your shadows.  Once you have completed this go ahead and repeat it to all the remaining letters. Keep in mind that all your letters will not have a splat on both sides. Also play around with the little particles flying off. If you deleted your particles don’t despair you can easily just use the marquee tool to snatch some from another stock image. Once you have done this to all your letters your letters should look something like mine below.

Step 10: Finishing the Logo and Finishing Touches

Now we need to do the same thing we did to the tops of our stripes to the bottom. Try and keep them from going inside of your letters, don’t be afraid to bust out your eraser (‘E’) and erase all those little particles and string like splats parts. Once you have done this your just about finished!

As far as finishing touches goes there is not a whole lot we can do to spiff this image up. You can duplicate the first drip we created and attach it to the “Trademark” logo near our text, or remove it all together. Something you should do is duplicate the original shoe layer and set it above a few of your splat layers as a soft light at 45% opacity. This will help in making the whites of the shoes whiter and the black’s blacker. You should also create a new layer atop all of your layers and use a soft paint brush (‘B’) something similar to the size 50px brush with 0% hardness and just darken the outside of your shoe. All the darkest spots where you can still see a shimmer of the original line can be slightly painted over as well as any unwanted particles.

Once you have done all of the above we can merge our layers by pressing ‘CTRL SHIFT E’ on the keyboard. Once they are merged we can apply a sharpen filter by going to the filter drop down and selecting ‘sharpen’>’sharpen’. Then we will go to the image drop down and select image size, change your image size to 800 * 1200 or something you like. Then press ‘R’ again on your keyboard but this time change it to the sharpen tool. With the sharpen tool set to about 30% use the large 300px soft brush and just sharpen the areas you feel need to be sharpened. I sharpened the majority of the shoe, but be careful when sharpening your splats, especially around the logo and letters. They can become over sharpened rather quickly.
For a different effect you can create a new document and set the size to 1600*1200 and put our image in there along with the original shoe image (sized appropriately of course). Place the shoe on one side and our altered one on the other side, creating a black and white version of the shoes side by side. It’s a good idea if you do this to go ahead and grab the original adidas logo and put in beneath the unaltered shoe as we did with the altered one. Now we are officially done!  Now you’re all done! Your result should be similar to mine depending upon the stocks you chose, but keep in mind that it doesn’t have to look like mine. And chances are it won’t result in the same image but that’s okay. The tutorial is about learning new techniques and trying something different; remember that in the end, it’s all about fun anyway!
finale 1

final 2


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  4. First of all, great tutorial / image. My question is in step 4, right below the levels image, you say to press ctrl + shit + t. I found ctrl and t ;)

  5. I loved your work, but unfortunately I found it really hard to follow your tutorial :(
    I wish some steps where explained in a friendlier way for me to follow
    Great work though!

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