Harnessing the Power of Geometry for a Creative Nike Shoe Design

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Geometric shapes have a natural affinity in design and can play very well off of each other as well as a main subject for the composition.  The familiarity of the human mind with various geometric shapes and the natural mathematical order that is inherent in geometry can make your designs more appealing.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create some geometry-based brushes and then apply them for a creative Nike shoe design.  You’ll see how to incorporate geometry into your own designs, and with these brush creation techniques, you’ll be able to create nearly any geometric-based design you desire.

Let’s get started!

Tools used:

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • A single stock image
  • Geometric brushes

Final Image Preview:

Step 1: Document creation and setup

To start off we will need to create a new document. I went with a document size of 1000*1400 but you can use whatever you like.
Once your document has been created its time to create a background; choose two or 3 blues and make a quick gradient similar to mine below.

Now we can drop in our stock. Our Nike stock image is located at: http://www.exitrealworld.com/tools_v2/resources/9e55471ba84686ade677ffe595c45992/upload_images/Nike_Dunk_low_Blue_pink.png

The stock is actually a PNG with a transparent background, so all you need to do is save it and then open it in Photoshop! No isolation required! Once its dropped into your document just size and place it as I have done in the below screenshot.

Step 2: Beginning manipulation

So to start off we will go to the Layer drop down menu and go to Adjustment layers > Photo filters, once you have clicked this a new dialog box should appear with a few presets we can choose from as well as the opacity or Density of the layer. We will click the drop down menu and choose Cooling filter (82) with a density of 37%.


Next we can create a new hue and saturation layer. To do this select Layers>Adjustment layers>Hue and saturation, once you have done this just set yours up as mine is in the below screen shot.

Now set this layer as an overlay layer with an opacity of about 30-40%. This will increase the brightness of the whites as well as darkening the blues. However we don’t want it to apply to the entire image! So enable your brush tool and brush over the areas highlighted below to achieve the proper result.

Step 3: Geometric brush creation

Now its time to start creating our brushes which will be the foundation of the entire piece. So go ahead and create a new document (any size will do). Once you have created your new document use your circular marquee tool (while holding shift) to make a perfect sphere.

Once you have created your marquee right click inside of the marquee and select stroke.

A dialog will arise asking you about color, orientation and size just use the default settings and click ok.


Now hide this layer and we can continue on. Now we will do this again, but we will make a larger circle and set our stroke size to 3px.


Now we can hide this layer as well. Our next shape will be the square, again holding shift make a perfect square. Next right click and select fill, use the default settings and press ok.

If you like, you can make some other shapes (triangles and other polygons). For instance you can make a triangle rather quickly with the pen tool as seen below. Once you have created the shape you can right click and select fill or stroke just as we did with the marquee tool.

What you need to do now, is create about 15 circles/squares etc… and then we can start creating brushes for our pieces.
To create your brushes you will need to have a white canvas, with a black shape.

Next what you need to do is create a marquee selection around the shape. Once that is done you need to click Edit>Define brush preset.



Once you are satisfied with all of your brushes there is one more thing you will need and that is a sphere. I created my sphere by just making a sphere in 3DS and rendering it, however if you do not have any 3D software you can use the sphereize tool, use Illustrator or download one from a site such as deviantART.

Step 4: Incorporating our new creations

To start off we can place a few of our blue spheres all around the canvas at different sizes. Once that is done you can blur each one individually, the smaller the sphere the less the blur and vice versa. I blurred the largest spheres with a radius of 6.

Once you have done that create a new layer (set to overlay at about 15%) and throw down some of your shapes. I threw down a few circle stoke brushes (some blurred slightly and some not) and a few squares tilted so they appear like diamonds.


Continue with this until your satisfied with the way the background looks as of now. Next we can create a new layer at 100% and throw down a few more brushes. I used triangles and spheres for this but like the last step, you can use whatever you like.

Now we can start placing some larger circles on a new layer. You can (and I suggest you do) vary the opacity to create a bit of variety.



Now just continue on! Vary your size and opacity as much as possible to help the variance. At this time you can also add in slight pieces of red; adding red will help to make the piece a little more balanced which is obviously a good thing. Also vary it up, it’s a good idea to throw done some simple lines to connect the spheres and circle brushes, things like this will make the image much more intresting!



Now, if you haven’t already, you can start adding in some small dots where you circles meet.

Continue adding in spheres until you are satisfied with the result.


Step 5: Logo creation

Next we need to create a new brush. So create a new canvas and then a new circle; this circle will be filled with black rather than being stroked.

Next use your marquee tool to create a smaller circle inside of this circle.

Now we need to fill it with a low opacity white. Set your fill settings as mine are in the below screenshot.


Turn this into a brush and we can continue on to the fun part!
Now use your brush to draw out the shape of the “swoosh”. It may be in your best interest to use the Nike logo, you can trace this out using your brush if it helps for you. A logo can be found at the below link http://www.logoinn.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Nike-Logo.jpg This process can be extremely time consuming but is very worthwhile. When doing this its best to vary the size of your brush as much as possible.


Once you have finished you “swoosh” you can duplicate the layer, invert it, apply a Gaussian blur with a radius of about 4 and then finally move it lower just a tad. This will create a darker blue shadow.

Now just do the same thing with the Nike text. This time I used the line tool to block in the letters a tad because I didn’t like the way it looked, but if you like yours, leave it as is!


My canvas now looks like the below screenshot.

The image is now complete! But if you want you can throw down a few more things, for instance I used the line tool and put some very small lines on the sides but you don’t have to.


My final image is displayed below.

I hope you enjoyed reading my tutorial and learned a thing or two! Or at least came out with an image you liked. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

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