Photo-Realistic Design Samples

While the samples referenced here have been created by other designers, you can create your own mockups—to showcase your design work too. This tutorial gives step-by-step instructions (and pictures). Design Panoply: Create a Business Card Mockup in Photoshop using the Vanishing Point Filter,
You may need to copy and paste the URL into a new browser window

Click to view full-sized: variations on an iPad mockup.

When showcasing your designs in a digital portfolio, it’s an excellent idea to provide up to three views of your samples; a full view, and 1-2 details. The freebies below offer you options.

*If these don’t work for you, search online for others—there are tens of thousands of useful PSD mockups available online–both free and paid.

Logo & Identity Package Full View:

Identity Package Details:

Graphic Narrative Collage Full View:

Pixden, PSD iPad Air Mockup,

Print and Digital Advertisements:

Infographic Poster Full View or for Details


Spray Mount Printed Design Samples

Okay I cut a few corners in this how-to. My X-acto blade was somewhere. This process worked well with the hand-razor. However, it’s the basics of spray mounting. Remember to always work in a well-ventilated area:

Add Multiple Images in Photoshop

When working on your Photoshop Collage project, you will combine multiple images to tell a story. Here are two strategies for adding multiple images to one Photoshop document, demonstrated in the video and described below.

Option 1:

  • With a blank document open in Photoshop,
  • go to File > Place and navigate to the file you want to add.

Option 2:

  • Go to File > Open to open multiple images in Photoshop.
  • Each will appear in its own frame, so separate the tabs, and
  • then drag the image from one frame into another.

Don’t forget, when setting up your project, you want to set dpi to 300 (instead of leaving the default 72 dpi setting)

Creating A Draft Collage…

From Sketches & 3 Images:

my draft collage, using 3 imagesThis actually worked our really well, and didn’t involve too many complex edits in Photoshop. The important thing I’d like to impart here is that editing each image separately BEFORE importing them into PS makes everything much easier. There are 3 photos used to create the final design: it’s almost exactly the sketch that I outlined in the research step of this process.The text used in the final design is also edited from the original 200+ word write up for this assignment.

This video show most of the process that I took in creating the above design. It’s about 10-minutes long–there’s a lot of speeding up, too:

Bicycle Photo Credit: dno1967b via Compfight cc

Fit an Image Inside a Shape

Question: How to I add an image inside of a shape?
Answer: The clipping mask.

A clipping mask allows you to frame, or “mask” a picture within a defined shape. Here is an example of a clipping mask used in the Narrative Graphic Collage assignment:

To Use This Technique in your Project Follow these steps:

Step 1: Select Your Shape

  • First, decide what shape you want to use. These are two ways to create a well-defined shape to use as a clipping mask:
  • The easiest is to create the shape with the polygon or custom shape tool.
  • The other option is to use the quick selection tool on a picture with a shape with well-defined edge and copy and paste that shape as its own layer.

Step 2: Pick Your Photo(s) and Arrange

  • Now, select the image(s) you want to place in this shape. Arrange them on a separate layer (or layers) so they overlap your new shape.
  • Resize this/them as needed and remember to hold shift to keep the same dimensions of your pictures. To help see where the photos will be cut off by the shape, you can put the shape layer on top and lower the opacity.
  • Once your pictures fill the shape and are arranged how you like them, merge all the photo layers. Do this by holding ctrl and selecting all the photo layers, then right-click on the layer, and select the Merge layers option. Remember, DO NOT select your shape layer with this group, or it will be merged too!

Step 3: Create the Clipping Mask

Now it is time to create your clipping mask. Move the shape layer so it is immediately below the merged pictures layer. Then in the menus along the top of the screen, select Layer -> Create clipping mask. Your photos will now be bounded by the shape!

Step 4: Adjust Positioning

If your photos don’t line up perfectly within the shape as you envisioned, select the shape layer and use the arrow keys to move the shape as needed to get the image inside the shape exactly how you want it. Be mindful of the edges of the shape. If you move it too much you might not have a portion of picture to fit into it, thus creating an empty spot in your shape.

Step 5: Merge

To make it easier to work with your newly created image within a shape, you can merge the shape layer and image layer. This way they will always move together and share the same layer options panel. Double click on the layer for these options. Adding a stroke can often make the new shape pop and seem more well-defined. Play with these settings until you get the effect you want.

More Help

If you want a more in-depth tutorial for clipping masks, a good one exists here:

Creative Commons Resources

Note: Not all images shared from these sites are necessarily free-to-use. Be sure to review the license details before using any image that isn’t yours in your collage:

  • Flickr: Must check search options boxes for “Find Content to Modify, Adapt, and Build Upon”
  • Wikimedia Commons: Thousands of worldwide images licensed under Creative Commons.
  • stock.xchng: More than 350,000 free photo images, searchable.
  • dreamstime: Free section of a very large photo images archive. Excellent quality images.
  • morgueFile: More than 200,000 free photo images, searchable in several ways, including by color and topic.
  • WorldImages: About 75,000 international images, well-organized by content areas and searchable.
  • U.S. Government Images: Photos produced by U.S. Government employees are copyright-free. This site has a selection of links to different government agencies’ collections.

Stock Images can be expensive, those of us in the non-profit sector, education, and rapidly-shrinking in house design departments are well aware.  Here are some sites that can give you the free images that you need to really make your designs pop!

Public Domain images and materials are ‘publicly available’ and not covered by intellectual property or copyrights. Today, graphic a design and digital media is abundant, so there is a high demand for images for use in print, web, and multimedia.

Here are are four public domain sites to pin and save. Enjoy: