"Light" Photoshop rendering technique

I've received a few direct messages to my instagram account asking how I achieve my rendering style. It really takes only a few steps. The key is to get a basic sketch with great proportions completed as a nice underlay. Then the rest is simple.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial. This sketch style has been very liberating for me as it has allowed me to spend more time thinking about blocking in the big-picture design gesture and less time fussing with each individual element.

I start by scanning in the final sketch. I typically unsaturate this layer to eliminate any blues or yellows the scanner may pick up. I then keep this sketch at the top layer on "Multiply."

I start by scanning in the final sketch. I typically unsaturate this layer to eliminate any blues or yellows the scanner may pick up. I then keep this sketch at the top layer on "Multiply."

Starting below the original sketch layer, I create solid fills of color. In this case, the black upper and white sole. NOTE: I like to use a 10% grey background so then the white sole reads as an intentional decision.

Starting below the original sketch layer, I create solid fills of color. In this case, the black upper and white sole. NOTE: I like to use a 10% grey background so then the white sole reads as an intentional decision.

To assign a material, I apply a texture over the whole shoe. I know in the next step I will be assigning leather overlays overtop of this mesh material layer, so I am not worried if the mesh extends into other areas.

To assign a material, I apply a texture over the whole shoe. I know in the next step I will be assigning leather overlays overtop of this mesh material layer, so I am not worried if the mesh extends into other areas.

Leather overlays provide more definition and cover mesh where not necessary. Again, this layer is a simple solid fill.

Leather overlays provide more definition and cover mesh where not necessary. Again, this layer is a simple solid fill.

I like to apply branding before I begin working on the overall highlights and shadows. This way, those highlights and shadows will cover the branding.

I like to apply branding before I begin working on the overall highlights and shadows. This way, those highlights and shadows will cover the branding.

Overall highlights and shadows are applied with simple black and white color fills. I reduce the opacity to 10-15% for shadows and 5-10% for highlights. In this case, a core black shadow is applied around the back and side while a white highlight runs down the vamp.

Overall highlights and shadows are applied with simple black and white color fills. I reduce the opacity to 10-15% for shadows and 5-10% for highlights. In this case, a core black shadow is applied around the back and side while a white highlight runs down the vamp.

Secondary highlights and shadows are applied with the same approach.

Secondary highlights and shadows are applied with the same approach.

Detailed shadows are applied where overlays fall onto the main body. This helps pop the overlays and laces. Again, this is a solid black fill layer, but the layer opacity is dropped and potentially set to "Multiply."

Detailed shadows are applied where overlays fall onto the main body. This helps pop the overlays and laces. Again, this is a solid black fill layer, but the layer opacity is dropped and potentially set to "Multiply."

Detailed highlights are applied along edges. This adds more depth to overlays.

Detailed highlights are applied along edges. This adds more depth to overlays.

Using the same techniques to as I did to the overall shoe, I render the laces as a separate group. A solid fill base, and solid fills for highlights and shadows.

Using the same techniques to as I did to the overall shoe, I render the laces as a separate group. A solid fill base, and solid fills for highlights and shadows.

Finally, I add a few ovals that act as a ground shadow.

Finally, I add a few ovals that act as a ground shadow.