When my students who use Silhouette or Cricut machines want to start making mockups, the first hurdle they have to overcome is how to get their designs OUT of their cutting software and INTO the Photoshop software ($9.99/mo here!) It sounds really hard because your export options are very limited in those programs. But there is a workaround and it’s not hard at all. I can’t wait to show you how!
One of my preferred ways of doing this involves using Adobe Illustrator as a middle step, to trace your artwork (and some folks design their cut files in Illustrator so would already be in there). If that’s you, head to this video first.
But if you don’t have Illustrator, then keep on reading (and watch the videos below) to learn the next steps!
Note to Cricut users: this video demo is in Silhouette but still applies to you! Your interface looks different, but you need to do the same basic process of taking a screenshot of your design (on a white background) and following the steps in Photoshop. So keep on reading!
Video 1 (of 3): How to get your cut file into Photoshop
1) Create Your Design in Silhouette
In the image here, you can see an example that I created in Silhouette. I typed out the word “Welcome”, made sure the fill and the stroke were black, and enlarged the text. (If you need help with this part, just watch this video.)
2) Take a Screenshot
The next step is to take a screenshot. For Mac users, press command+shift+4, and it will take a little picture and save it to your desktop as a png file. For Windows users, you can use the Snipping Tool.
3) Open Screenshot in Photoshop
Next, open up the file that you just saved to your desktop file. To do, this, click File > Open > Desktop > select the screenshot > Open.
4) Select Your Design
At this point, we get to use a handy tool in Photoshop called Color Range. To do this, click Select > Color Range. This will give you a little eyedropper. With the eyedropper, click on the black letters. Make sure that “Selection” is chosen at the bottom, and hit okay. Now it has selected the word “Welcome”.
5) Put Your Design on a New Layer
To put this selection on a new layer, click Edit > Copy, and then Edit > Paste. If you want, you can turn off the old layer to see what the details of that really look like. To do this, add another layer below, and fill it with some bright color, like red. If you really zoom in, it's pretty bumpy around the edges, but it is absolutely good enough for our purposes!
Next, we need to make a smart object for the wood sign area. This will allow us to add new designs quickly and easily to this wood sign mockup in future.
Video 2 (of 3) - How to create a smart object
So far, you have taken your image out of Silhouette and brought it into Photoshop. You have selected your design, and now it should be on its own layer, ready to go and to be put into the scene. The next step in this process is to make a smart object that is at the correct angle.
1) Duplicate the Scene Layer
You can do this by dragging the layer down onto the little button that looks like a piece of paper. Turn off your background layer. Keep this handy in case you make a mistake on this new layer. Believe me, I've been there.
2) Erase any Unneeded Portion in Your Scene
This can be a little time consuming, so take your time and be patient. Use your eyedropper tool to sample the color from the background, and then use your brush. Find a nice soft brush for this, and paint right over top. If you need to change the size of the brush, you can expand or scale down the size. A great keyboard command is to use the brackets on your keyboard. The left bracket makes it smaller, while the right bracket makes it bigger.
3) Fix up the Edges Using the Healing Brush Tool
Now that you have most of the painting done, it might look a little fake around the edges. To fix this, click on the bandaid icon on the left, and use the Healing Brush tool. Anytime you paint between two areas where there is a hard edge of color, you will want to blend the two colors together. Hold down “Option” to sample an area that you are copying over. For example, in the wood sign that I created, I needed the painted section to be a little bit more blue, so I sampled from the blue area. When I needed the unpainted section to be a little bit more taupe, then I sampled from the taupe area. You will need to sample back and forth until it blends the edges.
4) Create a Smart Object
To do this, make a new layer and using the Marquee tool, try to approximate the dimensions of what your shape would be if it were standing straight up, facing the camera. Click Edit > Fill, then choose your color. Deselect your new object. Right click on the words “Layer 1”, and click “Convert to Smart Object”. To make things easier for the future, rename this layer “Smart Object”. Now that this is a smart object, you will be able to stretch it all out of proportion and do crazy things to it, and it won't hurt anything.
5) Transform the Smart Object
Select your Arrow tool. Turn down the opacity so that you can better see what you are doing. Next, you will transform (command+t) your smart object to match the angle that you need. Drag each corner to where you need them, trying to match the angle perfectly.
6) Put Your Design into the Smart Object
Open up the smart object by clicking on the small icon beside the words “Smart Object”. This should open up a new .PSB tab. Find and go to the tab with your design. Be sure that you are on the correct layer, and all of the other layers are turned off, and then select all (command+a). Next, copy (command+c) the design, and go back over to your .PSD file. Paste (command+v) your design into the smart object. Turn off the background color, and save the file. You should now be able to see your design in your scene!
7) Make any Needed Adjustments
If you notice that the position needs to be adjusted, just click on the .PSB tab, readjust the design, and save the file again. You may do this as much as you need to do it, but always remember to save the changes, so that it reflects them on your image.
You could probably be finished right now if you wanted to, or you could take the extra step and make it look more natural, like somebody has rubbed over it with some sandpaper. So that's what I will show you in the next video.
Video 3 (of 3) - How to add realistic texture and color
So far in our process, you have put your design into Photoshop and created a smart object so that you can easily paste it right into your scene. Because it is a smart object, it should be at the perfect angle and it should look pretty good as a whole. However, to make it look more realistic, you will need to add some texture to it.
One way to do this is by pasting a texture file over top and using some functions in the layers palette to make it fit right in.
1) Put the Texture File into Photoshop
Open the texture file in Photoshop. When it opens, click Select > All, and then Edit > Copy. Then close it. You won’t need it anymore. Go back to your scene layer, and click Edit > Paste. It should be right over top of your image. Drag it so that it covers your design. If you are having a hard time seeing through the texture to know if it is covering all of your design, you can turn down the opacity until you get it positioned correctly.- then make sure to turn it back to 100.
2) Mask the Texture
In your Layers Window, click the drop down arrow next to “Normal”. It will give you a menu of several choices. Click “Screen”. The texture should now be white, but still in the original shape. To mask this, hover your mouse between the smart object layer and the new layer with your texture. Hold down option, and you should get an icon that looks like a little arrow and a box. Once you click on it, it will mask it inside of the smart object. Now it should no longer have the original file shape.
3) Adjust Your Design
By changing the opacity on the smart object layer, you can make the texture darker or a lighter to make it look more natural. You could even color this at this point if you would like. To do this, click Effects > Color Overlay. Choose your color.
NOTE: You'll notice that when you used the effects layer to add a color, your texture will not be visible anymore, so there's another way that you can make it visible again. You will need to unmask it by holding option and clicking in between the two layers again. Then go down to the smart object layer, hold down command, and click on the thumbnail. This will select your design only. Go back to your texture layer. Go down to the pallet area, and click “Add Layer Mask”, which is the icon that looks like a little rectangle with a circle in it. This will make a little mask area that only shows up on design.
There you have it!
Not too shabby. It's pretty easy to add that texture in and it looks a lot more natural. I hope this was helpful to you and, as always, remember that you can contact me anytime with any ideas that you have for other tutorials or videos.
What kinds of things would you like to be taught? What kind of imagery would you find invaluable for your Silhouette shop so that you can really stand out from the crowd?