Create a Billboard Mockup in Photoshop

In this photoshop tutorial, you are going to learn how you can create a billboard mockup in photoshop which you can use to preview your design work to see how it would actually look on a billboard.

This is a great way to present your design work to the client as it gives them a realistic view of how their advertisement is going to look at the real billboard.

The Video Guide to Create a Billboard Mockup in Photoshop

If you are someone who likes to follow along with a video guide, I have got you covered. Watch the video down below:

To follow along with this tutorial you will want to download the image assets I have used in this tutorial from the links down below:
Download the Design Image
Download the Billboard Image

Step by Step Guide

Step 1: Open the downloaded image file Billboard-Image.jpg in photoshop.

Step 2: Create a new layer (Ctrl+Shift+N) above the image layer and rename it “placeholder layer”.

Step 3: On the “placeholder layer” create a rectangle with the marque selection approximating it to the size of billboard canvas.

Step 4: Now we need to fill this marque selection with a colour that can represent a wide variety of images. That colour is 50% grey because it is in the middle of everything. Double click on the foreground colour and type the hex code #808080 or R,G,B all at 128, 128, 128.

Step 5: Right Click on the placeholder layer and select “convert to smart object”

Step 6: Now we need to match the grey rectangle with the perspective of the billboard canvas. For this first activate the bounding box around the grey rectangle with the keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+T). Then press the Ctrl key and hold and drag the corner points of the bounding box to match the corner points of billboard canvas. Don’t worry about the precise matching of corner points. Just make sure that you match the perspective and cover a little extra space outside of billboard canvas.

Step 7: Now for precise selection of billboard canvas we will create a selection of billboard canvas using the pen tool and then load a layer mask on the placeholder layer in the selection created via pen tool. This gives us the precise selection of billboard canvas so that the design we load in the smart object afterwards fits exactly on the canvas of billboard.

Step 8: At this point, you are ready to load your design on the smart object to preview it on a billboard. Simply double click on placeholder smart layer and this will open the smart layer rectangle in a new photoshop tab. Then drag and drop your design on the smart object layer that just opened in a new tab and resize your design to fit the rectangular smart object layer and press (Ctrl + S) to save. Once saved you can go back to the original document tab where you are working and you will notice that your design is loaded on the billboard in perspective.

Step 9: Now we will try to make it a bit more realistic by adding the texture of the billboard canvas to our design that is loaded on the billboard canvas. In order to do so first make two copies of the billboard image by pressing (Ctrl + J) twice on the billboard image layer. Then move both the image copies above the placeholder layer. Rename one copy to “shadow” & another copy to “light”. Turn off the light layer by clicking the eye icon next to the layer, so that we can focus on working on the shadow layer.

Step 10: On the shadow layer first we will desaturate the layer by pressing (Ctrl + Shift + U) since we only want to work on shadows, not the colours. Now to make sure that the desaturations happen only on the billboard canvas and not the entire image we will drag and drop the layer mask from the placeholder layer onto the shadow layer by pressing and holding Alt key. Now change the blend mode of shadow layer to Multiply and tweak the opacity of the layer to your satisfaction. Furthermore, to play around more with the shadow layer you can add curves adjustment layer to the shadow layer making sure that the curves layer is clipped to just the shadow layer so that it affects only the billboard canvas and not the entire image. Now if you zoom in you will notice that the canvas texture starts to show up in the design which seamlessly integrates it making it realistic.

Step 11: Now we will perform similar actions on the light layer. First, turn it on by pressing the eye icon next to the light layer. Then desaturate it by pressing (Ctrl + Shift + U). Now to make sure that the desaturations happen only on the billboard canvas and not the entire image we will drag and drop the layer mask from the placeholder layer onto the light layer by pressing and holding Alt key. Then change the blend mode of the light layer to color dodge. Add curves adjustment layer to this layer to further enhance the image making sure that the curves adjustment layer is clipped to the light layer so that it only affects the billboard canvas and not the entire image.

Step 12: Now the final and important step is to save this billboard mockup as PSD Template format (PSDT) and not the regular PSD file. This is important as it makes sure that you do not accidentally overwrite this mockup whenever you open it to preview your design. So the way this work is that whenever you open your mockup saved as PSDT it opens as a new untitled document with all the layers intact so that you can test your design on the billboard and keep the original mockup safe from accidental alterations.

I hope you find these steps helpful. Leave me a comment down below if you have any suggestions or questions.

XOXO 🙂
Sunil Chauhan


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