“Light” Photoshop Rendering Technique by David Whetstone (Tutorial)

Designer, David Whetstone recently posted a tutorial on how he creates his distinct rendering technique, on his blog.

“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.”

You can check out some of the tutorial below, for the full piece head to David’s website, here.


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.


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.



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.


Secondary highlights and shadows are applied with the same approach.

For the full tutorial head here.


Mr. Bailey

Product Designer + Footwear Architect | Founder of @ConceptKicks | www.MrBailey.co.uk

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