May 26, 2014

How to Make Beer Look Amazing in Photoshop (Part 1)

How to Make Beer Look Amazing in Photoshop

Product photography can be very difficult to master. Every highlight, shadow, and reflection show up in perfect detail and can make or break an image.

In this two part series, How to Make Beer Look Amazing in Photoshop, we show you how to take a normal photo of a Guiness and make it really stand out. You will learn how to cut the beer out from the background, how to create highlights on the glass, how to give the beer a proper “head”. In part two you will learn how to create bubbles and precipitation on the glass, create a reflection of the glass and add a nice glow to the background.

Cut Out the Beer from the Background

The first step in creating this amazing image is to cut the beer glass out from the background. The first reason why we need to cut the beer out of the background is that we will wind up replacing the background and need clean lines to do so.

By cutting the beer glass out we also make creating the highlights on the glass much easier. We also use the “cut out” process to define the head of the pour.

To cut the glass out of the background we use the Pen Tool combined with an awesome technique that only requires creating a path over half of the glass and then duplicating the selection over the other half. This technique requires less work and is guaranteed to be symmetrical.

Creating Highlights on the Glass

After cutting out the beer glass we use the sections from the edges to create the highlights. Highlights on glass will follow the contour of the original glass.

Once the selections have been made we fill them with a light color, change the layer blend mode to “Screen”, clip the selections to the beer layer and blur each highlight.

Creating the Head

The last thing we cover in this episode is creating the “head” of the beer pour. The head on a Guiness pour is a detail that can’t be missed if you want to properly represent the brand. We use the original pen path we made to cut out the beer and fill it in with a color we borrow from the rest of the head.

At this point there is no definition in the head and we lose all detail from the glass. We take care of this by duplicating the glass over top of the head and changing the blend modes until the highlights and shadows show through. This is a vital step in making the end image look real.

Join Us for Part 2
Join us for part two of this episode where we cover how to add bubbles and condensation to the glass, create a reflection of the glass, and create a background glow to help define the bottle.


user image You
(will not be published)

  • user image
    Natasha Heredia

    Great tutorial! I try to get as much of this detail while shooting but not all of it comes out perfectly all the time. This is a great help to fill in where that fell short. Don’t worry so much about it sounding complicated; even if describing it to begin with is tough, as you go through and do the steps it all comes clear, so just do yer thang! 🙂

  • user image
    Jimmy Jansson

    I’m glad that you liked my photo Aaron. The problem that I had when I took the shot where that I only had one flash. And the rest of the light in the room was terrible, thats why the yellowish color. And I think you were like me, very thirsty for a Guinness when you worked with this picture. Cheers to you Aaron and the rest of the Phlearn team.

  • user image
    Manolo Hoozn

    Amazing tutorial. I didn’t think it would be that easy to turn a decent photograph into a picture that could be used as a product shot for advertising.

    One question tho:
    I noticed that you sometimes change the flow instead of opacity, even when working on layer masks. Whats the advantage of this technique, and how do you decide whether to change opacity or flow respectively?

  • user image
    Gerard Ryan

    Aaron, Looking forward to seeing PArt 2. Just one point though, re head/collar/froth on this pint of the Guinness (the Black Stuff), you definitely wouldn’t get away selling a pint in Ireland with such a large head. While the head is essential, if it is too large, the less Guinness there is to enjoy.
    Seriously though, I love your tutorials. I only found out about your website relatively recently from a visiting speaker to our Camera Club (PCC). Now I make a point of visiting your website regularly to improve my photography/photoshop skills.

  • user image
    Abhay Rao

    its a great tutorial…would love to practice it..Does anyone have this JPEG so we can follow the instructions as on the video? Please share if you do.

  • user image
    D. Hanko

    What about the foam texture in the head of the beer. With painting in the head, wouldn’t it kind of look more like solid milk instead of foam?

  • user image

    Great tutorial, although I do have to say I think I need to show Aaron how to pour a pint of Guinness properly :p