Begin: How to Retouch an Apple Watch
1. Begin with a RAW Image
It all begins with a great image. See how Jared got this shot by checking out the YouTube video and make sure to download the DNG RAW file that he’s providing for his video as well. [ADD LINK] Once you have the image, we’re ready to get started!
2. Open in Camera RAW
I got the color correction card from Jared in additional to the Apple watch photos, but since you only have the Apple watch photo, the white balance that I found worked really well for this shot was 6900K and a Tint of “-10”. Also set the sharpening to “90” and also grab the Straighten tool (A) and draw a line across the face of the Apple watch and the crop tool will auto tilt the image to level things off.
3. Adjust Brightness (Exposure) and Chromatic Aberration
In Camera RAW I also decided to tone the “Exposure” down to about “-0.50”. Then choose to open this image in Photoshop. I also went to the HSL/Grayscale and in the “Saturation” tab I reduced Yellows, Greens, and Aquas, to “-100” and then reduced Blues and Purples to -75.
Create a new layer above the Apple Watch and grab a small blue brush and begin circling areas that need some kind of retouching.
5. Center the Apple Watch
Next, we need to center the Apple Watch in our document before we really jump in with retouching. Grab the Crop tool (C) and drag the edges of the document out until the crop lines show that the watch will be lined up in the center as I have in my screenshot.
6. Fill Background
Add a layer beneath the watch layer and fill it with white to complete the background.
7. Easy Cover Up
Add a layer just above the Apple Watch layer and name it “Cover Up” and grab the Brush tool (B) and white white over any areas that are easy to cover up (the fishing line that the watch is hanging on, etc…)
8. Get Rid of Blemishes
Create a new layer right above the “Cover Up” layer and name it “Blemishes” and grab the Healing Brush tool (J). Look to the control bar at the top and set “Sample” to All Layers and sample and paint over blemishes that we marked in our “Markup” layer. I also went over edges and any small blemishes that I wanted to take care of right now before we start to rebuild highlights or shadows.
9. Center Shadow
To widen the center shadow and really shape thing up, grab the Rounded Rectangle Tool (U) and draw a shape across the middle of the watch and fill that shape with the color #282828. I’m going to convert this to a Smart Object by going Layer>Smart Objects>Convert To Smart Object and then add a 45px Gaussian Blur. I also added about 2% of noise to this layer as well.
10. Masking the Edges
Masking the edges of the watch and the knob on the watch is fairly complicated. You can see the entire process in the video above. I used the Elliptical Marquee tool and the Rounded Rectangle tool to draw the fine selections to mask this center shadow exactly where I want it to be.
11. Replace Center Knob
Next grab the Ellipse Tool (U) and click once and set the size to 400px by 400px and drag this exactly over the center knob area. Go Layer>Layer Style>Gradient Overlay and edit the gradient to the color #303030 on the left color handle and #4a4a4a on the right color handle. I set my gradient angle to 90 degrees to run from lighter gray at the top, to darker gray at the bottom. I also added a Bevel and Emboss to add a nice little highlight edge to the top of our new button. See my screenshot for settings.
12. Darken Watchband Attachment
Grab the Pen tool (P) and draw a shape around each of the metal areas that attach the watch face to the watch band. We’re going to create a dark base and then on top of this we’ll redraw our highlights. See my screenshots to see exactly where I traced. NOTE: I fill my shapes with #494949 and set each layer to 65% opacity.
13. Add Highlights
Use the Pen tool (P) and draw over the existing highlights and create two highlights on each side of the watch as I did in my screenshots. I filled my highlights with the color #dadada this is because I know I’m going to crank up the contrast on the overall image after we redraw the parts of the watch that we need redrawn. TIP: Use a subtle gradient to add additional realism here.
14. Mask the Highlights
Cmd/Ctrl + Click the layer thumbnail of the darker base that we traced out with the Pen tool before to load it as a selection and click the new layer mask button to mask each of the highlight layers to that darker base shape. See the video where I mask the highlights to see exactly what I’m talking about here.
15. Cover Watch Band Place Holder
Next grab the Pen Tool and trace over the gray watchband holder and fill it with white to cover all that extra stuff up that we don’t want to see. Again, I have a more full explanation in the video and you can even see a speedy version of me doing the tracing of the watchband.
16. Building Out Bottom of Apple Watch
Once more, the full version of me building out the bottom of the watch can be seen in the video tutorial for a full explanation of what I did and how I did it. It’s a series of shapes, gradients, and masks with a touch of noise to add some realistic looking textures as well. Check it out above.
17. Pump the Contrast
Add a Curves adjustment layer and check out my screenshot to see how I dragged an “S” curve into my Curves adjustment to pump the contrast.
18. Kill Additional Color
There is still red and blue color fringing on the edges of the watch. To correct this we’ll use a simple Hue & Saturation adjustment layer to subtract those colors. Add a Hue & Saturation adjustment layer and choose “Reds” from the color drop down menu and set “Saturation” to -100 and then choose “Blues” from the drop down menu and set “Saturation” to -70.
19. Adjust the Watch Band
Once the retouching is finished, we can merge all these layers to a new layer by pressing Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + Alt/Opt + E and convert this layer to a smart object and then go Filter>Liquify and nudge the watchband at the bottom right into proper shape.
20. Create a Mockup of Apple’s Ad
Adding some text and adjusting sizes and colors, you can quickly create something very similar to Apple’s iconic ad style.