Help-Key: Fake Photoshop the Fat Nano™ in Five Minutes for Apple's Lawyers

ipodshopped.jpgRight now there are many people on Digg claiming that the image we’ve been using of the forthcoming iPod Fat Nano™ is a Photoshop job. They would be right. They’re crying foul, but we never said it was anything but a fake, as we had to have something to show what the new Fat Nano™ will look like, since Apple’s legal guys told us we had to pull the leaked pics we had up.

So, yes, it’s a fake. And not even a good one. But I figured for today’s Help-Key, I’d show you exactly how I threw up this mocked-up Fat Nano™ in just under five minutes, and how you can use similar techniques to make your own fake iPod leak images, post them to your blog, and watch the AdSense money roll in.

We’re going to go with the assumption that you’re at least kind of familiar with your totally legally purchased copy of Photoshop. If not, there are plenty of first-timers tutorials out there, and I recommend you check those out first if you need to. Photoshop basics aren’t in the scope of this Help-Key.

The first step is knowing what you want your final product to look like. In this case, we had the images from the leaked Apple ad to go from. This gave us a pretty good sense of proportion and how the thing will look in the end. So I took an image (which I sadly can’t show you) from the banned ad and placed it on a blank background to act as a template. I then took the opacity to 20%, so that I could see my work through it.

original601.jpgNext up was finding an existing photo to use as fodder. Since the new Fat Nano™ shares a similar screen size and shape as the current 5th Generation iPod Videos, I did a Google Image Search for just such a device. Normally it’s best to take your own photograph as fodder, but as my Video iPod was stolen by a tow truck driver with sticky fingers back in May, I couldn’t do that. Which sucked.

I found the image to the right. I chose it because all the important details are there, the color is fairly uniform, and the angle is pretty close to straight up-and-down. The less isometric your viewing angle is, the easier it’ll be to Photoshop. Now it’s worth noting that you can still work with the image at an angle, but we were going for fast and dirty, so this eliminated many of the hoops I’d have to jump through for an angled “leaked” shot.

The background had to go first, so I used the Magic Wand tool to select and then delete it. You’ll notice the background is noisy, and not all one shade of blue. That’s what your tolerance is for. I put it to 60, as this would grab most of the background and leave the iPod itself alone, for the most part. It did the trick quite well.

Next up, it was time to remove the pesky clickwheel. The Fat Nano™ had a smaller clickwheel-to-screen ratio than the 5th Gen iPods, so the trick was to cut it out and move it to it’s own layer, where it could be resized to match the quasi-transparent overlay from step one. First, though, I had to fill in the gap it left behind. I used the rectangular marquee tool to select an area above the former clickwheel and transformed it straight down. Not the best method, but it’s fast. Now I had a screen with just a blank lower half.

newclickwheel.jpgI copied the clickwheel back to where it was, and used the Transform too to line it up to the template. By lining up the screens and edges, I now knew exactly where the clickwheel had to go. Using the transform tool, I sized it just right. The OK button was too small, so I selected and then transformed it as well. Once it was the right size, I used the “Layer Style” tool to bevel it just a bit, giving it a depth that the leaked photos appear to have.

The iPod itself wasn’t quite right, so I again relied on the trusty Transform tool. Selecting the entire thing, I used Free Transform to size the iPod’s body to the template. This is what really makes the Fat Nano™ fat: if the clickwheel is to be the same as that of the Nano (which is an assumption that is safe to make), the screen and body are actually a little wider, so I sized both to match the template. I then added a little bit of drop shadow to the main body to give it some depth, but just a little bit.

photoshopjob.jpgBut it still looked like a Photoshop job a little more than I’d like, so I found a random texture on the internet that looked like it was perhaps a couch or tablecloth and set it as the background. The drop shadow I added in the last step really helped the with the illusion.

And there we have the finished product. It’s not the best work we’ve done here, but given the “Get this up as soon as possible so Apple’s law dogs don’t bite our asses”, I think it turned out fairly well.

These techniques are for beginners, to be sure. There are other methods out there for creating full products from absolute scratch, but where’s the fun in that?

Since we know this is what the Fat Nano™ is supposed to look like, we’d be interested in any mock-ups our readers can come up with. Feel free to add them in the comments, we always like to see what you guys can do.