Design Basic Question

Hello There,
I would like to understand how are you all creating such beautiful and realistic looking watch faces. My question is limited to the design elements like- watch hands design, dial design, etc. What tools are commonly used like- Photoshop/ Illustrator etc., I currently use Canva and it is very limited in its capabilities. And my designs look horrible currently and I am thinking I am not using the rights tools (also need to grow my creativity for sure!).

Any help/ link to existing topic would be much appreciated.

Personally I use Paint. net and I know others use Gimp, Photoshop and some even use Microsoft PowerPoint.

I use photoshop and illustrator.

I use (like mrantisocialguy does) which is free for personal use and has everything (especially layers) to create realistic watches.
And if you are searching for resources like backgrounds, complications, date windows, background wheels or even hands, there a millions of it in the web, feel free to google for it…

I struggle with realism as well. As a matter of fact, I know that I suck at making the watch faces look reallistic, so I simply go for the cartoonish look most of the time. I much prefer to tinker with unique expressions in the watch faces to make them do interesting things than focus on the graphics. However, graphics can’t be avoided so I do use & gimp. I also use notepad++ for expression edditing.

You said it perfectly. How to achieve that realism is the question. And not being able to achieve is frustrating and I really want to learn how to go about it.

Hi ThaMattie, Thanks for your reply. How do you go about using Photoshop & Illustrator. Would you suggest some YouTube tutorials? And also where do you get your “material” from? Thanks again for your time and comment.

@hibhardwaj, I will add, there are lots of tutorials within these forums that have helped me with realism, such as:




Simple realistic display:

Just search tutorial and you will see tons of great information…

My strength is expressions and math. For the graphics stuff:
I have something in mind, break it down, google for tutorials on how to do these parts, get annoyed that the tutorials I find are sort of what I want, but not exactly, keep fiddling with it, get frustrated that the thing on screen doesn’t look like the thing in my head, sometimes accept it’s the best I can do and publish it, most times leave it and add it to my big collection of “ideas” instead of “finished products” :upside_down_face:.

I tend to make it from scratch. I have the same “policy” as @kvansant, except I’m not that good :stuck_out_tongue:

In addition, I hang out in the Facer Slack chat, where there are other designers that give valuable feedback and can point you in the right direction on how to do things.

In addition to what the others have said, its a learning process! I am STILL figuring things out with the design end and sometimes its a hit and then I have misses. I have left all of my designs up even the really bad ones from my start so I can see the progress.

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I am working with AutoCAD for 2-d layouts and 3-d construction with rendering (good for realistic light settings, metallic effects, indices and font arrangement). After that i import the single saved objects in Photoshop for optimization and graphical enhancement. Some watch faces are entirely made with Photoshop.

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I use Affinity Designer. I started in graphics using an old program called Xara in the 90’s. Then went to Macromedia/Adobe Fireworks. Affinity Designer is the most like these that I’ve ever come across. I find it easier to use than Illustrator, but with a similar feature set and being vector based makes it incredibly flexible. When I create a style I like, I save that style and can reuse it on different elements. Affinity Designer is very full featured, regularly updated, and darn cheap. If cheap isn’t cheap enough, I would give Inkscape a try. It’s free. Templates and styles are your friend. Intricate designs do take time and effort though.

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Thanks for that one, I signed up for a beta in 2016 and totally forgot about Affinity. I’m going to have a look at it again, compare it to illustrator.