Best mockup software
Anyone angling for business is often caught in a dilemma about presenting the results of their plans without going through the whole process to deliver that work.
The answer is a mockup, which looks like the finished item but is a simulation rather than the completed item. And, creating one of these is much less work, and therefore practical to create for a sales pitch.
The companies that service this sector are generally focused on computers and mobile devices, allowing the customer to insert an image of a prototype app on them.
This gives the appearance that the solution is up and running, or at least what it will look like when it is.
Here are five of the best of these digital fakery sites for you to peruse.
- Also check out the best graphic design software of 2019
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An easy to use service
Where some services offer only images of phones, tablet and computers, Mediamodifier has a much wider selection of potential placements.
These include T-shirts, mugs, business cards and social media.
Using it is remarkably easy. Pick the mockup you want and then drag the image to be combined with it on to that template image.
The resulting images can be customised and then downloaded as PNG, JPEG or PSD. PSD’s cost extra to download, and assume you have access to Adobe Photoshop.
At the time of writing, there are 2,130 mockups to choose from, and new ones are added regularly.
For those just looking for ideas, Mediamodifier has a free service where the size of the images is limited, and they’re also watermarked.
Those looking for the highest resolution images without a watermark can use a paid subscription that starts with $15 for 24 hours of access, $23 per month or $99 if you want the service for a full year.
However, downloading a single PSD of a mockup costs $49, which seems an excessive gouge to use.
Smartmockups is a remarkably slick solution that negates the need for using photoshop or other tools to get a professional result.
The available mockups are divided into six groups; technology, print, packaging, apparel, home & décor and social media.
Smartmockups claim to have 1400+ choices, but its website needs an update because we counted 2,308 and new ones are added each week.
In addition to these templates, Smartmockups also provides the tools needed to construct custom templates based on images that the user provides. With this feature a logo to be placed on a boat sail, or tail of an aircraft, or similar.
But the flexibility of this solution is only part of the story. Because this service also offers some of the highest resolution images for any mockup service. And, images can be cropped before download, removing the need to have additional image editing tools.
The site integrates with Canva, Dropbox, and Marvel. Allowing existing images stored on those locations to be used without the need to upload it to Smartmockups.
Basic features and 200 templates are available for free use, and PREMIUM access costs $9 a month per user if billed annually. Above PREMIUM is PRO for $19 a month, that can even create video mockups and a five license TEAM option at $39 per month.
It’s all about volume
When you arrive at the Placeit website, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of choice on offer.
It has templates for clothing, mugs, phones, Macbooks, iPads, iMacs, pillows, hats, bags, business cards, flyers, banners and packaging. And, alongside the pre-designed image templates, the site also offers template videos and even a Logo designer.
An issue for Placeit is that since 2013 it has accrued many templates, and it appears to have never removed any subsequently. The result is that many templates contain ancient technologies, like the iPhone 6.
The most recent templates show the iPhone 11, but then need to do some housekeeping to keep the templates relevant.
The content also appears to be obsessed with Apple, having only a handful of Windows computers but hundreds of Macbook and iPad templates.
And, all the sporting apparel images are for those sports popular in the USA, and not those outside that region.
A monthly subscription is $14.95 or $99 per year for unlimited mockup downloads, a massive reduction on what this service did cost only a few months ago.
Logos cost $39.95 each, with a 50% reduction for those with a subscription.
A free service
With most mockup generators charging for their content, it’s not unusual to be a little sceptical about one that’s supposedly free.
To be accurate, you can use this MockupsJar for free as long as you are happy with adverts, watermarks and partial features.
All those irritations can go away for a very modest investment of 15 Euros per year, and that’s the only subscription option.
That low price does hint that this service doesn’t compete with the likes of Smartmockups, because at the time of writing there are just 696 templates listed.
And, these are distributed over phones, computers, tablets, apparel, packaging, books, frames and browsers.
That only leaves some categories with relatively few options. Books has just 23 templates, as an example.
We liked the inclusion of picture frames, and the browser option is also very useful.
However, this isn’t the easiest tool to use and generally assumes that you have image editing tools on hard to adjust the images before uploading them.
One annoyance that we noticed with this solution is that it often expects images to be in predefined resolutions. If an uploaded image doesn’t match the resolution or aspect of the phone or tablet in the image, it will automatically crop them.
If you want something for free and are prepared to work around its foibles, then MockupsJar is fine. Just don’t expect it to generate anything to compare with a more commercial site.
Those looking for something different should explore MockFlow, a tool that can emulate all manner of user interfaces.
Let’s be clear; this isn’t an automated tool for dropping an image of an app into a photo of something holding a phone.
MockFlow has six modules that can be used to construct conceptual websites and applications, and even a mechanism to streamline UI approval for a project in agile-like development.
If you don’t want to build the interface from scratch, templates are available that emulate an iPhone screen, an Android TV or dozens of other familiar interfaces.
For creating websites, the system has pre-designed pages for FAQs, customer support, help centres and dozens of other standard web constructs. These can be used as-is or modified accordingly.
This product is an Aladdin’s cave of pre-built interfaces that can enable a rough concept to be evolved into presentable mockups very rapidly.
Where it could be better is that it isn’t possible to make global style changes to a project, making alterations of multiple pages can be a chore.
For tinkerers a free version is available, but the full product with support costs $14 per user per month billed annually. Three users can be added with a $29 per month Teampack, and the $89 per month Business option allows for 25 seats and will work offline.