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Hello, I'm Harshal Patil.|Welcome to my design website.|I'm an Automotive Designer.|This is a collection of my work. | Feel free to share your views. | Thank you.

Tutorial: How to render a realistic future race car: Photoshop tutorial

Requirements: Pen tablet (intuos or cintiq), Adobe Photoshop on a PC with good graphics and RAM and a lot of determination.

Note: In this tutorial I am just highlighting the process. You should have some understanding of PS tools to begin with.

1. Take a picture of your sketch or scan it. The quality of it should be enough that its lines are understandable. Open Photoshop, new image, 1920x1080, mode RGB, 300 dpi with transparent background. Drag and drop your sketch on that layer. Resize to fill canvas.

2. Invert the image and put a black layer under the image layer. The purpose of this is to create a uniform background for our brain to perceive the render.

3. Put black circles for wheels (separate layers). Create a layer under them, use the pen tool to create the shape of your car, and fill it with the color you want. 

4. Now select the pixels of this layer and create another layer of  a similar hue but lighter color. I chose orange. And erase the parts of this layer where the light isn't gonna fall directly. The purpose of this is to give a rich metallic look to the paint.

5. Decide your primary and secondary light sources and mark them. The primary is of higher intensity. Now, reduce the opacity of wheel and paint layers so the sketch is visible. Draw shadows on body with soft brush (on separate layers). Make sure they are darker on the surfaces which are facing more downwards. I recommend drawing the shadows very dark and then reducing the opacity of the layer. This creates room for adjustment in the later stages of the rendering. Now the volume is starting to appear.

6. Make the opacity of the body paint layers to 100%. Now select the pixels of the body paint layer and create a layer on top of all layers. Call it highlights. Now according to the light sources that we previously marked, create white highlights on the surface as shown with soft brush. Make it full white and then reduce its opacity (so that it can be adjusted later).

7. Cut holes in the wheels with the use of pen tool. Draw fenders with pen tool, fill them with black color on separate layers. Reduce the opacity of those layers. Draw side scoop with pen tool and fill gray on a new layer below the fenders.

8. I decided to make the fenders translucent. So it changes some rules of rendering. Put a little highlight on both the fenders in accordance with the light sources. Create a shadow on the side scoop and then cut the scoop panels in it with pen tool.

9. Put another set of highlights on the shoulder of the car. A little stronger this time.

10. Another highlight on the front fender. Create a reflection on right-top of the body. It's just a highlight which is sharp cut from below.  

11. Once all the components are addressed (distinguishable), hide the sketch layer. (some people like to keep it on). Now, group the front fender layers and the rear fender layers separately (this is important for later). Select the pixels of the front wheel, create new layer just above it, make a highlight with white soft brush, give it a sharp circular cut below with pen tool to make it look like the front wheel before. Repeat for rear wheel. Also make a grey core for rear wheel (new layer) with elliptical marquee tool.

12. Now it is time to render scenario. Note that this is amidst of the render. It is important for the scenario to follow the lights that the car follows and for reflections of the scenario on the car. Increase canvas size. Hide the black background and create a neutral grey background for the start. 

13. I chose to create a rainy race day scenario. Look for such wallpapers on google and pick the colors from the one you like. Create road layer with pen tool on the behind of all the car layers, fill it with, well, road color. Crop a grandstand from a f1 car image, stretch it along the canvas below the road layer. Apply motion blur if necessary. Crop dark clouds from another image, stretch them along the canvas. Create a white misty line behind the car. Apply dark gradients on new layers from above and below until the dark rainy mood is created. Remember, this is all happening below the car layers. This step is a bit tricky for newbies but I have learned it through trial and error itself. Never lose faith in yourself.

14. Yay! New reflections to go with the scenario. I hid the old reflection and created a new one that goes with the scenario. Adjust the opacity of fender highlights to match the scenario.

15. Now, ours is a plasma jet powered car, so a kick-ass plasma blast is a must! Draw a thick line of blue color with soft brush behind the the nozzle and erase the edges out with a soft eraser to be a shape like this. Duplicate the layer, blending options, color overlay of white. free transform, make it thinner. It would look like the white interior of the blast as shown below. Create a new layer on the road and paint it with soft brush, blue color. erase and give it a shape like below.

16. Hide the light source reminder. Now it is time to create a reflection of the car and the blast on the road. Hide all the background layers, road, grandstand, all the gradients, just leave the car and the plasma blast on a transparent background. Now save as, anyname.png. Now unhide all the layers, drag and drop the png from wherever it is saved. Rasterize layer, edit, transform, flip vertical. Drag it down below our main car. Reduce opacity to 40%. Take soft eraser, erase the reflection's outer edges, the result will look like this.
Now to create raindrops, make a new layer on top, draw few white lines that resemble raindrops, duplicate layer, move it to the side, merge the layers. Repeat until the canvas is filled. Filter, blur, motion blur, and adjust it to your requirements. 
Now to create drops that are hitting the car, take a texture brush which is dotted. Draw streaks above the fenders and roof  on new layer. Also on a new layer, draw random raindrops leaving from the car, apply motion blur, this time less.
The result of this process should look like below.

17. My favorite part, create a brightness/contrast layer on the top of all the layers. throw the contrast pointer to the right. increase the brightness a bit. It adds life to the render. It darkens the shadow and lightens the highlights to make the car pop out in 3D.
 Now, to create farther front wheel, duplicate the front wheel group, layer, arrange, send to back. Drag it up a few layers till it is visible. Move it in the position, ctrl+T and reduce it in size.
Now select the car reflection layer, Filter, liquify, take the brush, scatter the form of the reflection with the brush sideways to make it look like a liquid reflection.
Also we create a blue plasma glow on the rear parts, by selecting the areas with pen tool and using blue soft brush.

18. Well, a plasma jet engine is not going to restrict the car at 400 km/h. We are going to break the sound barrier! Hell yeah! So lets draw the shock cone. Create a new layer on top, draw a white curve with a soft brush, reduce layer opacity a bit, take soft eraser and shape the curve like this. Erase the curve part which appears on the car. We don't want to hide the details of the car behind it.
To create a neon ring on the wheels, go in the front wheel group, go between the wheel and fender layers, create a layer, draw a white circle with shape tool. Rasterize layer, blending options, outer glow, select color blue. Adjust to match this. Repeat for rear wheel. 
To add text, just type the text in desired color, rasterize layer, transform, rotate a bit, skew and warp to match the shape. Move the text layer below the reflection layer.
Create a layer below all the car layers, with the pen tool, draw the farther spoiler wing, fill red color, add white highlights on new layer as shown.
Now a new layer on top, add white highlight (lines) to whatever edges are there on the car, soft erase to match light sources.
Create a tail lamp with pen tool on a new layer, fill it with yellow, after that, blending options, outer glow, select red color. Adjust to match. 

19. After saving a jpeg, open it in a third party photo editing software (I used autodesk pixlr) to give final editing touches and filter. 


(post your questions below)

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