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Full Version: DS Photoshop Battle 01 Audi R8 image build
Dieselstation Car Forums > Multimedia > Photography > Technique & Tutorials
Nike SB'd
First I'd like to say thanks to everyone that voted for my edit, even though the votes didn't count in the end tongue.gif At the request of some of you guys I decided to take some time and give some insight in to how and why I turned this...



into this



BACKGROUND

When I initially saw the image I thought wow, that's not a very pleasing background (which makes for a great contest). I knew after seeing most of the entries that I wanted to have a highly stylized image that would stand out from the sea of curves and contrast adjusted images already posted and I knew going super-high-key would do this. On top of that there has been quite a bit of interest on here lately about high key car photography so I thought it would be cool to show that, although it's very difficult, you can make an extremely high key image even with an underexposed raw shot.

The first thing I did was take the image into lightroom and start pushing it around to see how it would react. I was actually rather surprised at how little latitude the image had and quickly realized it was going to take more work than I initially thought to get the shot really high up. I used several techniques to bring the image up, mostly adjustment layers. I used channel mixer, curves and gradient maps primarily set to various blending modes like screen, overlay, softlight and multiply and carefully masked them together to my liking. I also used a softlight burn/dodge layer which is a really versatile technique (google it if you aren't familiar). The sky was the only easy portion of the frame to get where I wanted and since the image was mostly green I couldn't make a calculations mask for the fore/middle section of the image and had to mask everything by hand. For colorizing I again used mostly gradient maps, selective color and solid color adjustment layers set to normal or color. I decided to add a slight tint of yellow to the mid-highlights and let them blow out into white. For the shadows and mid-tones I used a desaturated teal hue. By the time the background was together I had 16 layers in 3 groups. With the background adjusted how I wanted it it was time to move on to the car.

CAR

Since this is Dieselstation and not some landscape site I knew the focus of anyone looking at the image was going to be the car, thus the car had to be spot on. The problem I realized before I even downloaded the image was that there wasn't enough data in the red channel to support heavy modifying. Nearly every entry put up before mine had heavy vibration/posterization in the red, something that I wanted to avoid at all costs. The only way to do this would be to make the data I needed. With this in mind I knew I had two options...

Option number one would be to use the car as my template and create the areas one at a time using various techniques and lots of masking. In order to better explain I've numbered the image...



1 Start by creating a new group that the next seven steps (and their corresponding groups) will be placed into. First I would need to select a color of red as the base and fill the car with it. Then on a separate layer I would need to draw a gradient and mask it off to create a realistic looking body. Of course I would also need to mask off all the door lines and handles etc.

2 Using the pen tool, create two new paths, one for the mirror shadow and one for the door shadow. Fill the paths with black on new layers. Once the paths are filled a gradient mask and some manual brush mask touch ups would be required to make the shadows look real.

3 Next make a new group starting with a solid color layer with a 5% gray. On new layers add black gradients and mask where necessary. For the final layer create a small white gradient right at the window/door line (not a highlight, we'll get to those in a bit). With the base 5% gray, the shadows and the highlight in the group, add a mask to the group to shape the carbon pillar area.

4 Now it's time for some harsh highlights. Simply create new paths for each highlight. Once the paths are laid out stroke them (each highlight on it's own layer) with a hard-edged brush set to 100% opacity and the desired px count. Once the paths are drawn mask off wherever the highlight cuts over something non-reflective (window molding, where the window meets the door mirror etc).

5 With the harsh highlights out of the way we can move on to the soft highlights. Again using pen tool create the desired paths. The harsh highlights are actually a lot easier to create than soft highlights and you will probably need to practice a bit to get the hang of it. Adjust the brush tool to 0% harshness and a low opacity, say 20% for starters. I like to start my soft highlights by going with the maximum diameter I want them to be, say 35px. First I'll stroke the path with a 35px brush at 0% harshness and a low opacity. Next I'll make the brush a little smaller, say 30px, and re-stroke the path. I will continue to do this until I get to a point where the path has become stroked fully to 100% opacity. Sometimes you'll need to have more than one-layer just for one path. Again soft highlights take a bit of practice but can be done.

6 Reflections are next. These can all be done on one new layer if you mask carefully, but you may find it easier to separate the front bumper/side skirt/rear bumper onto three separate layers. To create these types of highlights just make a new solid color layer set to white. Lower the opacity until it looks good, then blend the mask out with a gradient. Pretty simple.

7 This is the hardest part of this image since there is almost NO INFO in the grille area. This area has to be completely rendered with PS using a combination of gradients, pen tool and manual paint brush skills. Extremely time consuming and difficult to get a grille pattern even. I wouldn't recommend making a grille in photoshop to anyone, but if you're up to it and have a LOT of time it can be done. I'd estimate 20 layers just for these areas. With the grille area finished we can now mask off the huge group we started in step one to blend the adjusted car into the background.

8 The lens flare is the icing on the cake. You can either take a flare from another shot you have and strip it in or create a flare brush.

So now that I've gone over these eight steps it seems like a TON of work right? I couldn't agree more, which is why I completely avoided this method (although I do use these techniques regularly, I just didn't feel like spending that much time on a web forum shot wink.gif ). How would you like to have the image finished in say... 5 easy steps? READY!?

Step 1 Take background plate as edited above
Step 2 Go to Audi's website and find a suitable side-profile image of an R8
Step 3 Adjust and mask R8 photo as-needed to suit background
Step 4 ???
Step 5 Profit! (or not since the votes didn't count tongue.gif )

So for those of you that were scratching your heads all I did was take a stock image of an R8 and bump it up to match the background and mask it into the scene. Although I did have to do some minor work like flip horizontal, remove fuel door and flip emblem back over, I hardly touched the car. After others had clipped in sections from other images it was thoroughly discussed and agreed that there were "no rules" as to what could and what couldn't be added or removed from the image, so rather than swapping out the background I swapped out the focus point (and weak point) of the image.
mackey
After looking at your pic again, I went into DS's stash of stock photos and immediately knew you snagged a side profile shot.. (and then thought to myself, why the fuck didn't i do that)... then I thought to myself again, if he didn't do that, he spent a hell of a lot of time masking off all those lines LOL

either way, still came out nice.
Nike SB'd
I thought somebody would catch it. I found it amusing that no one noticed that I "changed" the brake calipers from black to silver haha. And the model I used is a 5.2 not the 4.2 but nobody even noticed they just thought it was "ugly silver carbon" haha.
RaymondN
haha you bastard! I just read all that for nothing! lmfao, nice work either way man. You definitely fooled me
Nike SB'd
QUOTE(RaymondN @ Dec 16 2009, 10:33 PM) *
haha you bastard! I just read all that for nothing! lmfao, nice work either way man. You definitely fooled me


Well you didn't read it all for nothing, I did point out valid techniques that can be applied to an image to achieve a similar look. tongue.gif
CarCreative
yeah... preferred mine tbf tbh imo
tonymophoto.com
QUOTE(Nike SB'd @ Dec 16 2009, 08:17 PM) *
I thought somebody would catch it. I found it amusing that no one noticed that I "changed" the brake calipers from black to silver haha. And the model I used is a 5.2 not the 4.2 but nobody even noticed they just thought it was "ugly silver carbon" haha.



I'll take it the "ugly silver carbon" was a failed attempt at a quote from me?

Thats not what I said, and we're all glad here that you find amusement in such trivial things. It was painstakingly obvious that wasnt the same car due to the overall length, but I would'nt say it was amusing.

It was however, very clever thinking. And I applaud that for sure.
Nike SB'd
QUOTE(tonymophoto.com @ Dec 17 2009, 09:10 AM) *
I'll take it the "ugly silver carbon" was a failed attempt at a quote from me?

Thats not what I said, and we're all glad here that you find amusement in such trivial things. It was painstakingly obvious that wasnt the same car due to the overall length, but I would'nt say it was amusing.

It was however, very clever thinking. And I applaud that for sure.


I don't remember who all commented on the silver, nor am I trying to put words in anyone's keyboards. All I remember is that most that pointed it out also made sure to state that they didn't like it, thus I generalized the "ugly silver carbon" term. smile.gif I know you knew something was up and mentioned the shorter front end but I was expecting someone to "call me out" on it. Look for techniques described to actually be put to use in the next one wink.gif
mackey
btw, i think you should shave, hippy.
Nike SB'd
QUOTE(mackey @ Dec 17 2009, 10:21 AM) *
btw, i think you should shave, hippy.


Haha I just did actually. The beard will grow back in less than a month.
JustinCesler
LOL - Excellent tutorial Sean!!
Nate047
QUOTE(Nike SB'd @ Dec 17 2009, 10:25 AM) *
Haha I just did actually. The beard will grow back in less than a month.


you look like you're 15 now, +1 on growing it back (no homo) whistle.gif
mackey
QUOTE(Nate047 @ Dec 28 2009, 11:52 AM) *
you look like you're 15 now, +1 on growing it back (no homo) whistle.gif


we know you like men with beards, it's not a secret you like to snuggle and keep warm.
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