Tutorial Rendering in Photoshop by Cor Steenstra

During sketch development I find that I understand what I would like to 'sculpture' in my design from the section lines I draw as a base, as well as from 'leaving out' areas. However, if you want this to come across to the people making the decisions, you need something that stands out and jumps off the wall in a presentation.

Traditionally I would create presentation sketches by using the base sketch as an underlay, over which I would then draw the clean lines, and would put some marker and pastel on it to to express the 3D form. However, if you did this quickly, it would look too sketchy, and if you did it properly it would actually become an elaborate rendering and be quite time consuming. Another risk would be that in 'cleaning up' the linework, some of the character of the original concept sketch would be lost.

Without trying to take any importance away from traditional art methodologies, these days it is possible to use the original sketch to make quick and eye-catching artwork that not only represents the original raw design ideas to the max, but also does the job of jumping off the wall during a presentation. A good sell.

The following pages show a step-by-step process for quickly creating a presentation rendering...

Cor Steenstra Sketches
Start by scanning in a sketch that you want to use. The scanner should generally be set to give an image size in pixels of 1024x768 to 1600x1200 (or larger) depending on your working screen size, and planned print size.



It doesn't matter if the car was sketched on excellent marker paper or on a napkin at 'In-n-Out Burger'. It only needs to be just the thing you like and you want to present. Import the scan into Photoshop, duplicate the layer, clear the background layer, and set the transparency of the copied layer to 35%. This way you can see the sketch, still have a white background, and make the underlay sketch invisible once you're finished.

How Make Space Matter Photoshop

Block in the basic colors with 200-300 size airbrushes. In this case the car was going to be red, and I like using the warm and cold sides of the real world in my sketches to enhance the sculpture. Apply broad strokes of airbrush, and then simply erase the areas that form the hard reflections manually. This gives a more spontaneous effect and is quick.

On a new layer again quickly airbrush the soft sky reflections, also here using the warm and cold colors. And again manually erase the overflow of airbrush. Set the eraser to Airbrush and use a 65-100 opacity. Working on a separate layer enables you to erase these areas with a large soft eraser brush, while leaving the hard reflection areas undisturbed, and all without any masking.

Airbrushing Reflection Glass

Similarly build up the warm and cool glass reflections on their own layers, using a large airbrush, followed by a hard-edged eraser brush to redefine the edges. Initially use the colors lightly, then duplicate that layer and erase the highlight parts of the interior off of the first glass layer. This way it seems you can look through the car, which enhances the realism.

This is the time to put the car on the ground. Make a quick path in the path tools menu, and adjust it to fit the area of shadow marked off in the sketch. In the path menu save this path, go to 'Make Selection' with a zero Feather, and go to the layer menu to make a new layer. On this layer you fill the selection with the background color you want, and here I have added a few brush strokes in different colors to add warmth.

Drafting Vehicles Color
Subsequently put in the wheels, so the car sits properly. You can usually color the wheels you had sketched, but for enhanced realism you can quickly take some

wheels/tires rendered in Alias and use these. Also you can use images of wheels/tires from existing cars, but if these are very recognizable or dont suit your overall design it may not help you.

Car Drawing Photoshop Tutorial

Again use the path tool to draw some clean cut lines on a separate layers.

In the lower segments of the body sides and the front you may want to add some soft sculpture to enhance the expression of the vehicle. Simply make a new layer, and play with black and white soft airbrush, then alter the transparency of this new layer to get the desired effect. Again, using separate layers for each of these elements drastically reduces your workload, as no masking is required, and you can experiment safely without affecting underlying layers.

Again use the path tool to draw some clean cut lines on a separate layers.

Airbrush Car Rendering
For this project we wanted to use existing headlights to reduce costs, so you can make several variations with different headlights. On this example they obviously stem from a Mercedes-Benz.
Car Drawing Pages

And add the corporate graphics to create the final result.

As you can see, it took quite a few layers, but that makes it easy to make corrections afterwards, and eliminates the need for masking. This color sketch took about 45 minutes, but this can vary of course depending on the level of detail.

Though I have clearly used the new digital technologies, the technique is built upon experiences I gained earlier in using vellum paper, marker and pastel. I think you have to go through this stage of traditional techniques before you can successfully 'optimize' your digital workflow and not end up with generic-looking 'impersonal' artwork. In that same respect, I use all of my clay modeling experience in making my Alias models. Again, being familiar with both traditional workflows and the new digital methods is something you 'have' to do to be most effective in your design work.

Cor Steenstra is a graduate of the Royal College of Art, and is Director of Design for Foresee Car Design (http://4c-foresee.com/) located in California and Gibraltar.

Car Rendering Photoshop

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