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Photoshop Tutorial, Part Seven


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#1 Harry P.

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 05:10 AM

We're almost done. Just one more item to do on the car: the rear grille. You don't see much of it, and it's in shadow, but still, it's there and we have to add it to make the illustration look finished. As usual, using the photo as my guide, I create a new layer and draw the shape using the Polygonal Lasso tool:

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Then using the Paint Bucket tool, I dump a very dark gray into my shape:

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In this next shot I've turned the photo layer "off" and added a blue area on a new layer below the grille layer, so you can better see what I'm doing with the grille. I removed the area where the "holes" are in the grille by drawing the shape of each hole and hitting "Delete." Once I had the basic grille done, I duplicated that layer, used the Color Overlay command to change the color of my duplicate grille to a light gray, then moved the light gray grille layer under the dark gray grille layer... then moved the light gray grille a bit towards the upper left, like this:

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You can see that because I moved the gray grille over to the left and up, there are now some "missing" areas (circled in red) that I have to add, by drawing the shape with the Lasso tool and filling in the area with light gray:

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Then I used the Magic Wand tool to select the light gray grille and used the brush to add a white highlight to the corner:

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Next I added some black, on a new layer below the grille layers:

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Because the grille bars are slightly rounded, I used the Gaussian Blur tool to slightly blur the grille. I can blur only the dark gray grille without affecting the light gray grille because the dark gray grille is still on its own, separate layer.

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At this point I merged all the grille layers together, and merged the grille layer into the main illustration layer. I also used the brush and some white to add a small soft highlight to the corner of the grille:

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#2 Harry P.

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 05:46 AM

I could have painted in a solid color as a background, or even painted in a sky, but I took the easy way out and "borrowed" a sky image. A Google image search took just seconds, and I found the photo I wanted to use:

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I clicked on the image in the search window to open up the full size image in my browser window, and copied it from the browser window...

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...and pasted it into the PS illustration. Whenever you copy and paste anything into PS, the item you paste is automatically put on a new, separate layer, as you can see in the layers palette on the right:

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Now it was just a matter of resizing the sky to fit the illustration and moving the sky layer down below the illustration layer, merging the illustration and sky layers, and deleting the photo layer (don't need it anymore! :))...

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And here you have it! The finished illustration:

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I kept this illustration fairly simplified. Blacked out windows with no interior detail, simplified highlights, etc. I wanted to show you the basic techniques without getting into a lot of extra detailing... but of course, you can take the level of detail in your illustration as far as you like, using the same techniques I've shown you here.

#3 Harry P.

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 05:50 AM

You can also go the full-detail route and add all the little things to make your illustration more realistic, like I did here:

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And of course you can create illustrations of anything with PS using these same techniques... not only cars! These were all done using the same exact techniques I just showed you (plus a few more tricks that I didn't tell you about... ;))

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The same basic techniques were used to create the realistic guitar above, and the stylized Elvis portrait below. You can paint in PS in whatever style you like... the techniques work the same way, no matter in what style you want to create your illustration.

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Jean Harlow (below) was done to look like an old photo. The only colors I used were black, white, and shades of gray. When I was finished I used the Image>Adjustments>Selective Color dropdown menu command to give the neutral tones a slight sepia tinge to give the illustration that "old photograph" look. This portrait was created using the exact same techniques that I used to create the Tucker.

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Well, that's it! I hope you enjoyed the tutorial, and I hope you picked up a few ideas to help you with your own illustrations!

#4 Brett Barrow

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 07:57 PM

Thanks so much for putting this together!!!

I found the source photo and I've been playing around with it. I just need to get a little smoother with the mouse, or maybe I need to try a pen and tablet?

#5 Jairus

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 04:44 AM

Very nice Harry! :lol:

#6 Harry P.

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 05:10 AM

Thanks so much for putting this together!!!

I found the source photo and I've been playing around with it. I just need to get a little smoother with the mouse, or maybe I need to try a pen and tablet?


I tried a tablet, but didn't like it. I'm used to using a mouse, it feels "right" to me.

It's just a matter of personal preference, and what you're used to.

#7 BigEdsGarage

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 06:44 AM

Great job on the tutorial Harry!
What was shown here in a few posts could have easily taken someone weeks or months of searching for and applying other tutorials to their work.
I would also suggest that anyone starting out learn what the layer opacity adjustment can do. If you add a highlight that seems to "white" or too "bright" drop the opacity and see how it looks.
Learning about layer opacity, hue and saturation controls was very useful to me as I started doing more work in PS.
Again, great job on this and thanks for taking the time and posting this for everyone.

#8 Brett Barrow

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 07:20 AM

I tried a tablet, but didn't like it. I'm used to using a mouse, it feels "right" to me.

It's just a matter of personal preference, and what you're used to.

I just need more practice, or maybe a different mouse or pad, because I can't draw a smooth curve at all!!!!

#9 Harry P.

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 08:39 AM

I just need more practice, or maybe a different mouse or pad, because I can't draw a smooth curve at all!!!!


I think you're right... it's just a matter of practice.

#10 Harry P.

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 09:10 AM

Great job on the tutorial Harry!
What was shown here in a few posts could have easily taken someone weeks or months of searching for and applying other tutorials to their work.
I would also suggest that anyone starting out learn what the layer opacity adjustment can do. If you add a highlight that seems to "white" or too "bright" drop the opacity and see how it looks.
Learning about layer opacity, hue and saturation controls was very useful to me as I started doing more work in PS.
Again, great job on this and thanks for taking the time and posting this for everyone.


Ed, what I tried to do is show my basic techniques in as uncomplicated a way as possible. You know PS, so you know that trying to "uncomplicate" PS so that a beginner understands it isn't easy! :lol: PS is incredibly complex, there's way more to it than I could possibly show in a simple tutorial like this. But you're right, the transparency control is a pretty basic element of PS that comes in very handy, and I should have mentioned it. Here's how it works:

I added a new layer to my illustration, drew an ellipse with the Elliptical Lasso tool, and dumped red into the ellipse with the Paint Bucket tool. Remember, this red ellipse is not on my illustration layer, but on its own, separate layer above the illustration layer.

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At the top of the layers palette there is a box with the word "Opacity" next to it. You can change the opacity of any layer by either moving the slider or by typing in a percentage, from 0% (layer invisible) to 100% (layer fully opaque). Here I've set the opacity of the red layer to 63% opaque, and you can see the result:

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And here I've set the opacity to 24%:

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There are dozens, maybe hundreds more filters, tools, effects, etc. within PS. I use PS literally every working day, and have used it for more than 20 years, and there are still functions that PS has that I either don't know how to use, or have never needed, or don't even know exist! PS is so comprehensive, so huge a software program, that I wonder if anyone ever really gets to the point where they fully understand and can use all of PS's features.

#11 Matt P

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 04:43 PM

Harry, Thank you for the great tutorial, I really admire your work and appreciate the effort you give to share your talent with the rest of us. Do you know if this type of illustrating can be done on PS Elements?

#12 Harry P.

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Posted 04 October 2010 - 04:55 PM

Harry, Thank you for the great tutorial, I really admire your work and appreciate the effort you give to share your talent with the rest of us. Do you know if this type of illustrating can be done on PS Elements?


I was asked that same question by another forum member, so I looked it up... and as far as I can see, all the tools I used here are also included in PS Elements.

#13 Chuck Doan

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 04:46 AM

Thanks for the great info Harry! Lot's to digest. PS is a daunting program, I'll see what bits and pieces I can try.

#14 Rick Bennett

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 07:19 AM

Amazing work Harry!!!!!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your knowledge.

#15 Tony T

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 03:56 PM

Wow, way cool...gotta get PS at some point and give it a whirl! Thanks for the tutorial!

#16 Dr. Cranky

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 01:21 PM

Just sat through the whole tutorial. Very cool and wonderful, Harry. Thanks for showing us how it's done.

#17 Evil Appetite

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 06:43 PM

Great tutorials Harry. Brought back alot of the skills i lost fron not using it for the last 5 years.
For anyone who wants to learn more..there are a million sites out there that can build on the foundation Harry laid out for you here. or you can pick up The Photoshop WoW book..that is a great How to book without being a tome.

#18 Harry P.

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 07:12 PM

Since I did this tutorial there is a newer version of PS available (of course!). A few more bells and whistles, a few cool new features like the bigger, better warp feature and some spiffy new 3D stuff... a few of the tools and functions are laid out a bit differently, but the basics are still the same. The secret to PS is the layers, it gives you the ultimate in control and versatility. All versions of PS from the oldest to the newest have the same basic structure.

#19 sjordan2

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 09:09 AM

Great stuff, a terrific resource very well explained. Now I can open up the PS Elements application that's been sitting in my hard drive for three years.

#20 Harry P.

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 11:12 AM

Great stuff, a terrific resource very well explained. Now I can open up the PS Elements application that's been sitting in my hard drive for three years.


Once you get the hang of it, it's a lot of fun!