Website design and creation by Allan Macdonald. All rights reserved. Contact: [email protected]
Home - Tutorials - Designers - Articles - Downloads - Reviews - Gallery - about - contribute - contact - directory - advertise - legal - technical
Bookmark and Share
designsketching link
Again, this final stage in the drawing is a similar technique to that shown in the sketch shading tutorial.  On a new layer at the top of the entire image create a gradient running from black to transparent.  In this picture the gradient becomes fully transparent at about the halfway point along the car.  Now switch that layer to OVERLAY mode, and you will see that it really punches out the shape of the vehicle.  Shading the vehicle using this technique, as opposed to actually applying the colour in this manner to the original image saves time.  It means that when actually applying the colour you can easier restrict yourself to simple blocks of colour, whilst also making it easier to play with and adjust your colours later.
When applying the colour you should again do so on different layers for each main block of colour. You can place all these layers into another LAYER SET, placing this new layer set underneath the one containing your lines.  By placing the layers containing your colours underneath the layers containing lines you will be able to colour the image without going "over" your line work. The picture at this stage should almost feel like a colour by numbers.  At this stage I have also added a simple background to accentuate the light direction and give a more dramatic graphical feel to the image. A traditional tape drawing would normally be finished at this stage.  By working in Photoshop however we can take the drawing one step further, adding a few filters to give a hint of colour and drama to the image.
Now you can begin the process of adding colour to your drawing.  The principles here are very similar to those shown in the sketch shading tutorial.  The traditional method in fact limited you to only three colours.  Black, Grey and White.  When learning this technique it is still usually a good idea to try to limit yourself to only these tones, since it teaches you how to be clear and descriptive in your rendering.  Here I have slackened a little the requirements although the basic premise is still only three tones.  In the image below you can see that I have began mainly by blocking in the mid tones of the bodywork.  You may notice that I have applied a mid tone to the bonnet top surface.  This helps provide a good contrast with the upward facing surface of the body side and gives the feeling that the background I will add later in the drawing is reflecting onto this surface.
Once you have completely lined the entire vehicle you can turn off your original sketch.  You should now be left with one LAYER SET containing many layers, each with a single line of your vehicle.  You can now go in and make adjustments, perhaps duplicating certain key lines and moving them up, down or left right slightly in order to add to the sketchy feeling.  Again be subtle with this since the image you are producing will be used by the modellers to measure from and as such your intent must be easy to read.  It is also important at this stage that you take care to really tune the feelings of your lines.  Traditionally this is where designers spend a lot of time fine tuning to mere millimetres in order to get the "feel" correct.  At this stage you should also be very clear in your mind what your intentions are in 3 dimensions (something you should have worked out in your previous sketch work).  For instance in this example you can see the corner highlight running down the front corner of the vehicle.  The distance from this line to the front centre line implies your intent for the plan shape of the front.  For instance if these lines are very close to each other, or even in the same place you will be implying a virtually flat front to the vehicle.
For this tutorial I will guide through a simple technique for producing these images, using a sketch as an underlay.  In reality this would also be accompanied by a packaging drawing from engineering.  The basic principle is that you should work using a reasonably high resolution and use paths to produce very pure and true lines.  Here you can see that I have faded down the original sketch and began drawing paths over the key lines (an in depth look at the paths function will feature as a future tutorial).  It is a good idea to try to keep all your lines on a separate layer (Adobe Illustrator offers an advantage here in that you can directly adjust the lines using the paths), and group all the line work under a LAYER SET.  This will allow you to come back later and adjust individual lines.  A  nice technique for keeping a sketch feel to the image is to extend your main lines a little further than they really need, and then use the erasure to fade out the ends of the lines.  Also pay attention to how strong a line you require.  Just as when producing a sketch line weight is important.  You may want to use thicker heavier lines around key graphical elements such as the window graphics, whilst using lighter lines for subtle folds in the bodywork.
Tape drawings are images produced by designers over a technical package, used in order to make sure that the final design is will actually meet the packaging requirements.  This image is in turn used by the modellers to begin the clay modelling work.  As such these images used to be produced in quarter scale on a special material called Milar, with the line work being achieved using special tapes.  This allowed the designer to make modifications in real time as the design progressed.  Today however with powerful computers, and printers capable of printing car side views in full size, the traditional tape drawing has been overtaken by computer generated images.  This tutorial will focus on how to use Photoshop for this technique, although you can also apply a similar technique in Adobe Illustrator.  The picture above shows a typical sketch that you may use as an underlay for such an image.
Adobe Photoshop Tape Drawing

In this tutorial Allan Macdonald, a designer at Scania Trucks in Sweden will guide you through a simple and effective technique he has developed to produce easily adjustable tape drawings using Photoshop.  By using this technique you will be able to produce easily scalable, and accurate representations of your design that can be used to refine proportion and check packaging.
page last updated; 2014-06-15
Website optimised for use with
Like our site? Then remember to share it with your friends!
Bookmark and Share
Spreadfirefox Affiliate Button