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In the final step add some freehand highlights using a 60% opacity brush on a new layer. Now its complete!
Using the ‘body’ path, create a new layer and ‘stroke’ with a thick black line. For the lights create 2 dark red ellipses to sit in the recessed pockets. Then ‘dodge and burn’ them and ‘bevel and emboss’. The same applies for the yellow indicator lights. Create the exhaust pipes by ‘dodge and burning’ a light grey path.
For the window colour use the path created in step 2, then in the ‘gradient’ function select two colours for the window and drag a gradient over the window selection on a new layer. Transform this selection slightly smaller than the window area, this should reveal part of the dark grey shadow behind [created in step 1] giving the window some depth
Using the ‘burn’ tool on the colour layer you can burn more contrast into areas that will be in shadow. Separate paths can be created to give the area you are burning a crisp line for parts such as the rear arch bulge. On a new layer create a path for the wheel arch highlight, select a brush with 100% opacity and the required diameter and ‘stroke’ these path lines. Then by using the ‘Gaussian blur’ filter spread the white lines to give the impression of curvature of the surface, this is a good technique to use on belt lines and wheel arches as it can help control exactly how much roll on the body you desire. By using the existing layers created when burning the surface you can invert the selection and delete to give a crisp line.
At this point you might feel the difference between the darker lower area of the body and the upper surface that is reflecting most of the light is not severe enough. To correct this I picked the orange I had used on the body and selected a colour several shades higher and on a new layer brushed the new orange, I then deleted that colour from the lower area with a new path. This path can also be used later on when applying the split line through the whole car. For the wheels I imported existing rims, created a path around them and then motion blurred to disguise the rim design.
On a new layer using the ‘body’ path, add some orange colour [approximately 60% opacity] to the focal point of the car making sure to fade out into the outer edges. It is also a good idea to add some sky colour. For this I would make a few sweeping brush strokes on a new layer, making sure some of the spread of the brush stroke hits the outer edge of the bodywork. Invert the body path selection afterwards to delete anything that isn’t on the body. Then ‘merged link’ the two layers with the orange and sky colour, feather the inverted body layer selection. To add more depth, make a separate path for all darker areas and shadows, with this path selected go to ‘brightness and contrast’ and adjust to a darker level.
Using the ‘body’ path selection, apply a darker grey in the main focus point (closest corner). This will help add depth to that area later on.
Using the paths tool, select the outer line of the image and fill with a very dark grey. ‘Path’ the outer line of the cars bodywork and fill with a lighter grey on a new layer. Adjust the brightness of the lower part of the body to give a shadow break. It is a good idea to feather the body layer to blend into the background colour. To ensure you do not encroach on the window area when building the path for the outer body, you can also build the window paths at the same time. Then hold down shift and drag a selection over the window path you have just created. Copy this onto a new path layer. When you make the path a selection it will choose the area between the outer and inner paths created.
Create a line sketch using as accurate perspective as possible since every perspective mistake made at this stage will be more evident once the shading has been applied, although there are opportunities to correct this later on.
Once the sketch has been scanned in, open the ‘levels’ box and use the picker tool to select and remove any dirt from the scanned image.
Switch this layer to multiply and make sure you keep it at the top of your layers throughout the whole process.
For the rear light cluster insets create a series of white ellipses on new layers, ‘merge link’ these ellipses and switch this layer to multiply. In ‘blending options’ select the ‘bevel and emboss’ function and play with the angle / depth and type of emboss needed. This embossed layer will give a clear and consistent effect to all the recessed areas. You can also use this feature for the central split and door split lines by stroking a path with a think white line, multiply then bevel and emboss.
Adobe Photoshop Rendering

Jonathan Tatum is a BA graduate from Coventry School of Art and Design (UK) and MA graduate from Umeå Institute of Design (Sweden). Currently working for Menard Engineering UK, he has had previous experience in the studios of Land Rover, MG Rover and Jaguar cars. He is also the 2005 winner of the Interior Motives award for Best Conceptual Interior. In this tutorial he will take you through the process he uses to create polished Photoshop renderings. A lot of the techniques used here are an extension of the techniques he has learnt from Harald Belker’s video tutorial. Further examples of his work can be found on his website at
page last updated; 2014-06-15
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