This tutorial will teach you how to professionally retouch photographs of cars using Adobe Photoshop – change the colour of the bodywork, remove the background, create atmospheric backgrounds, create reflections & create shadows.
Firstly, it is always best to begin with a high quality image – perhaps 300dpi & as large as possible. If you are just practising your photoshop skills, you can find lots of large images in Google Images.
Using the Photoshop Pen Tool
Choosing the Pen Tool from the tool bar, start drawing a line around the shape of the car. Using the bezier curves you can achieve any shape, with a little effort. To perfect your shape; using the white arrow tool, zoom right in selecting and moving each point in the path – until you are satisfied with your shape.
If the vector shape you are drawing is filled with colour, try double clicking on the shape in the layers window, then turn the opacity of the shape to zero. Once you are satisfied with the path shape, select the shape in the layers window then click on the Paths tab.
Right click on the shape Vector Mask – then click Make Selection.
To give the shape a smooth edge, you can feather the selection – 1 pixel should be enough. Then go back to the layers tab & simply copy and paste the car.
Repeat this process to cut out the tyres, grill panels & windows.
Create an atmospheric background
Once you have copied and pasted the car, you can create a new layer behind the car & create a gradient background.
I have created a second layer of clouds, simply by going to: Filter/Render/Clouds. Choose two colours – I have chosen purple and black. Then make the clouds layer opaque – maybe 30%
I have also altered the colour of the car – by selecting just the bodywork of the car, going to: Image/Adjustments/Colour Balance & adding more yellow – & I have slightly tinted the windows.
Shadows & Reflections
Create a shadow
Create another layer beneath the car, then draw a rough shape of black colour – then you can blur (Filter/Gaussian Blur) the black shape by perhaps 10 pixels. This will create a shadow.
Create a reflection
The reflection needs to be created in sections – the side of the car, the wheels & the front of the car.
Using the lasoo tool, roughly select the side of the car (from the front of the wheel arch to the back of the rear wheel arch) – copy and paste the selection, then flip it vertically. By rotating & skewing the image (Edit/Transform), you can transform the image to realistically mimic the reflection.
Repeat this process for the front bumper & tyres – you may need to skew or warp each image to get them into the correct position.
The reflected wheels need to be created seperately – if you copy & paste the sides of the wheels, then flip them vertically, they should fit into place quite nicely. The tread of the tyres will need to be created by using the clone stamp.
Finally, when you are happy with the reflection, merge all of the seperate layers of the reflection & turn the opacity of the reflection to about 60% – then, using the rubber tool (200px – 10% opacity) rub out the bottom of the reflection to create a fade-out effect.
You should now be left with the final image: