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Paint Preparation.... How to go from blank canvas to snazzy design!

Discussion in 'Painting Cars Tutorials' started by Alan Harkleroad, Mar 29, 2015.

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  1. Alan Harkleroad

    Alan Harkleroad SRD Site Administrator Admin

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    I started doing this in 2009. That's 6 years behind all the vets of NR2003 and even more behind the older generation. The benefit of being a late comer to the party is I had a wealth of folks to pull tips and ask my questions to. I am sure I annoyed the hell out of them. When I wasnt driving people like Matt O'Reilly, Jason Roush, Max72, Dylan Baadte, all crazy when I first joined SRD I was watching tutorials and playing around. Painting takes lots of time and effort if you are a details person.

    I started doing this one way and have ended up going with a completely different approach after years of experience and finding what works best for me. There was a time I would have done the base first, pen that out buy eyeballing it and just drawing away. Later when I would add my logos, things would look ok, but they could have been better. Thus you always want to be learning. Even if you only do one thing better, and another the next time, in the end all those things will add up.

    Anyway preparing to make your car. If you are making the base from scratch then I recommend you use this method to put your car together.

    1. Place your resources you need. Template, Numbers, Primary Sponsor, Associate Sponsors. These will give you contact points or reference points when drawing. Why should you do it this way? It will help you keep your base proportional to the logos and the body you are working on.

    2. When you are putting your decals on the template it's important to remember that straight on the car doesn't equal straight in the template. I have made some notes here on my rules of thumb as reference that I use when laying out my car. Zones and Rotations Pt 2.jpg Zones and Rotations.jpg Zones and Rotations 4.jpg
     
    TSF141996, Tetronix, Vince and 5 others like this.
  2. Alan Harkleroad

    Alan Harkleroad SRD Site Administrator Admin

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    3. Now once you have your decals on you can begin to pen out your design. Looking your research images from google, RURA, Zimbio, and the NASCAR sport pages.

    Now its time to paint. Step one is select your pen tool and place your first node. It doesnt matter where you start. Just pick a spot on the car. I recommend you break it into sections. It will make it easier to do the car in zones.

    Step 0. Placing the first node. Once you place 2 nodes in a line, to make a curve you simply right click the node and select curve before or after. In this instance Curve Before. Continue placing nodes and curving them to make flames. Adjust them as you see fit to make the flames smooth and flowing. This takes time and practice so be patient.

    Baisc Painting Steps in PSP Step 0.jpg

    Step 1. Once you get rolling and finish a section. You should have something pretty nice. Turn off that layer and create a new Vector layer. To begin the next area.
    Baisc Painting Steps in PSP Step 1.jpg

    Step 2. Move to a new section and again begin placing nodes for your curves working from one side to the other. Baisc Painting Steps in PSP Step 2.jpg

    Step 3. Again when you are done create another vector layer and move onto another zone on the car. Baisc Painting Steps in PSP Step 3.jpg
     
  3. Alan Harkleroad

    Alan Harkleroad SRD Site Administrator Admin

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    Step 4. Once you have your zones created for the car it's time to start mirroring up the sides, nose and tail. To mirror a design you will double click one node in the chain and it will select all the nodes. Select "Edit and Duplicate". From there right click the same node and select "Transform Selected Nodes", "Mirror". Baisc Painting Steps in PSP Step 4.jpg Baisc Painting Steps in PSP Step 5.jpg

    Step 5. Move your chain of nodes over using "Shift and Arrow Keys" . Once you get it close mind the distance from points on the wire mesh. Baisc Painting Steps in PSP Step 6.jpg

    Once your entire design is mirrored up and lined up you should have a nice base. From there you will shade, color, gradient whatever effects you are looking to do.
     
  4. Alan Harkleroad

    Alan Harkleroad SRD Site Administrator Admin

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  5. Darren Ingram

    Darren Ingram Well-Known Member

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    Great work, well put together!
     
    Alan Harkleroad likes this.
  6. Alan Harkleroad

    Alan Harkleroad SRD Site Administrator Admin

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    just want to note these steps in psp x2 (12) work in psp 9 and up. I dont have any versions below 9 so i cant speak to them.
     
  7. neiana

    neiana Well-Known Member Banned

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    Thanks for the tutorial. I use GMP but I believe I can follow your explanations just fine with the exception of a couple things:

    While I've painted cars for the series since the 90s, and even back when I had to buy the optional paintkit + Indianapolis track for the original ICR, I tended to be as lazy as possible. I never felt like learning anything or paying much attention. I pretty much learned the necessary resolutions, which file type to save as, then copy + pasted whatever picture I wanted and went racing. This makes for bland cars, most of the time -- especially when any sort of color outside the allowed template crashed certain games! Well, it's only been within the last 12 months or so that I've started to be more concerned with style since I lost my disc and am limited to essentially watching my cars on track. What I'm saying is, I'm probably the only one who has painted this long and doesn't understand something that's probably pretty basic but what is a vector layer and how does it differ from a regular "layer" ?

    I've used gradient before on the in game paint kit but never in a graphic program. Well I'm sure I can figure it out and mess around a bit but my question here is what is shading and how would I go about it?

    This tutorial is great and simple. The text on the screenshot certainly shows everything and I'm fairly certain that, despite not knowing the difference between a vector and regular layer, I could pull off a decent design if I followed your directions. I do have one qualm, though: The title says "...blank canvas to snazzy design" and while I learned how to achieve a snazzy design, it did not come from a blank canvas. The following are things not explained. I'm not complaining by any means but some of us may be brand spankin' new and others, like myself, are just a bit behind the curve.

    and finally this one raises a question to me. It's not a critique but something I am curious about:

    In the screenshot you show (on the blue base) that the logo should be rotated 3-5 degrees but in the next image the logos placed are straight. I do, however, see that there is an arrow pointing to a different area of the car and that area of the car has a logo that has been rotated. I'm assuming the arrow means "I'm talking about this area, not the area where this text is" but I want to be sure because yes, I am that paintdumb. :)

    Thanks so much for this. I'm going to try it out when I design my next set of cars this coming whenever-the-soon-to-be-wife-gives-me-permission-to-play-games-while-she's-awake.

    I was copy/pasting No Doubt's "Tragic Kingdom" album cover onto a car in game shortly after the album released... that is the PSP version I used to have. ;)
     
  8. Alan Harkleroad

    Alan Harkleroad SRD Site Administrator Admin

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    Vectors are fluid design, they are scale-able without loss to quality and remain adjustable always. Where as a standard layer is a Raster. Once your rasterize a layer you can no longer adjust any of the nodes or points. Thats why i say use vector because your design is never permanent and you can always go back and tweak and change things as needed.

    To your point about it looking straight. The axalta text is not, it is on a 3 degree Counter Clock Wise rotation. You can achieve this simply by right clicking the object and selecting the same area where you would flip or mirror, you should see an option to skew, or rotate as well.

    Now you could also use the pick tool and free rotate it, but you will have a hard time duplicating the exact angle on both sides, so for uniformity. I recommend the rotate option to specify the exact angle of rotation.

    Now to the point I made, straight isnt straight when it comes to the models because of body lines and warping. Examples. Green is straight. Blue is 3 degree CCW rotation.

    Straight isnt Straight 3 b.jpg Straight isnt Straight 3.jpg Straight isnt Straight 4 b.jpg Straight isnt Straight 4.jpg
     
    neiana likes this.
  9. neiana

    neiana Well-Known Member Banned

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    Thanks for the very quick reply. :) I see the huge difference between rotation and non-rotation there on the final product. I guess I will have to keep a look out for that sort of thing from now on.
     
    Alan Harkleroad likes this.
  10. Alan Harkleroad

    Alan Harkleroad SRD Site Administrator Admin

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    I hope that helps clear it up for you bud. Thanks for the critique.

    Also yes I see your point of starting with a blank canvas. To me a clean temp is blank canvas, I add the decals 1 at time. Each one in scale to the next and what it looks like on the car in my interpretation. Again using the points of reference I talk about.

    I will make a separate image for that. It should help shed some more light as to what I mean in my warped mind.
     
  11. Mystical

    Mystical Always 110%

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    wow pretty awesome how fast you got the tutorial up. Awesome work.
     
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  12. alfiej

    alfiej Well-Known Member

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    Alan Appreciate the time that you took to do this, It really helps a lot, Thank you!
     
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  13. pomcat

    pomcat Well-Known Member

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    That's Alan it looks very easy to follow. Do you put all the logos before painting or just locate where they are going? This could be the reason my paints tend to look crappy. Plus I don't think Gimp has vector type layers. But I can work around that.
     
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  14. Alan Harkleroad

    Alan Harkleroad SRD Site Administrator Admin

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    Not every logo but on average my cars before the base gets applied I apply about 70% of the logos. I always do the Contig's, Numbers, Primary and Secondary Sponsor before painting. even if it means I have to go make the logo before the base.
     
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  15. Vince

    Vince Sprint Cup Fan

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    Wow really nice tutorial. Thx a lot! All measures in pixels and angles are very nice to have.
     
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  16. Alan Harkleroad

    Alan Harkleroad SRD Site Administrator Admin

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    your welcome. I agree it's nice to have estimates of target sizes for different portions of the cars based on the model and mod.
     
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  17. RacerXero84

    RacerXero84 Obnoxious old fart

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    I've been painting a long time now, but it never hurts to have this on tap. Bookmarked (well-deserving of the sticky it has), helluva resource for people trying to get their feet wet in painting.

    Thanks Alan. This will might actually get me away from Paint.net and get me into Photoshop finally. To be honest, it scares me with it's complexity lol
     
  18. Mystical

    Mystical Always 110%

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    There is nothing wrong with using one paint program over another really for NR2003 cars. It only becomes a problem once you are feeling limited on what you can do or want to do is when using another program would be required. So if you feel comfortable you can paint how you like in your current program no need to just go photoshop and struggle learning a more complex tool for the sake of it. But if you are wanting to use photoshop since you feel your skills are being held back in other programs then welcome to the PS club.
     
  19. RacerXero84

    RacerXero84 Obnoxious old fart

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    Yeah the key element PS has over Paint.net is the level of AA used, and creating curved/pointed clean lines in PDN is near impossible without some intensive work. Like what is shown here about creating the flames, PDN does not have anything like that to my knowledge that would create something so clean.
     
  20. Alan Harkleroad

    Alan Harkleroad SRD Site Administrator Admin

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    @RacerXero84 I agree Photoshop, Illustrator, Paint Shop Pro, Corel Draw, all are vastly more complex then Paint.Net and Gimp. But before you drop between $50 and $1000 on a paint program it's good to learn your way through the basics. And get a feel on whether or not you really like this hobby. I started on Paint.net. Its a great program. When I made the jump to Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro I did so in Trial Versions. Trying to see what I liked better, suited my needs, again not a professional designer so do I really need to own the pro level tools or will the lower end get the job done. For me Paint Shop Pro is by far my favorite tool to pen things out with, it is so user friendly, works with vectors well, and has a lot of forgiveness built in. Where the Photoshop tools are really nice, but they are designer level and as such they kind of require you to have some formal knowledge of them, or at least that's how it felt when I first started working with PS.

    And as @Mystical said if you are fine with what you have by all means keep on keeping on. Eventually for most people it comes down to program limitations and not personal ones. When you reach a point where the application is holding you back and cant accomplish what you can see in your head then maybe take a step up to the next level. I went with PSP as my first paid for tool, I have 4 versions now, and all worth every penny. It's easily the most affordable painting program out there and way more powerful then some might think.

    And to the flames. I did them for the 14 BK car in 2009/2010 in PDN. They came out ok, but no where near as easy or clean as what I can do in PSP or PS. And more importantly in Paint.net once I made the lines that was it, there was no readjustment, you had what you had and thats it. Or you can hit undo and start over.

    The Firestorm test scheme is one year later after learning Paint Shop Pro pen tool. BK is Paint.net. You can learn and fine tune a lot in a few months to a year. Depends on your desire. That's what I learned.

    24 Test Base.jpg BK2010 Base.jpg
     
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