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[Tutorial - Beginner Level] Painting Basic Bases in Photoshop

Discussion in 'Drawing' started by Mystical, Dec 17, 2011.

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  1. Mystical

    Mystical Always 110%

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    I made this tutorial back in early 2008 on a now (mostly) dead painting site for NR2003. I figured it may do some good here so I'll post it here. Depending on how popular / if people find the tutorial useful I may make more advanced ones in the future for different NR2003 painting techniques and tips. I highly recommend you read this thread first as it can show you more info on how to use the pen tool: http://www.simracingdesign.com/drawing/22457-base-making-beginners.html

    There are many different ways to make a base for NR2003, this is just my method.

    NR2003 + PHOTOSHOP: THE BASICS

    WHY?

    There are 3 reasons why I am making this tutorial and possibly more in the future:

    1) A lot of ppl here have or are getting photoshop and want to paint cars but don't know all the features on how to use it well.
    2) It gives people the info they need to paint cars and I am always a big fan of seeing new custom base painted cars in the showroom :D
    3) I like giving ppl who have never been able to paint cars for NR2003 the ability to finally do so and give them a shot at what they can paint instead of always hoping one day they can paint cars or using pre-made content.

    Difficulty level:

    This tutorial will be for beginners. Those who are just starting or need a refresher in NR2003 base making using only photoshop and a basic 3d viewer program to line the lines up for the base.

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    WHAT YOU NEED

    In order to even paint cars you need a few things, first off you need NR2003, I would never just paint a car randomly if I didn't have the tools or game to do so. You obviously will need one of the versions of Photoshop as well. This tutorial is not for any other painting program so it won't do you much good if you don't have the proper program. Here is a small list of programs you'll need for this tutorial:

    - Photoshop CS2-CS5(Cs5 is what I currently use)
    - NR2003 mod template . . . . regular cup, truck, SSCOT, BR2011, NWS2011, etc. ( I will be using the SSCot for this tutorial) While the SSCOT is 'old' the same tips and steps in this tutorial can apply to any other templates for NR2003.
    - 3D application that can view your schemes, either Carviewer, Maya, 3DS Max, or zmod. ( I will be using Maya 2008 in this tutorial)
    - willingness to try and be enthusiastic about painting cars


    Photoshop Interface

    Here we go! now to the painting part of a car! Nope. . . .you first need to familiarize yourself with Photoshop before you can even think about painting a car for NR2003. Your car will only be as good as your knowledge of the programs you use. You may have sweet ideas but a lack of skill in the program to portray those ideas will hinder your goal so it's best to learn the program you plan to use so you know exactly how to make the base you want.

    I will assume a few things, you have all the required programs I listed above for this tutorial, you know how to view paint schemes using something as simple as carviewer, you have NR2003, AND you have Photoshop installed and ready to go on your pc . . . now let's begin :D

    Open up Photoshop if you haven't already, if this is your first time then welcome! I will be taking this entire tutorial through Photoshop from a NR2003 painter's perspective so I will only focus on the main basic tools essential for painting a basic car. There are other nifty tools to make your cars look even cooler but that is the advanced stuff. Now if you notice on the left side of your screen you should see a tool box:

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    Here is all the important tools you need to familiarize yourself with to paint cars for NR2003:

    1- Selection tool: Your basic arrow to move layers around your composition and perform basic tasks
    2 - Selection marquee tool: use this to either delete or copy certain sections of a layer
    3- Paint bucket tool, best way to cover an entire layer in one solid color
    4- Pen Tool: The main tool to make lines and designs for a N2003 car
    5 - Type Tool: Just Like word, you type #'s and letters with it
    6 - Pen selection tool: used to move individual points of a pen layer to manipulate the handles
    7 - Eye dropper: used to get a certain color from a composition
    8 - Color swatches: the current colors you are using
    9 - View modes: Various modes to view your composition

    Got all that? good, now look to the lower right corner of CS3, there should be a layers palette, if there isn't, go up to Windows>Layers palette to open it up. If you see any other palettes to the right of your screen use the double arrow on the top of them to collapse them down. We won't need them right now. So here is the layers palette:

    [​IMG]

    1 - Blending Modes: Various modes to make layers blend with other layers
    2 - Folder layer: a layer that contains multiple layers in it for organization purposes
    3 - Standard layer: simple layer where you can add properties to manipulate it
    4 - Effects options, various effects you can add to a selected layer such as a stroke or color overlay
    5 - Create Layer folder: Creates a folder out of the selected layers you choose
    6 - Create layer: Creates a blank new transparent layer
    7 - Trash can: Place to delete layers
    8 - Opacity: Effects the level of transparency on selected layers

    Painting your first car: Basic Pen tool designs

    So here we go, I will be using the SSCOT Chevy for this demonstration but feel free to use any template you like as long as you have the carviewer/3D viewing content for it.

    So go to File>Open and browse for the template. Once it opens you will notice your layers palette is now full of a huge of layers, I find it rather messy so I simply selected all the common layers and created a new folder to organize it. So we will start out simple since this might be your first time. Let's make a basic line base using the pen tool and a simple effect known as the stroke. First grab the paint bucket tool and select a color you like from the color swatch area . . .any color will do :D Now go to your base layer on the template you are working on and select it. Now in the composition, click the bucket tool and the color you chose should transform the color of your cars primary base. Good, now click on the pen tool.

    Now using the keys ctrl + zoom into the hood and click while using the pen tool to make an outline of you hood. Once you have the outline completed make sure to connect the end of the pen tool line together to complete it. Then in the layers palette (with that shape layer still selected) click on the effects option and click on stroke. Change the stroke color to something different. Also you can change the primary color of that shape layer by using the color overlay effect. Here is an example:

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    As you can see above there are many other effects but we will only be using stroke and color overlay for this. I made the stroke white and the overlay a kinda grey color and you can see in the last frame of the animated gif. The stroke options are pretty self explanatory, you pick a color, you choose where the stroke will lay on the pen line and how thick that stroke is. The color overlay option is a simple color swatch to choose a different color. If you complete the hood like above then Congrats! You just make a successful design using the pen tool :D . Now before you move on, try fooling around with the pen tool more, don't worry about those other pen options quite yet, stick with straight lines for now and try to repeat this basic formula again until it makes sense.

    Alright, lets make the rest of this car shall we?

    Painting your first car: Lining up the lines

    Down below I have further used the pen tool (using straight line only to create a simple base. Only paint on one side of the car, the front and back. leave one side plain, there is a trick later on to mirror your design so you only have to do one side of it :D To make straight rectangular lines you don't have to click the pen tool and manually make a rectangle. Right below the pen tool option in the toolbox is a pen shape option. You can choose the rectangle option to make easy straight lines. I would suggest trying to make my base design as shown below since it may be easier to follow the tutorial, but whatever works for you:

    [​IMG]

    After you have that don't worry if the lines are not straight, just get a rough look first, THEN you will refine it. Now open up your 3D application / carviewer, we need it to see the design you just made works. For mine to work I need to save the car file as a TGA, it may be different format depending on what program you plan to use to view your car design. In Photoshop, go to File>Save and save as the file to whatever format your 3d viewing program requires. Now open up your 3D application, load the car model and apply your base texture to it.

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    As shown above, zoom into the front part of the car, or a section of your base where the lines clearly are not properly lined up. To fix this switch back over to Photoshop . . . .

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    At the bottom of the Photoshop tools palette is the viewing options, switch it to full screen view so you can move around the entire comp without any borders getting in the way if you want. Hold down the SPACEBAR while holding down the left mouse button to move around the comp. Use ctrl + and - to zoom in and out. Zoom into the front section of your car where we will start lining the lines up.

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    As you can see above I've zoomed into the front of the car where those lines are. Now here comes the tedious part, you have to "guess" where those lines need to be to match up perfectly on the front of the car. Some templates offer a wire mesh to make it easier to line up where things go but we are going to assume the template you are suing doesn't have this layer featured in it. So we are doing this the old fashioned way so you will be best equipped for any template down the road. Pretty much how it works is you move the points of the shape layers a bit either up or down, then save the current file and reload it into the 3D program to see how it looks. You are basically refreshing the image in your 3D program like you would hit the refresh button in a browser almost. The the closer you get the lines the less you move the points until they match correctly. It takes TIME to get used to but after awhile it makes sense and lining those darn lines up becomes faster and easier. I've been painting NR2003 cars on so many different mods for so many years it's gotten to the point where I'm able create a rough basic base in photoshop and when I view it in my 3D program the lines ware almost exactly where they need to be. Some info on how to manipulate the pen shape layer to move the points is shown below:

    [​IMG]

    In your tools palette use the DIRECT selection tool (white arrow) NOT the Path selection tool. Now click on one of the points in the area you zoomed into and move either up or down depending on which way it may need to go to line up with the other piece. Move it a little bit by dragging with the mouse. Once you feel comfortable it is moved to a better spot, save the file in CS3 again and go back to the 3D program to see the results:

    [​IMG]

    Much better :D We have the lines at least in the correct area. Now go back to CS3 again and select the points on the shape layer again and move them a bit more . . .but THIS time instead of using your mouse to move the points use the ARROW KEYS on your KEYBOARD to NUDGE the points. Nudging the point is very precise compared to using the mouse so as you get closer to the lines lining up use the arrow keys to move them at a less distance. After you feel you've got it somewhere close again save the file and go back into your 3D program to see the results:

    [​IMG]

    We are so close now (y) Now go through the process again until you get it dead on, remember, don't expect this to take 3 tries for your first time like it did with me . . . sometimes you get lucky and other times I've spent over an hour on more complex angles lining those darn lines up. Patience is the key:

    [​IMG]

    PERFECT. Now go through this process on the rest of the lines on that one side of your base. Once all of those lines are nice and straight and they match you can move onto the next part.

    Painting your first car: Finishing it up

    Now that you got all your lines squared away it's time to mirror the other side of your base. Simply select all the shape layers that make up one side of your car. I like to create folders in the layers palette and group all the layers that make up one side of a base so it's easier to mange and copy multiple times. It's up to you how you prefer your organization in photoshop but it's important to remember more complex bases equals more layers which can be quite a mess in the palette without folders. Next make sure you are using the standard arrow key in the Photoshop tools palette, it is the top most tool in the tool box. Now HOLD DOWN the ALT key and DRAG a tad bit up your composition. OR in the layers palette select all the layers for that side of the car and drag it down to duplicate he layers. The shape layer should duplicate, as you can see we need to flip them, no prob:

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    As shown above, go to edit>Transform>flip vertical. Now your base it the correct way. NOW HOLD DOWN SHIFT and DRAG the layers over to the other side. By holding down shift it ensures they will stay perfectly straight and you won't accidentally move it to the side or something. You will have to do a bit of guessing again and you might even have to line some of the lines up again because even though the template looks even it really is not 100% the same on both sides for some templates, trust me I know there are a few differences that are as small as a pixel dimension but when painiting advanced schemes it makes all the difference. So once you get all the lines on that side squared away your base is done :D :

    [​IMG]

    So now what? Well you have sponsors, car #'s and maybe even color changes to make. The rest is fairly simple: Use the text tool to create #'s or a used PSD premade # and the sponsors you can import and move around. Here are some things that will help for #'s and Sponsors.

    - to import a premade # or sponsor, simply open the file, then select ALL the layers in that file, make sure your car comp file is open at this time as well. Then while holding down SHIFT DRAG all the layers into the car comp, now they are in it.

    - if you need to re-size something have that layer selected and push ctrl+T to open the transform handles, if you want uniform scaling hold down shift key while you move to re-size it.

    - you need to rotate a logos or # use the transform options to rotate it 90 degrees or whatever angle you need it to be.

    - if you are making custom #'s in Photoshop or another program and you want an outline on it simply add the stroke effect. If you want multiple stroke for a number simply duplicate the car # you made and make the stroke on the bottom number layer larger so it appears.

    Final Info

    Here are some basic tips and tricks to make a successful car:

    - Numbers: make sure the numbers are big and consistent, number's that are too thin or don't stand out well don't look good on the car. Having a green base with green numbers that don't have any outline would be a bad choice. Making the numbers white or have an out line that is brighter than the green color would be a good design decision.

    - the sponsor: The sponsor you choose dictates how the car will look, what colors to use, and the style to make. I find it easier to paint a car if I know what sponsor I will be using for it.

    - SAVE: I cannot stress this enough, if you are making a design for a certain sponsor and you get a cool design but it doesn't match what you need for that design SAVE AS that file so you can use it later on. It's also import to save frequently all the time so you never lose any data. You can even make backups on external HDD's for maximum safety and archiving.


    Well I hope this was or will be helpful for beginners. If you feel it was too basic for you but you want more tutorials please let me know and I'll make a tutorial that is more advanced or show techniques in other programs you've not seen. I will go into further detail on the pen tool and a lot more advanced features if needed as well for future tutorials. If you have any questions or comments about this tutorial or Photoshop you can always leave a post for further understanding.

    Thanks,

    ~Mystical


    The base used in this tutorial was created by Mystical and later on became a base for a custom #23 Dell car in the 2008 Armory Digital Cup series SSCOT Carset.

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    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
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  2. flyersfan4888

    flyersfan4888 I do things sometimes.

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    Great tutorial, dude. This will help a lot of newcomers.
     
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  3. Mystical

    Mystical Always 110%

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    thanks =)

    I hope to make more advanced tutorials of various other techniques and methods if the demand for it is great enough. I guess the best way to find out would be to make a poll of all the different tutorials I could make and see which ones people would like to see the most. I'm willing to share / create as many different tutorials as long as people find them helpful.
     
  4. NossedEvo

    NossedEvo Well-Known Member

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    Won't hurt a lot of oldcomers either.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .:wheelchair: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



    .
     
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  5. Jericohol14

    Jericohol14 Well-Known Member

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    Awesome tutorial! I like how you put a "Where are they Now?" factoid at the end.
     
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  6. PepsiRacer4

    PepsiRacer4 The One and Only

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    I'd be interested in a really complicated base making tut, mainly because I love the way you thoroughly explained what to do with the visuals and how it was expressed through the text. Bravo dude, bravo.
     
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  7. Mystical

    Mystical Always 110%

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    you got it ;)

    I was thinking about starting a series of tutorials on how to make paint schemes with flames, each one getting more complicated and building off of what the last one taught since flames seems to be a rather popular type of design for cars.
     
  8. Mo Neenja31

    Mo Neenja31 Rocketman Banned

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    Great tutorial!!!!
     
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