NR2003 + PHOTOSHOP: PAINTING DETAILED BASES Back for more I see Hello and welcome to another chapter in NR2003 Base making! It's time to move on from the simplicity and really start to take full advantage of your photoshop abilities and the tools at hand. Don't worry though we won't be jumping too far into the deep end quite yet. While this is labeled as "detailed bases" I can assure you it won't be anything too overwhelming. Here is a list of things you will learn / be covered in this tutorial. 1) Learn to use the pen tool to make curves with the bezier handles of the pen tool 2) Integrate multiple layers of a base to blend together using proper use of color, spacing, and detail to make a complete NR2003 base. 3) Learn to use more unique tools, hotkeys, and techniques in photoshop to further your base skills. Difficulty level: This tutorial will be for intermediate painters. You've painted a few bases here and there but nothing past the basic shapes of lines and colors. It's time to take the training wheels off and step into the next tier of base making. You are on the road to greatness, just keep focused. WHAT YOU NEED - Photoshop CS2-CS5(Cs5 is what I currently use) - NR2003 mod template . . . . regular cup, truck, SSCOT, BR2011, NWS2011, etc. (I will be using the NWS11 Mustang for this tutorial) While I may be using the NWS11 template these 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 2011 in this tutorial) - willingness to try and be enthusiastic about painting cars PREREQUISITES - Skill level above beginner, if you have no clue how to paint a base I suggest you start here: http://www.simracingdesign.com/drawing/347...-photoshop.html - This tutorial will not go over how to line the lines up on the car unless it's for a very tricky and specific technique, we assume you already know how to do this. - You know the basic functions of photoshop such as what the pen tool is, how to use it's basic functions and the layers panel in photoshop. You also know how to apply some of the basic effects such as strokes and color overlays. Painting Detailed Bases: Get the idea So here we go! First thing to do is open up a template you want to paint on. Any template you feel comfortable with will do. For this tutorial I will be using the Nationwide Mustang. Once your template has opened in photoshop we are all ready to go for the beginning stages of making a detailed base. The only other thing you may need is an idea. What I mean by idea is what sponsor will your car use? While this is not 100% necessary a sponsor can and does dictate the way a base will look for the most part, what colors will be used, and even the shapes of it. If we were making a base for a pink sponsor that was happy looking then we'd mostly likely make a base that was soft and smooth with pink tones of color added to it. For this tutorial chose Circuit City. Knowing the sponsor already gives me a head start on what the base will look like. Since I want the colors of the base to match the sponsor I will most likely use red, black, gray, white, and other similar tones. For the design of the base since this was an electronics store I will most likely make the base have sharp curves and points to give it that feel of hardness. This may seem like a rather trivial and boring step but it really can help you formulate ideas of making a good detailed base. Half the challenge of making a detailed base is not the actual creation of it but rather the originality of it. Yes, good for you, you can recreate Jeff Gordon's flame base. While it's a cool thing to remake what if I told you to make a flame base from scratch and have it not be a Jeff Gordon themed one. Could you do it? You see, it's not just knowing how to make a detailed base but also having the ability to recreate new designs each time you plan to make a fictional car. Even if you are not making a fictional car knowing how to think outside the box will make it easier for you when you need to recreate an existing design from an existing racecar. For me I'm a 100% fictional painter so I will assume you are also here to not just recreate some cars but make your own designs as well. Now that we've got the big talk out of the way time to really get going on the base. Painting Detailed Bases: Know thy pen tool The first thing I always do in making a detailed base is to get the base color to a somewhat similar color of the sponsor or what I feel should be my car's primary color. I've already made the base color red as shown in the image above. The next thing I do right after is get the pen tool ready. Tip: You can either click the pen icon in the toolbox or you can press the letter P on your keyboard for the Pen tool hotkey. Next thing I recommend doing after you've got the pen tool selected is make sure your parameters for the pen tool are correct. These parameters appear on the top of photoshop and will look something like this: Now don't get lost, it's a lot of buttons, I know. All you need to focus on right now are the 2 icons that I placed a number above. I could just say "use these" then pat you on the back, and say "you are good to go!" but I will explain them to you of course so you know what they are for and why you need them to be set as so. The first one I labeled (#1) is what will the pen tool do when you start creating a shape with it. I have it selected to create a shape and not the other option that is to create a path. Some people make bases creating paths, with a path you can cut things out, fill the path with a color, and many many other things not related to painting a base for NR2003. The main reason I don't use a path is once it's been made it's not as easy to edit or manipulate as making the pen tool set for shapes. Tip: It is really all about preference really, my way is no better than another way to make bases. This is as I've always said just one of the many ways you can paint a base. If you get the same outcome then it's not a wrong way to paint the car. With shapes we will always have the handles on our shape to manipulate as many times as we want. Trust me we will be doing a lot of manipulation and trial and error. With detailed bases you can expect to have to do a lot of moving around with shapes to make the base work. The second option I have selected in the image (#2) is the pen tool. The other one is free form which we don't want at all. Free form would basically allow you to 'draw' or scribble the shape in one final swoop. Unless you are a robot or computer there will be now way to get a perfect shape so stick with the manual pen tool. Painting Detailed Bases: Block it out Alright now that you understand the options that are needed to be selected go to your toolbox's foreground color option and choose a color. For me I am going with black. This will define the color of the pen tool. It can always be changed later but we will use a color that contrasts the color of the base so we can easily see what we are doing. Tip: to quickly change between foreground and background colors in the toolbar you can press the X button on your keyboard to quickly switch between the two colors. If you are painting a detailed base and have two different shapes with two different colors this is extremely useful. So next in your template we need to start designing this detailed base. I like to start on a door since it's the easiest place to start and define what the front , top, and rear of the car will use. For the starting design of my circuit city car I want to have a sort of jagged sharp design with a few sharp curves included. Let us start with the jagged line that will go from the front to the back of the car. Now here I could actually create the shape point by point but instead grab the rectangle shape tool that is part of the pen tool's basic shapes. Create a line that goes from the front to the back. Congratulations you are now blocking out the design! The thing to understand every detailed base must start somewhere and it's going to look awful in the beginning. Designs are always a work in progress and the more you work on it the more refined your final goal with it will become. As shown in the basic tutorial the next thing we will want to do is move the handles of the rear part of that line we made to the back of the car. This time however I will be introducing a new method to move the pen handles. Make sure your direct select tool is selected. Now drag and click around the two back handles as shown in the image below: As you can see we just selected those handles. Now move those further up the base. The next thing to do is start giving shape and form to this line. Go back to the pen tool and start to add more handles to your line. For every line you add make sure it will be used to further block out and shape the base. Don't add more points than you need but add enough to get the job done. The whole process of blocking out is to make your life easier in painting and also give you the most flexibility to get the shape locked down. A very similar process in 3Dmoeling is done. Modelers start out with a very basic shape with few vertices and as they continue modeling they slowly add in more points always making sure those points are serving a purpose to the overall design. To add more points hold down the pen tool option and you will see more options. Select the 'add anchor point tool' this will allow you to add more points to your shape's line. This was briefly discusses in the last tutorial. Now we will be using it a lot. When you add points you will notice 'handles' start to appear with every point you add. This is the first thing we will need to fix. We aren't ready to start adding curves to the base yet. Here is currently what it should look like after adding more sets of points to the shape: Now to remove the curve handles go to your pen tool and hold the options down again and select the 'convert point tool' this tool has 3 purposes: The first is to make a point like a hard edge on rectangle shapes, the next one is it can create curve handles as we currently have on our shape. These allow for us to smooth transitions and curves to our base. The last one is a more complex version of the curve handles where it will break the handles. We are not going to deal with those much in this tutorial they will be for another time once you've got down the basics of how to use the curve tool first and how to manipulate the handles. Now click on every point in the shape that you created to removed the curve handles. this will as a result bring them back to normal hard edge handles. After you've done this move the handles around to create a shape. For me, I'm going to start my jagged line shape. How I made the shape was by simply drag selecting with the direct select tool each pair of points I created and move them around the base to create the desired shape as follows: I'm still not quite satisfied with the way this shape looks in the blocking out process so I'm going to add a few more points and edit them to look a little more like this: ahh much better! I now feel I've got this single shape layer blocked out. From here we have many options. When I mean many I mean infinite possibilities really. We could continue to shape it more, call it good and slap a stroke on it, add curves in, add effects, change the colors, and so much more this tutorial can't even go into because it would be an entire book by the end of the list. For the purpose of this tutorial we will create some of these points into curves to 'finalize' the way we want to make the shape look. But before we do so you should save your work! There are two ways I save my work, one is the simple and easy method of saving the photoshop file, the other is creating a duplicate of this shape layer and sticking it in a folder in the layers panel. This is extremely useful and helpful if you need your blocked out layer shape again. A few good reasons would be: 1) You messed up, darn, no way to go back to the original shape you had. 2) You want to use the design for another car design or part of the car. Much easier to start off the same shape then start all over again. 3) You need a comparison between the new manipulated shape and the original. I've circled above the button to 'hide' a folder or layer from appearing after you've dropped in your duplicated layer. You can create as many folders as you want for organization purposes, just have one, or none at all if you simply don't want to save your layers. This is all really preference in this tutorial and just showing you one perspective on how to paint bases. Tip: to rename a folder in the layers panel double click the name. As we continue forward the layers panel will however start to look like a mess and folders are a great way to segregate what on earth every layer is. As a base becomes more complex the amount of layers used increases. The more layers means if something in the base has to move all corresponding layers have to move as well so it's a good process to keep things neat and tidy. Now what do you say, lets give that hard edge jagged line some fangs =) Painting Detailed Bases: Creating Detailed Curves The next step in the process is start to define the exact shape of the layer. In this case we want curves to be added to we will select the pen tool and choose the 'add anchor point' option. Just as before every time we ad a new point it will already have the curve handles for us. Instead of converting these points to hard edge we will now leave the bezier handles. To show how you manipulate these handles I've created a new composition with a few curve points already added.. The images below will show you the basic functions you have with these handles and how they can affect the shape of a layer that uses them: Make sense? good =) Now start on the layer in your base and add some curve points to make the design more complex. This is what I came up with adding a few curved points in my shape layer: Now don't freak out or become frustrated going "how'd you do that!!??!!" Using the bezier handles and knowing how to manipulate them correctly will take a little time and practice to get used to. Don't expect on your first few attempts with a new tool that you'll be making sunshine and lollipops of happiness in your bases. It will take awhile to know how the curves work and how to make everything nice and neat. A couple of things to keep in mind when working with a layer that contains curves: 1) Every point adjacent to the curve will and can affect the shape of the curve. 2) Deleting points can help make a curve transition smoother between points. 3) adding hard edges between two curve points can give you a sharp edge like a fang or blade if you are going for a design like that. Now with these simple techniques and tips I've shown you I am now going to complete the rest of the side of the car. I will use a few different colors to separate the layers and a few different sizes and shapes to make the side look completed. For starters I am now going to block out the bottom half of the design. I started back at square one by simply blocking out the shape. I want this lower half design to follow the shape as the design above it so I did a quick 'trace' to mimic the top design: Tip: If you can't see where you are drawing a shape turn off certain layers or part of the car to see all visible parts of the base. Next I will add more points and use the curve points once again to finalize it's shape and contour to that of the design above it: Tip: You do not have to create one large layer for a shape, sometimes it's best to break it into pieces. This is extremely useful for sections that are not going to be seen on the final template. Now you are probably thinking "Why not just add a stroke to that top layer and be done with it?". Well you could do it by creating a layer that is under the detailed layer by following it's path: Then add a stroke to the top layer and call it a day: The only issue with this is you aren't learning much by letting the program make a stroke for you. Likewise the stroke tool is limited. Yes you can choose to make the stroke inside, center, or outside the edge of a shape but the farther the stroke gets from the outside of the shape the more the sharp edges you have become smoother and we don't want that. If a design you are making needs smooth fat lines then good. But for this base the stroke tool just won't cut it. I only use the stroke tool as a final detail touch up, not a defining tool for the overall base. It also limits your flexibility in detail. Since we aren't in 101 simple base making we are not taking any shortcuts to make sure we are in fact making a detailed base. For now I feel there is just a little bit more to do on this side of the car. I'll add a few more white lines to accent parts of the base and give it some depth: Tip: If you want your base to look more animated or give it a real feel of motion don't be afraid to over emphasize some of the curves to give them that big and sharp look. Great now let us see how this is looking so far in a 3D viewer: Alright, not too bad. Right now we aren't focused on colors or extra details quite yet. Move on to the front, back , and other side of the car. Remember to keep saving your files frequently and if you need to keep your layers palette organized as more layers are created use folders to contain them. Tip: You can also label any layer in the palette to a specific color by simply right clicking on the eye icon (the icon that shows or hides a layer) and choose a color. Use the same steps and techniques to create the rest of the base and you will be well on your way to finishing the rough stages of it up: Just as I showed in the basics tutorial use the flip vertical or horizontal layer functions to do the other side of the base. There is no reason to do both sides from scratch unless you are making a base that is supposed to be lopsided on purpose. Painting Detailed Bases: Final Touches Now that we've got the base basically done it's tine to add in the final details such as strokes, gradients, adjusting colors, and so on. This would be a good time to start adding your car numbers, and primary sponsors on the car. We add them now so we can make sure the numbers and primary sponsors don't conflict with the color of the base. For example if we have a white sponsor we want to make sure no white on the base will make the white logo hard to read. Alright so we now have the sponsors on it's time to see what needs fixing. The first thing I notice is the white detail I put on the base matches too much with the sponsor. I may change the color in that to a more off white / gray color. The numbers could use a better and more bright outline color so I may add a white outline around them. I also feel the middle section of this base is still rather flat. I decided to scrap the top part of the roof on the base and make a whole new section that spans to the front all the way to the back of the car. The goal in all of this is to make the base of the car flow well with the sponsors. As it is right now the hood is very dull with that circle sponsor. It starts to come to a time in it all where it's more on your preference of what you like than me telling you "this is how it will be". After those changes this was the final result: And there we have it! One detailed base =) Detailed bases come in many shapes and forms. Don't feel that is one car is how all detailed bases are like. It mainly depends on the sponsors and what you want to design in terms of detail to it. For this car I used well over 50 different layers to create the base not even counting the numerous adjustments that were made along the way. Hopefully you've learned a few new things in this tutorial to further your understanding of making more than simple bases with the pen tool. The goal in this was not to show you this car with tons of effects slapped on it but rather simple tools used in unique ways to make it. Anybody can grab pre-built effects in photosotop to make stuff. However, if you want really awesome designs using just the core tools such as the pen tool as your foundation it will make those effects make the base even more outstanding. Painting Detailed Bases: Final Info Some extra tips, good hotkeys, and things to remember to make bases a lot quicker and easier for you: - Merge layers tool: After you've made a lot of the base and don't plan to edit certain parts of it anymore make a duplicate of the layers and then merge them together by selecting all those layers and then pressing ctrl + E. Make sure you only merge layers that you plan to use the same color. It makes it so you can hide all the other layers and just have a few in the end process to do major edits on. You can also find the merge tool in the menu bar under Layers > Merge Layers - Block it out: start the design out as simple as possible with the pen tool before going crazy adding curves and such. No need to try and hyper detail everything at the beginning only to find out the design doesn't look good in 3D mode. - Apply effects last: Don't jump the gun on effects like strokes, glows, blurs, and other things until you near the end of the base design. Get that core design down then start adding the eye candy to it. - Gradients: One tool that is very useful and simple to use would be the gradient tool. If you do use it you will notice some parts of the car (like from the hood to the sides) won't blend smoothly. In order to make the transition of the gradient smooth you might have to create two separate layers with two separate gradients to match the color up perfectly. It can be time consuming but gradients on a detailed base can go a long way. - Transform hotkey: If you need to move, resize, or rotate a section of a shape layer you can with the transform hotkey. If you drag select 2 or more points with the direct select tool press ctrl + T on your keyboard. This will activate the transform tool. It can allow you everything from resizing just the points you selected, rotating them, and moving them all while the rest of the shape stay in place. It's come in very handy for me and will no doubt be shown in further detail for tutorials later on. This concludes my second tutorial. Hopefully you've gained some insight and more understanding on how to go beyond the simple rectangle tool in photoshop. As always if you have any questions feel free to drop a post in here, this is after all a help section to help you paint better =) Oh one more thing I never mentioned. This was my first time ever painting on this ford mustang template before. Just goes to show it's not so much the mod or template but rather the skill to make the bases. thanks, ~Mystical The base used in this tutorial was made for a fictional #21 Circuit City: http://www.simracingdesign.com/showroom/35099-we-re-you-well-used.html#post377472 If they came to hear me beg ... If you are still unsatisfied with the difficulty of this tutorial and feel this isn't anywhere near your skill level to learn something new or at least new concepts on how to paint don't worry. I still have plenty of future tutorials I can make. Just let me know what you want to see or how complex you want me to go and I'll make it.