How to Create a Dark Car Scene in Photoshop

November 25, 2009 • By

In this tutorial, we are going to create a dark and atmospheric car scene. The result of it, is something in semblance of Batman’s dark ‘bat mobile.’ The effect attempted, is to give the car image more solidity or weight visually wise.

Step 1

First off, load this picture of the Peoguet Parna. It was downloaded from rocketdock.com. You can also download more free car images from getcarwallpapers.com. The actual size of this picture is 841 by 595 px and so this will be the dimensions we’ll work with in our tutorial.

Step 2

Now select the Pen Tool (P) and trace out the car along with the ground itself. Select the the Layer Mask button (the third button from the left, right below the  Layers Palette) to make a layer Mask.

Select car

Step 3

On the menu bar and select Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation and set the Hue to -147 and the saturation to -80.

saturate car

The end result is a light bluish tint on the car.

saturate result

Step 4

Open the “drought” texture that will be used for the background. You can get more textures such as these for free at www.megatex.nl. This texture came from the texture pack they supplied to my 2005 cover disk for Computer Arts. Adjust the image size to the appropriate size that would fit the current workspace and then used Shift+Ctrll+U to desaturate the texture.

Step 5

Now drag the texture over to the car image making sure the texture layer appears below the car layer.

Step 6

Make a copy of the Mask layer  and name it “car copy.”

Copy result

Step 7

Selecting the “car copy2” layer, reduce the brightness of the car by -10 and increase the contrast by 5.

Step 8

Select the texture layer and  reduce the brightness by -60 and increasing the contrast by 10.

The result would look like this:

Step 9

Proceed to add a lowly lit background for the texture layer “bg texture” by selecting; Filter>Render> Ligthening Effects and choosing the light type as Spotlight.

It turns out like this:

Step 10

This might seem like a step overdone, but still go on ahead to Filter>Render> Lightening Effects and select the light type as Omni. Lighten up the  already lit background. This is to create a subtle gradation of light.

Step 11

Yet again, darken the background texture  with the brightness at -10 and the contrast at 10.

Step 12

Select the “car layer” and darken it by  reducing the brightness by  -20 and the increasing the contrast by 5.

Step 13

Select the Brush Tool (B) from the Tools Panel, setting the brush property at Soft Light and the Opacity at 90%.

Now go to the Brushes Palette. If you don’t have this enabled, just hit “F5” or go to  Window> Brushes. On the Brush Presets, click on Texture and select the Granite texture. Also, check Invert and scale the texture to about 107%.

Step 14

Still on the Brush Presets, click on the Dual Brush  Preset  and then pick Splatter (27 px) with the mode set to Darken. Other settings  under the Presets are; spacing:6%, Scatter: 512% and Count:1.

Here’s the result when the brush is applied with simple clicks or taps (as in my case with a laptop).Donot applied the brush with swipes or the splattering effect  wouldn’t show through.

Splatter result

Step 15

Select the Burn tool (O) and choose the Range as Shadows.

Burn tool

Step 16

Use the Burn tool to darken the edges of where the Splatter brush was used.

Burn Splatter

Step 17

Also use the Burn Tool to darken the top edges of the car that appear to have a whitish outline.

Step 18

Select the Blur Tool or click on (R).Set the brush size to 31px and strength to about 70%.

blur tool

Step 19

With a swipe or two, use the Blur tool to blur the light reflection that runs from the bonnet of the car and across the windshield (windscreen that is). This is to make the edges of the refleciton of light looking  to sharp in this dark composition. Also apply a blur below the right hand corner of the picture.

Step 20

Apply a Color Layer Fill to the image by going to the Layers Palettes, selecting the fourth icon from the left .Then selecting  Solid Color (#515355). That done, set the Blend Mode for the Color Fill Layer to Soft Light.

Step 21

To project the car as being blended with the background as against “sticking out.” Double click the first car layer to enable the Layer Style options. Apply a Drop Shadow effect with the Blend Mode set to Multiply; Opacity at 85; Angle at -40; Distance at 16px; Size at 15.

There we have it, a “bat mobile” inspired Peoguet Prana!

Final image

By David Ella Ella

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