Most of us have a car, and it's almost certain that thousands of people have the same car as you. So if you want to have a car that stands out from the crowd you can buy an extremely rare and expensive one, or you can customise the one you have. However, if you don’t want to risk voiding your insurance and potentially making your car completely illegal then you can always modify it using image editing software, such as Paint Shop Pro and send your mates the pictures. Convincing them that the car is really yours is a problem that, unfortunately, I can’t really help you with.
The star of the show is a nice little VW hippy bus (to use the technical term) I got off a stock photography website. These are not the most glamorous cars in the world so let’s try to breathe some life back into it by initially adding some massive wheel arches. Obviously this is only an example, it may be best to do this to cars that would actually suit this sort of thing.
Step 1 Open your image in PSP and duplicate the Background layer before renaming it. Then zoom in to the rear wheel arch. This one looks has greater potential than the big hole that masquerades as the front arch. So what we are going to do is match the two so they are the same as well as making them stick out from the body. Select the Freehand Selection tool and change the mode to ‘Point to Point’.
Step 2 In this mode the Freehand Select tool is much like the line tool in simple applications such as MS Paint; you click one point, then stretch out a line and click again to add another way-point.
Once you have drawn around the arch, double-click to seal your selection.
Step 3 Press Control and ‘C’ to copy this area to the clipboard, before scrolling over to the centre of the image (this is where PSP pastes items by default) and pressing Control and ‘V’ to paste the arch into a new layer. Now, use the ‘Move’ tool to place the new arch over the front one.
Step 4 There’s a bit of a size difference here, so we need to use the Picker tool to transform it. Press ‘K’ to activate the Picker tool and then change the tool mode to ‘Scale’ as you did before for the Freehand Select tool.
Now drag a corner tag on the selection box that appears and drag the arch out to roughly the same size as the front one and move it out to where you want the arch to be after you’ve finished.
Step 5 To fill in that gap between the new arch and the body we need to use the Push tool. This is the same as the Smudge tool, except that it won’t pick up any new colours you push into, instead it will just go over them with your original pattern. Select the Push tool (it’s behind the Smudge tool) and use it to push the colour of the arch outwards to create a realistic shape for your new arch.
Step 6 To fix any areas where you may have gone over details or the background open Layers>New Mask Layer>View All. Your Layer window will now look like this. The top thumbnail is of the assembled group of layers within the bracket; the top is the Layer Mask and the bottom is the image it will be applied to.
Step 7 Equip the Paintbrush with black as your foreground colour and start to paint over any areas you have accidentally covered up. You can change brush size on the fly by holding Alt whilst left-clicking and dragging the mouse up or down. Once you are done things should be shaping up nicely.
Step 8 Right-click the Layer Group that contains the modified arch and select ‘Duplicate’. Move the copy of the front arch to the rear and then use the same technique as before to make it fit, although you won’t have to perform the initial Pushing again. You can use the Layer mask to sculpt a variety of shapes, so try as many as you want.
Step 9 Now we have final tidying up to do and we should be finished, so let’s see what issues there are; there are edges of the original bodywork showing from behind the new arches where there should be the inside of the cavity, there are parts of the car poking out too, and the edges of the new arches need to be blended. Also, since the Push tool depends on your motion, it’s almost certain there will be some wiggles here and there where you should have clean, mechanically precise edges.
Step 10 First we will sort out the bits of paint that are sticking out that really should be obscured or give away our mod. So what we want to do is take the Clone Brush tool (‘C’) and zoom in to search for the areas we need to fix. On the front arch I have an area that is currently sticking out from behind the bottom point of the black area (which itself needs to be addressed since it’s a different colour to the original area). Clone the area that should be showing there instead by right-clicking a similar area nearby, here it’s the floor, and then brush over them in a duplicate of the Background layer to remove them without altering the original image.
Step 11 Now we have to cure the unsightly black area in the front wheel cavity; to do this we’re going to copy the original cavity and trim it to fit. Hide the mod layer by pressing the eye icon next to its thumbnail, and then use the Freehand Select tool to create a copy of the original cavity before pasting it into the image in a layer above the new arches and transforming it to cover most of the new area. You can always add to it by using the Clone Brush to fill in any gaps, and once all the area is covered you can continue. Right-click the new cavity layer and select New Mask Layer>Show All, then as before paint the layer mask to shape the cavity so that you can see the arches once again.
Step 12 Now we have to blend the edges of our arches into the bodywork and the border between our newly applied cavity colour. Firstly we need to merge the cavity layer with arches, so right-click the cavity layer and select Merge>Merge Down. Then do this again for the arch layer when it is above the duplicate of the original image.
Select the Scratch-Remover tool which is grouped with the Clone Brush, and then drag out the box over the area where the divide is most obvious; this works just like the blemish tool in that the central area is altered based on the areas selected by the smaller areas on either side of the selection. You may have to apply this too a few times to get a successful blend. Do this for the areas where the new arches are not blending fully with the bodywork too to create a smoother transition.
Step 13 Finally, to straighten out the edges of the new arches we need to reclaim the areas the wiggles are covering, but we need to do so with a straight edge. Use the Freehand Select tool in ‘Point to Point’ mode to set a straight-edged selection along the edges that have issues, and then select the Clone Brush. Right-click an area that is the colour of the area being covered and then begin to paint along the edge of the area, making sure you don’t cover any details that should be shown such as door-edges.
Step 14 If you plan to continue pimping your vehicle it is advisable that you separate the new heel arches back into their own layer so that you can do what you like to the body without any issues. So create a selection around them using the
Freehand Select tool in ‘Point to Point’, holding shift while you select the second arch in order to add it to the same selection as the first. Once you have them selected you can press Control, Shift and ‘I’ to invert the selection and press ‘Delete’ to clear the surrounding areas of the layer. You can rename this layer and create a new duplicate of the background layer in preparation for your next projects.
This is one of a series of tutorials that will guide you through a complete bodymakeover of our VW camper. The rest of the series will follow. The links below will become active as we add them or keep a look out in our techniques section.
In this series of 10 in-depth image editing tutorials, ePHOTOzine's Michael Bates converts a VW Camper van using Corel Paint Shop Pro. He splits the job into specific elements that you can follow and recreate with your own photos using Paint Shop Pro or any similar image editing program. Click on any of the links below to take you to specific modifications. We hope you enjoy. Please leave comment under each individual section and share the link with as many people as you can, to help promote our tutorials.