Another instalment of the hippy van project has arrived, and once more the blue van is ready to be improved.
In the first tutorial we added big wheel arches in order to make our van look aggressive, cool and fast, but this backfires somewhat (much like our van) when you realise that these massive arches contain these tiny wheels.
So what we want are some racing tires for all that drag racing we will be doing in our newly pimped out machine.
Step 1 We want to create a new layer group for this section of the project, so to do this go to the Layers menu as per usual, but instead of choosing to create new Raster Layer, select ‘New layer Group’. When the box comes up with options in leave it all to default but change the name to ‘Wheels’ or something similar for convenience.
Step 2 In another window within the workspace open the image you are taking your new wheel from, and then proceed to cut them it out and paste it into your image.
The Freehand Select tool is generally best for this as you can either manually create the line or use one of the more computer-aided modes; it all depends on your preferences, how steady your hand is and what image you’re taking it from. Place the Layer it has appeared in inside the group you just created if this was not what happened by default and then rename it to ‘Front Wheel’.
Step 3 Use the Picker tool (‘K’) to move the tire over your front wheel. There are probably a few things to change here; colouration, angle and perspective tend to be the most common issues, and of course size. We want it to cover up the old tire, so use the Scale mode in the Picker tool to increase the size of the wheel so that it is big enough to cover the old wheel and stretch it across its width to fill your wheel arch.
Step 4 Use the Shear mode (hold shift whilst using the Picker tool) to shift the perspective of the new tire so that its vertical is the same as the rest of the image. In this case it means a short shove to the right, but this depends entirely on your tire and picture.
Step 5 Now, since tires don’t tend to be outside of the car’s body we have to create the appearance that it is inside the car. The best way to do this is with a Mask Layer, so open Layers>New Mask Layer>Show All and enter the mask above your tire.
Step 6 Equip a Paintbrush (‘B’) and set the foreground colour to black. Set the size of your brush as you need to by holding Alt whilst left-clicking and dragging the mouse up or down, and make sure the brush hardness is somewhere around the middle so your edits have a soft-edge and don’t look too unnatural. Paint over the areas that the bodywork is currently underneath; to make it easy to see where this is use the Layer mode of the group to change their appearance so that the background layers will show.
Step 7 To create the rear wheel, right-click the Front Wheel group (which is only the Mask and the image itself and should be inside your Wheels group) and select ‘Duplicate’. Then rename the group and the layers within it to ‘Rear Wheel’ etc. and move the wheel over the back tire and resizing and altering it as before. The Layer Mask will need to be painted white again, right-clicking with the Paintbrush should paint with your background colour which is white normally, and the black needs repainting to fit around the rear arch. After this you should have some nice big racing tires on your car.
Step 8 To try to blend the tires with their new host image a bit better we shall add noise. Open the Adjust>Add/Remove Noise>Add Noise. In the window that opens up you can adjust the noise according to the image you are working with; mine only has a tiny bit of speckling so I’m only adding 4% noise, making the noise monochrome is also a good idea, and you can pick whichever of the noise settings you think looks best, though for this job I’d avoid random.
Step 9 We need to alter the lighting on the tires so it looks more like the rest of the image. The best way we can do this, and the way that allows us to easily apply the same lighting to the next tire we do, is to create an adjustment layer and move it into the group. To do this open Layers>New Adjustment Layer and then choose the tool you want the layer to be. Here we want to change the Brightness and Contrast so use that one. Just press ‘OK’ at first to close it, then move it into the group if it is not in there already before double-clicking it to use the tool it represents. Any layer underneath this one within the group will now be affected by it, so when you create your other tires simply place them lower than this layer in the group and they will have the same lighting as each other.
Step 10 To attempt to remedy the huge reflection on my tires open the Effects>3D Effects>Drop Shadow menu and set the shadow so it is upwards by pulling the tag on the line. Add a slight blur and check the ‘Shadow on New Layer’ option before clicking ‘OK’. Move the new layer containing the shadow out of the group and above it so it overlays everything, then use another Mask layer to shape it so it doesn’t cover the car body. Then clear the shadow over the tire walls and hubs, leaving areas to create a shadow of the wheel arch on the tire. Use a soft-edged brush and shades of grey to sculpt the shadow convincingly; remember that the darker you paint an area the lighter it will appear, so everything is in opposites here.
Step 11 The image looks ok by now, but what will make the image that little bit special is attention to detail. What is wrong with our image then? Well the tires have shadows from the old wheels, but not from the new resized ones. So what we need to do is add those. Enter one of your tire layers and select Effects>3D Effects>Drop Shadow. The options that come up mean you can really create whatever shadow you like, so play around and get what you want. Make sure you check the ‘Create Shadow on New Layer’ option so that you can control where the shadow goes with a new Mask layer for that in a bit. Since my image is reasonably bright and has quite a diffused shadow I have my opacity low and the blur up; try to match the characteristics of the shadow you are trying to blend with, then drag the point of the diagram in the bottom left in the direction and to the length of the shadow you wish to create. Click ‘OK’ and repeat for all your tires.
Step 12 Create Mask Layers on both shadow layers and once again use the Paintbrush to remove areas that should not be shadowed by the tire, such as the car body. Once you have done this your car should be looking pretty convincing, albeit unrealistic in this case.
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.