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how to create highlights in a car body?

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  #1  
Old 02-11-2012, 01:10 AM
emartin8907 emartin8907 is offline
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how to create highlights in a car body?

inspired from the work on this site: http://www.curvedigital.co.uk/

they create thin white highlights that run along with the curves of the car, as if created from kino tubes or something. some of them are also not so thin and look like they were made from an overhead light bank or panel.

anyone care to 'shed some light' on this for me? :P

Im thinking something to do with gradiants?.. would you make a selection of the area you want filled in? or just mask it? any and all ideas appreciated here
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Old 02-11-2012, 08:42 AM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Thumbs up Re: how to create highlights in a car body?

I'm thinking:

Scale model of similar cars to observe where the light would go, alternate shots to observe where the light would go.

Using pen tool to select "edges" of panels.

Using inner glow on selected paths, and then warping and painting those, then masking to retrieve gradients.

It's truly amazing, thank you for the link.
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Old 02-12-2012, 12:49 AM
emartin8907 emartin8907 is offline
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Re: how to create highlights in a car body?

thanks skoobey, i shall play around with that method tonight!!
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Old 02-14-2012, 10:30 AM
eraanexact eraanexact is offline
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Re: how to create highlights in a car body?

Those are most likely multi-image composites where each section of the car is lit differently to maximize the shape of that particular area. For example, the shot where the lighting on the hood is excellent might not have well-lit rims, so another shot is taken of the rims and composited onto the "hero" car image. It's certainly possible that some of the highlights were illustrated. I've used similar techniques that skoobey has described to achieve similar results.
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Old 02-15-2012, 04:04 AM
emartin8907 emartin8907 is offline
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Re: how to create highlights in a car body?

yea i know for commercial work (at least in the automotive world) they do a shot for each part of the car (chrome trim/ rims/ tires/ windows/ panels/ etc etc) so i wouldn't be surprised if they had many images to composite from and that this is not JUST retouching work. at least i would hope :P
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Old 02-21-2012, 04:45 PM
eraanexact eraanexact is offline
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Re: how to create highlights in a car body?

Oh there's plenty of retouching there, to be sure. Doing car ads for any length of time will make you quite proficient with masking very quickly, which a retoucher can utilize for light to heavy illustration to simplify reflections or pump up detail. All of the fantastic automotive retouchers that I know have advanced illustration skills.
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:18 PM
kav kav is offline
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Re: how to create highlights in a car body?

Quote:
Originally Posted by emartin8907 View Post
yea i know for commercial work (at least in the automotive world) they do a shot for each part of the car (chrome trim/ rims/ tires/ windows/ panels/ etc etc) so i wouldn't be surprised if they had many images to composite from and that this is not JUST retouching work. at least i would hope :P
Some of them post their breakdowns. I imagine they must be quite careful on matching things up when they shoot the different angles. Even if they aren't 100% perfect, they obviously want a quality product, and too many transformations can really mess up the sharpness no matter how much resolution is available. The other thing is that I've noticed some shops have at times used rendered versions of reflections (obviously from cad/mesh data) for compositing purposes on photographic vehicles. You might actually be able to achieve a better match this way especially with enough information from the scene and a dedicated highlight pass for compositing purposes. The problem is that cg reflections always look just a bit too perfect as even if you emulate a large light bank, you don't have the minor imperfections in manufacturing of the lighting equipment. You have to mess with them and blend things a bit so that it doesn't look weird.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eraanexact View Post
Oh there's plenty of retouching there, to be sure. Doing car ads for any length of time will make you quite proficient with masking very quickly, which a retoucher can utilize for light to heavy illustration to simplify reflections or pump up detail. All of the fantastic automotive retouchers that I know have advanced illustration skills.
I agree with you, but I'm going to add to it.

Edit: also pen tool masking is mostly just an understanding of tangency and good point management along your path, like not creating unwanted inflections with your handles, not placing more points than necessary, not overlapping handles which creates a weird S shape when it attempts to interpolate the path along that area.

Everyone has their own bit of variation on how they approach that stuff. It's easier to understand if you try to break down the process further. Each one of those highlights would have required multiple shading passes to get the right shapes and falloff to the lighting/reflection. I think when people see this stuff they zero in rather than treating it as such. They just see a reflection. If I had to draw something like that whether it was on paper or in photoshop, it would take me a number of passes to get the right falloff/blend at different edges of the highlight. You just have to ensure that you you're not hitting it with a lot of conflicting adjustments as that has a tendency to kill the photographic image detail. It still needs to look like a photo, not a sketch.

I've also mentioned before that many people who just play around with retouching things in photoshop don't familiarize themselves with their tools to such a level. Whether it's a pen, mouse, large tablet, small tablet, etc. you will have trouble doing such work if you aren't comfortable enough with your tools to do clean line drawing. That means whatever the settings, you should be comfortable sketching directly in photoshop. That can mean playing with tablet mapping settings to where they're comfortable or turning off mouse acceleration and just starting out with straight lines and sweeps. My opinion is that you should be able to do really clean line drawing and shading before attempting complex reflections and shapes.

Here's a question in case you happen to know.... how did they initially develop car work for their portfolio assuming reasonably strong drawing skills (I've done a lot of retouching, and I still probably draw better than I retouch, also I went to school in photography and I have a little experience with 3d modeling). That's an area where it's much more difficult to obtain quality photographs. I considered modeling out a couple, but it's quite difficult to get things just right along fillets and A-pillar blends. CAD software has better tools for it. I suppose typical 3d software would be much easier for this with a better background knowledge of car design. *end rant*

Last edited by kav; 02-21-2012 at 07:29 PM.
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:34 AM
emartin8907 emartin8907 is offline
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Re: how to create highlights in a car body?

Wow thank you so much for your post Kav!
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:56 AM
kav kav is offline
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Re: how to create highlights in a car body?

Quote:
Originally Posted by emartin8907 View Post
Wow thank you so much for your post Kav!
I'm glad you got something from it dude. You know... if you read some of the breakdowns and sometimes blogs from some of the really high end retouching studios, they talk a lot about their process. Taylor James has a youtube channel with a lot of making of videos of major advertising work.

I notice a lot of cool stuff. They make reflection/refraction passes which are generated as separate layers. They add bits of hdr/ibl as what look like separate passes to limit the effect of said reflections. They add off camera objects to create subtle shadows and lighting variation within the frame. It's very cool stuff. Now they state a lot of that, but not all of it. Some of this stuff I just picked out by watching their breakdowns. If you've done some retouching, cgi, and real drawing you start to spot these things. CGI actually is amazing for helping understand retouching and stuff too. It really gives you a sense of when something looks too polished to a point of being unrealistic, because with cgi you have to add that bit of rounding to the corners, and imperfect refraction to the light rather than working against it.

I've gone back to making drawings in photoshop too. I like to create sketches or storyboards of what I'm going to model out, then model the concept out and use retouching to finish it.

I'm trying to model out some cars myself. I guarantee they won't hit G3 continuity across primary surfaces or 100% correct fillet radii, but I may post some anyway. I'm trying to get 90% of the visuals there via my own modeling skills. Advertising typically works from CAD data or 3d scans. I don't have access to either.
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:40 AM
mcdronkz mcdronkz is offline
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Re: how to create highlights in a car body?

Very interesting stuff Kav! I've been doing some stuff with CGI lately. Learned the basics of Maya, but it feels really cumbersome and it isn't fun at all to work with. I feel like going the Modo route... It would be very cool to be able to create CGI environments for photographic cars, no more limits whatsoever!
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