Car Caricature Render | 02 |Working on the Windshield and Creating the Chrome

how to draw a 3D car finished mustang painting

Here’s a sneak preview of how the finished painting will look

Want to learn how to draw a 3D car?

Now that you’ve learned how to apply color to your rendered painting and create awesome details such as the headlights, it’s time to apply these principles to other parts of our 1967 Mustang.

In this lesson on how to draw a 3D car, you’ll be learning how to create super realistic chrome and a windshield that looks ready for you to sit behind.

So, if you’re ready, let’s put the key in the ignition and get going!

Here are the key Points From This Lesson on how to Draw a 3D car:




Managing Your Layers

When working on this project or any other digital painting, it’s really important to manage your layers properly by naming them and keeping them separate until the final stages.

Merging your layers too early on can get you into all kinds of trouble – especially when there’s something major you need to change.

Instead, arrange your layers into groups by clicking on the folder icon in your Layers Palette and naming the group accordingly.

Here, you can see how April has grouped all her headlight layers into one folder called ‘Headlights’.

This way, she can always go back and change any elements if she needs to.

Within this group, she gives each layer a recognizable name, such as ‘Reflected Sky’ so she can quickly find the layer she wants to work on.

Trust us – layers can get mighty confusing if they’re not labelled properly!

Naming your layers is a really good habit to get into and will also be useful for when you’re collaborating with other artists on a project.

If your layers are clearly labelled, another artist will be able to pick up your work and make changes if necessary.


Creating an Awesome Windshield

The next stage in learning how to draw a 3D car is to start adding some other details. To create a super realistic windshield, first use the Lasso Tool to make your selection. Make sure you select the whole shape and don’t leave any areas de-selected by mistake.

Next, select a light blue color and fill this in on a new layer. You might find you need to go back in with the Brush Tool to smarten this up.

Once you’re happy with how the shape of the windshield has been filled, reduce the opacity so it looks semi-transparent and glass-like. Then, lock this layer so that you can apply some brush strokes of reflected light.


How to Adjust the Blending Mode of Your Brush

Here’s an awesome trick to help you create a super realistic windshield. Remember how you can alter the mode of your color layers so they reveal and blend in with what’s underneath?

You can do the same thing with your brush, too. In your top Menu Bar, you’ll see there are various modes for your Brush Tool. Change this to Multiply and apply some smooth, soft strokes to the windshield. After this, you can hit Ctrl + U to bring up your Hue and Saturation Palette and adjust the colors before applying more smooth, graduated tones.

Eventually, you should end up with a windshield that looks just like glass. You can even mask off areas to add shadow behind the driver and passenger seats.


Seeing Through the Side Window

Once you’ve finished working on the windshield, you can apply the same techniques to the side window.

Use your Magic Wand or Lasso Tool to select the areas you want, then use the Eyedropper Tool to sample colors from the windshield.

Change the mode of your brush to Multiply and add in some bands of light – remember that the side window will generally be darker than the windshield.

When you’ve finished the windows, you’re ready to move on with this lesson on how to draw a 3D car and create some chrome!


Creating the Chrome

To create the chrome for the grill, you need to go back to the Pen Tool to create a precise shape to fill.

Keep adding points and adjusting the handles on each so your shape matches that of the grill exactly.

To turn your path into a selection, hit A and right-click. You’ll now have the option to adjust the Feather Radius of your selection.

Because we’re after a sharp edge here, you can set the figure to zero. However, if you wanted a softer, more blurry edge, you could up this figure to get a different effect.




Once you’ve made your selection, fill this in with a light gray color.

You’ll notice that the grill is now obscured – don’t panic!

Go to Select > Modify > Contract Selection and adjust this figure to around 10 pixels.

You’ll now see that the detailed grill you spent valuable time working on has reappeared!

Use this same technique for the other parts of the car which need to resemble chrome – look at your reference photos to see where these should be.

Now, although your areas are now gray, they don’t look much like chrome….yet. To achieve this effect, you need to have highly contrasting tonal values – just like in the headlights.

Generally, the chrome shapes will be convex – meaning they bend our rather than in. This means they’ll catch the light differently to other parts of the car and that the top will reflect the blue of the sky and the bottom the warmer colors of the ground.

In the next lesson on how to draw a 3D car, you’ll be learning how to achieve these cool chrome effects to create bumpers and a trim that really pop in your painting.

Don’t be shy – let us know how you’re getting on by leaving us a comment in the box below!


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