End of an Era – Tutorial Tuesday

Well, it had to happen eventually I guess.  Despite thinking I would have it forever, I had to pull the trigger and get rid of my Mercedes Benz E55.  Although no tears were actually shed, I came close.  So, with this post comes the end of an era.  No longer do I have the 600hp 4 door, 3 car seat, dragster… and I am a sad cat.

However, with the departure of the E55 I bring you two Tutorial Tuesday’s for the price of one… free.

First, lets do a simple conversion of a car photo into a Disney-esque creation.  Grab a photo of a car (duh) preferably a shot from the front with a slight angle.  Next, grab the cartoon eyes and mouth from an outside agency or a Disney site if you have permission.  Make sure the eyes and mouth come from a car sitting in close to the same position.

1.  Open your car image and a copy of your car image in Photoshop.  One will remain “normal” and we will squish the copy.

2.  With the copy active, squish it by re-sizing the image (Option-Command-I on the Mac).  Uncheck the constrain proportions box, and lower the width by about 30%.  You can undo and redo with varying amounts of reduction to taste.

3.  Go to the original car image.  Using the selection tool of your choice, make a selection around the front wheel and fender area.  Copy your selection and paste it into your squished image.  Repeat for the rear wheel.  You should now have 3 layers; 1 with the squished image, 1 with the front wheel and 1 with the rear wheel.

4.  Using the move tool (V) relocate the normal sized wheels into their proper positions in the squished image.  It helps if you lower the opacity of the wheel layers to around 30% or so.  This way you can match the center of the normal wheels to the center of the squished wheels.

5.  At this point you should be looking pretty good, but the devil is in the details.  You will need to use the close stamp tool to clean up any mismatched body lines near the wheels.  You will also need to fade in the ground under the wheels using a large sized eraser with the opacity set to around 20%.

6.  Now, open up your cartoon eyes and mouth image.  Using the selection tools of your choice, make careful selections around the eyes and mouth respectively.  Before pasting into your squished image, you may need to adjust the dimensions (with the “constrain portions” box rechecked) to match.  I was not able to find any 4200 pixel wide cartoon images and had to resize down to 2000 pixels wide or so.  Copy and paste your selections into the squished image.

7.  Again, like we did with the wheels, move the eyes and mouth to their proper positions.  Unfortunately, we will have to do a few more steps to make them match up.  Use the Warp tool (Edit>Transform>Warp) to warp the eyes to the shape of your windshield, and repeat for the mouth to your grille.  Use the eraser tool to help blend in the edges.

8.  Unless you were super lucky and found a cartoon car the exact same color as your car, we are not yet quite finished.  Grab the Color Replacement Tool (Image>Adjustments>Replace Color).  Using the eyedropper, click a portion of the cartoon car’s color you would like to replace and deselect the Localized Color Clusters box.  If not enough color was selected, adjust the “fuzziness” slider of use the eyedropper with the + sign to select more of the incorrect color.  Next, click the Replacement color swatch.  Using the dropper click on an area in the body of your squished car.  You should be about 90% there.  If not, you can grab the brush tool (B) and hold the Option key to get the eyedropper and sample a color from the squished car.  Lower the brush opacity to around 25% and change the blend mode to Color.  Paint over any remaining incorrect color areas until removed.

9.  Marvel at your cool creation.

The bonus tutorial is a little more straight forward, but can also make a cool image.  This is often referred to as the Out of Bounds image.

1.  Open your image in Photoshop, and duplicate the layer twice.  Rename the first one “Frame” and the second one “OOB”.

2.  Create a new blank layer immediately above your background layer.

3.  On the Frame layer make a rectangular selection (M) around the portion of your subject you want to be in the frame.  Transform the selection (Select>Transform), and once in the transform dialog go to Edit>Transform>Perspective.  Drag the handles to skew the selection so it looks somewhat angled into the background.  Invert your selection (Shift-Command-I) and push Command-X to cut out the area outside your selection.  Finish the frame effect by adding a Layer Style (double click the layer).  We want to add a Stroke style.  Adjust the Size to taste, and switch the position to Inside.

4.  On the OOB layer make a careful selection around the portion of your subject you want outside of the frame.  Your selection needs to be exact in the area outside the frame, but can be rougher and extend into the framed area.  I use Topaz Remask 3, but OnOne MaskPro and CS5’s Quick Selection/Refine Selection tools also work great to make exact selections.  The Pen tool is the most exacting selection tool, but can be difficult to master.  Once your selection is as perfect as its going to get, hit Command-X to cut away the remainder.  Hide the Background layer, and you should have a pretty good idea of what your image will look like.

5.  With the OOB layer selected, double click to add a Drop Shadow layer style.  Adjust the Angle, Size, Spread and distance to taste and select OK.  Now for the cool part.  Right click the Drop Shadow layer nested under your OOB layer and select “Create Layer”.  The shadow is now on its own layer.  You can now mask it out of the inappropriate areas, skew and distort if needed, and anything else you can do with a layer.

6.  Select the blank layer, fill it with a solid color and a gradient and you are all done.

So, since this is the End of an Era, here are a few more bonus images of the Beast…

This entry was posted in Things, Tutorial.


  1. Chris Nitz April 19, 2011 at 6:38 am #

    Thanks for the tutorials, I may have to shoot my car just to have fun with that Disney type shot!!
    Chris Nitz recently posted..Macro Express

  2. Jason Hines April 19, 2011 at 7:08 am #

    Great images Rick and thanks for the tutorial. I’ll have to try it out soon!
    Jason Hines recently posted..Vacancy

  3. Chris Frailey April 19, 2011 at 7:50 am #

    Great job on the tutorial Rick. Had a lot of fun reading it.
    Chris Frailey recently posted..Under Lock &amp Key

  4. Mike Olbinski April 19, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    I didn’t get a chance to read your tutorial, but I love all these images of your car and I join in you a sad farewell to it!
    Mike Olbinski recently posted..Morning on the Bradshaws

  5. Jesse Pafundi April 19, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    Great stuff here, loved both tuts and really dig the car shots. Stellar compositions.

  6. Jan Winther April 19, 2011 at 8:31 am #

    I can understand why you would be sad to let that car go…
    Love the “Cars” look on your Merc.

  7. Scott Ackerman April 19, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    Great shots. Really like the comp of all of them.
    Scott Ackerman recently posted..The Windsor Hotel- Atrium

  8. Kristi Hines April 19, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    That’s so cute with the first one, and amazing images after, especially the first one under bonus images of the Beast. You have some great portraits to remember it by though!
    Kristi Hines recently posted..Return to Sender

  9. Lois Bryan May 3, 2011 at 8:11 am #

    LOVED this!!!!!! Thank you for some great ideas!!!!!

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