How to transform a car into a chop in Adobe Photoshop

November 23, 2009 in Featured, Photoshop by admin

How to transform a car into a chop in Adobe Photoshop !

In this tutorial Cucu Tudor-Ionel shows us, using some mad virtual tuning skills, how to make a chop that is amazing out of an image that isn’t so bad itself. Come see a cool car become and amazing car and learn the steps on how to do it yourself. The PSD file is included with this tutorial.

by Tudor Cucu (crimzprod) in collaboration with Radu Matei.

Freelance graphic designer Cucu Tudor-Ionel is a student located in Bacau, Romania and currently writing tutorials based on personal projects. At the age of 13 he started working in photoshop doing virtual-tuning, and then creating different tutorials and websites in his non-existent free time.

Things you’ll learn in this tutorial :

  • How to change the background (Importing the background and changing luminosity and colours )
  • How to change the old reflections
  • How to open the headlights
  • How to change the rims

Donors :

Step 1

Open a new file and then import the main stock image with the car and 2 different reference pictures that we will use to change the background.

Select the car itself, and copy it onto another layer (Right click after you made the contour of the car with the Pentool and select Make Selection.. with feather 0px )

Tip: I always make my selections by using the Pentool (P), this way I can easily modify it, by subtracting, intersecting or adding to the selection, and I can easily select the feather radius, so that no sharp edges appear.

Step 1

Step 2

After this copy again using Pentool (P)the ground level into another layer, like I did

Tip: Keeping the layers in this order eases the insertion of the sky part in the background.

Step 3: Import the Sky

Drag the sky layer into the work space (step 1). Place this layer beneath the ground and car layers. This way you’ll be able to move and transform it (with the free transform tool), while seeing how the end result will be (step 2). I also mirrored it (image – rotate canvas – flip canvas horizontally), so that the sunny part matches the lighter part on the car. Step 3 is the end result.

Step 3

Step 4: Import the field and mountains

Now we have to make a transition from the asphalt to the sunset sky. We’ll use a field and mountains for the horizon. Select the mountains and field (step 1). Copy this into another layer, and drag it to the work space, placing it just beneath the car layer. It will need some transformation to fit in (step 2).

Delete some part of the field, making it look like the road stops into it (step 3). Also mirror the layer, so that the lighter part matches the sun’s direction. Also adjust the brightness and contrast a bit, to match the environment (step 4). Step 5 is the end-result. The parts are there, but they don’t quite look good, we need to work on luminosity and colors.

Step 4

Step 5

Adjust the hue and saturation (image-adjustments-hue/saturation) of the sky layer, to make it a bit lighter (a bit more yellow, less saturated, and more lightness).

Also adjust the brightness and contrast of this layer, to make it lighter (+6 to brightness and +8-10 to contrast).

Step 6

Step 6

Select the field layer (1). Set the brush tool to color mode and 14% opacity, and about 90% flow. Select an orange shade from the sky and brush over the selection once or twice, to make the field’s color match the sky (2).Repeat this for the car layer and the asphalt layer,brushing over them a few times to match their color (3, 4).

Step 7

Set the brush mode to overlay, and about 10% opacity, and brush over the right corner of the ground a few times, to match a bit better to the light conditions of the environment.

Step 8

Select a smaller brush, and set the opacity to 60%, keeping the color black. Brush alongside the ground layer, where it meets the field, to make the transition smoother.

Do this on both sides of the car.

Step 9

Make a new layer on top of all, and fill it with a yellow shade, maybe lime (I used #ecff4b). Set the layer’s mode to color, and it’s opacity to about 20%.

Step 10

Make a selection using Pentool(P) using feather:1 and than move the selection and copy a sky part and replace it on the right place.

The background changing is finished(Move all the layers used for changing the background in one group and merge it, we don’t need to interfere with them anymore.

You should have a result similar to what i realised in the photo below.


Step 11 – Reflections

Start erasing some reflections from the paint, like these tree reflections. There are no trees in the background near the car, so that wouldn’t make sense. Select the are you want to modify, and use the Brush(B) tool to brush the reflections away. Select a color near that area, and try to make it look right. In other areas, use the smudge tool to do this. Tip: Sometimes it is good to use a copy of the layer you are using smudge on, in case it doesn’t work out right.


Round off other reflections, like these treetop reflections, to give it a better flow. Do this for the reflectiosn on the front arch also.

We need to erase the part of the old background that is visible through the windshield. First of all, select the area that we need to modify. Follow the images to figure out how you should make it.

Use the Smudge Tool (R) to erase that part. Smudge in the directions shown by the arrows, to get the best results (to get a more realistic result). Select a nearby dark color by using the Eyedropper tool (I), and, by using the Brush tool (B) with a big size (150 or so), and about 15% opacity, brush a few times in the lower right corner of the selection.

Brush a dot of white, in a new layer, about 40px wide and 100% opacity. We will use this to fake some clouds. Smudge the dot all over, in long, somewhat parallel strokes. At the end, use the eraser tool, set at about 10% to make it less contrasting.

Step 12 – Reduce Noise

The car has some noisy areas, select them, and then choose Filter – Noise – Reduce noise. Try experimenting with different values, till it looks right.

Step 13 – Lights(1)

Lighting up the headlights would make the car look like It’s ready to go, so let’s try to do it.
Set the brush tool (B) to about 90 px, Linear Light mode and opacity about 15%, with white color (#ffffff).


Step 14 – Lights(2)

Select a short strip at the bottom of the headlight, to make the reflection of the light. Brush it with white, bright as the bulb. Repeat this, with the inner lines, near the bulb.



Step 15 – Lights(3)

Select the outer part of the headlight, along with the rest of the car. Brush once, with about 50% opacity, in the outer part, like so. Set the brush to 30px, and 1% opacity. Brush many times in this area, more and more as you near the actual headlight. This is the light that the headlight projects onto the body of the car.



Step 16 – Lights(4)

Set the brush to normal, and make a ~30px wide dot in the center of the light bulb. Set the Smudge tool (R) to 10px, and 75% strength. Smudge from the center of the dot outwards, to give the impression of light rays. This headlight is now finished.



Step 17 – Lights(5)

For the other headlight, start with brushing a line along the edge of the car. Use the Linear light mode, about 10% opacity and 35px. Don’t worry about lighting up parts of the background, this is actually correct, as the light brightens up the area. Brush again along the right part of the headlight. Select an area like in the picture, then set the brush to about 100 px, and brush at the right part a few times, with 10% opacity. Brush one last dot, like in the picture, with about 45 px.


Step 18 – Lights(6)

Set the brush to Overlay, and about 450-500px and 10% opacity.. Brush in the lower left corner of the picture, to make the light that is projected on the ground. The headlights are done.


Step 19 – Rims(1)

We’ll change the rims on the car, with something that looks better. For eg these tech-art rims, they’ll look perfect. We’ll use one rim out of each angle, so that they match perfectly the angle of the car. Select the rim, copy it into the workspace, and start using the Free Transform Tool (Ctrl-T) to bring it into position.



Step 20 – Rims(2)

Select the arch of the car, keeping the rim layer on top, and lower the brightness about 15 units. This will make the rim match the arch’s luminosity better. Also lowering the rim’s brigntness and contrast a bit helps.


Step 21 – Rims(3)

Select the rim, and set the brush tool (B) to Overlay, and about 155px, Black color. Brush alongside the left part of the selection once. The front rim is done, let’s move to the back one.


Step 22 – Rims(4)

(1)Select the back rim, and Free Transform it into position.(2) This time we’ll have to use hue/Saturation to bring the saturation and lightness down a bit. Also set the contrast a bit lower, from Brightness and Contrast. (3)Select the arch part that is still visible from the car, and lower it’s brightness down till it matches the rim. (4)Select the rim and brush alongside the selection with black, on overlay and about 65px settings on the Brush tool.


Step 23 – Rims(5)

Apply a photo filter (Image-Adjustmens-Photo Filter), to warm up the colors of the rim.


Step 24 – Contrast

The car’s contrast is a bit low comparing to the rims, we should work this out. Select the car, and lower it’s brightness about 10 units. You can also increase the contrast, but this makes the bright parts a bit too bright.


Step 25 – Lights(7)

The tires in these parts are darker than the shadow, looks a bit bad, let’s fix it. Make a new layer, between the car and the two rims’ layer. Set it to Overlay. Set the brush tool (B) to about 30 px and brush in the green areas with black. Start erasing the edges of the brush trail, to blend it better.


Step 26 – Erasing the rims brand(1)

Firstly, select the lower half of the sig, precisely the half that has a dark black reflection. Brush it over with black. Keeping the selection active, use the Eyedropper tool (I) and select a near-by lighter colour. Set the Brush tool to about 35px, 100% opacity and flow and brush alongside the top part of the selection once.


Step 27 – Erasing the rims brand(2)

Step 2. Select the top part of the sig, above the darker part. Using the color selected previously, brush over the selection. Select the whole sig now, and set the Brush tool to 50px, 50% Opacity and Black color. Brush over the right and left of the selection with one stroke. You should get something like this.


Step 28 – Erasing the rims brand(3)

Step 3 To remove the back rim’s sig, start by selecting it. Use the Eyedropper tool again to select a color from nearby the selection. Brush over the selection, covering it all up.



Watch the difference !

Click on the image to view it at high-resolution.

Download the PSD


See Part 2 of this Virtual Tuning Tutorial HERE !