This post was originally published in 2007
The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.
Use Photoshop to transform a digital photograph of your car into a flawless showroom brochure page.
The obvious thing to start with is an actual photograph of your car, we don’t all have a photography studio large enough to house a vehicle and the equipment to capture a professional shot but an image from your average digital camera will do for this mockup. You can help enhance your shot by using a tripod at a low angle, and try and prevent any major reflections on the car bodywork.
The following brochure page mockup is an example outcome of this guide, combining your manipulated image with additional elements and sales blurb to produce an impactful promotional tool.
Open up your original image into Photoshop. If your image is going to be used for print in the long run, convert to CMYK and adjust the resolution as necessary.
Start off by drawing a path around the outline of the car, zoom right in and keep within a few pixels to prevent any background creeping in when the image is cut out.
Make a selection from your complete path, then Copy and Paste the vehicle on a new layer and fill the background black.
The image has quite a sharp outline from where it was cut out. Reselect the layer and Contract (Select > Modify > Contract) by 2px then Feather (Select > Feather) by 1px, Inverse (CTRL+SHIFT+I) then delete. This should help the image blend in a little better.
Create a Black > Dark Grey gradient in the background to add a bit of depth to the image.
Duplicate your vehicle layer, then set the layer style to Multiply. This will transform the tones of the photograph and help it blend in with the dark surroundings. Merge down this layer (CTRL+E) to combine the two vehicle layers. If you notice a highlighted outline appearing as a result simply repeat the Select > Contract & Feather procedure.
As you can see, the sky from the original photograph is still visible, zoom right in and draw paths around the windows, then Desaturate the selection (CTRL+SHIFT+U).
Create a new layer and fill this selection a dark grey picked from the background. Setting this layer to Hard Light with around 75% Opacity will help blend in the windows.
Duplicate your vehicle layer, then flip vertically and position underneath the car to act as a reflection.
Draw a mask around the front section of the car’s reflection and press CTRL+T to Transform, use the Skew and Rotate options to bring the reflection parallel with the front of the car.
Adjust the Opacity as necessary (60%) and use a large eraser to fade out the reflection at the bottom.
The next step is to tidy up some of the reflections on the car, such as the tree showing through from the rear window.
Copy a section of the front side window and paste on a new layer. Position this selection over the tree branches and blend in as necessary with the eraser.
Repeat this process on the rear wing to remove the reflection of the buildings. Create a selection of a clean area of bodywork, Copy & Paste then adjust the Levels (CTRL+L) and Hue & Saturation (CTRL+U) to match the colour. Use the eraser to blend in.
Repeat this procedure on the other reflections to create smooth areas of colour. It may be necessary to copy multiple areas of different shades and blend them together. Use the Clone Stamp tool and Healing Brush to remove small blemishes and reflections.
Repeat this procedure again on the front bumper to remove the bright highlight, copy an area from the opposite side and use the Levels (CTRL+L) to blend in.
Brighten up the wheels to make them a little more prominent, draw a selection around them both, then adjust the Levels (CTRL+L). Don’t forget to repeat on the reflected vehicle!
Draw a path around the headlights and adjust the Brightness & Contrast (Image > Adjustments > Brightness & Contrast) to give more of a crystal finish. Use the Hue & Saturation (CTRL+U) to remove some of the blue tint. Repeat this step with circular selections of the fog lamps.
Draw another mask around the number plate and fill with a slight gradient using light shades of grey. Then add some text and use the Perspective, Skew and Distort from the Transform (CTRL+T) palette to manipulate into shape. Don’t forget to duplicate and place on the reflected vehicle too!
Finally layout the composition and add some additional elements to the artwork such as sales blurb from the manufacturer’s website to finish off your showroom brochure page.