June 8, 2008

Car Vector Tutorial

After being away for so long, I've finally decided to make another tutorial for you guys. You may have seen some of my vectors I've made on my DeviantART. If you haven't, well, go check 'em out. Today I'm going to show you how to make a vector like my Car Vector piece.

We are going to need quite a few things for this piece. First, let's use this car stock from Stock.xchng, or you can use your own. We are also going to need a couple of skyscrapers as well. Click the images to view them full size.

Car- a schweet 1956 Chevy Bel Air Convertible. (Courtesy Google)

Skyscraper 1. (Courtesty Stock.xchng)

Skyscraper 2.(Courtesty Stock.xchng)

Skyscraper 3.(Courtesty Stock.xchng)

Seattle Space Needle. (Because it's just awesome and has to be in the piece; courtesy Google)

We will also need some brushes.

Here's a nice set of 378 abstract vector brushes courtesy PAULW at DeviantART. Yes they are Photoshop brushes, but remember Gimp can read Photoshop brushes. Just place them in your brushes folder. Refer to my guide to installing anything if you need help.

Here are some vector foliage brushes by ObsidianDawn that we will be using as well.

Here are some splatter brushes by ka05 that we will also be using.

Here are some galaxies brushes by Sunira that we will be using.

Here are some abstract brushes by r0man-de that we will be using.

1) Create a new image on a white background in Gimp. I'm going to make mine 1000x800, which is within the 4:3 ratio. Fill the background with #5f420b, or a dark brown.

2) For the background, we have to create a sun ray effect. In Photoshop, this is fairly easy seeing as one of the preset custom shape tools includes a sun ray shape. Gimp does not have this, so we'll do it manually. Get out the path tool. To make sure we will get the lines even, we will want to use the grid. Go to View > Show Grid. We will also want the snap to grid feature, so be sure to click "Snap to Grid" as well.

3) Now, in the tool box, make sure you have the same settings as I do, and then draw your first path, like in my example below.

4) In the paths tool box, click the Selection from Path" button. Create a new layer and name it "Ray 1." Get out the gradient tool and use these settings. Use #b7c14d for the foreground color.

5) Fill your selection like below. Start inward and make your way outward.

6) Select > Deselect. Now select the layer the ray is on and duplicate it. Layer > Transform> Rotate 90 Clockwise. Now get the Move tool and position the point of the ray along with the other one so that they meet at a 90 degree angle.

7) Now do the same with the layer we just created. Keep going until yours looks like mine. You may have to manually rotate the layers yourself. Here's a handy little guide as to what degree you should make each ray. The red lines are what you start out with, and the blue are what you should get. When you are done, now would be a great time to save.

8) Now we can turn off our grid and the snap to grid function, so do that. Let's get our car out. Open up your car as a layer and render with the path tool using the same settings as last time.

9) After you've fully outlined your car with the path tool, press enter and you should get a selection. CTRL-I. Delete. Select > Deselect. Now you should have a nice pretty car all rendered out. Don't crop out what may be in the windshield or other windows. Just leave that there. Resize your car and place it like mine.

10) Duplicate the car layer 3 times. Arrange the layers like so:

11) On each layer, perform the following:

Threshold Car Layer: Colors > Threshold (The settings don't have to be exact- just whatever helps define the car)

Purple Layer: Colors > Hue/Saturation

Again, the settings don't have to be the same. Just use a purple hue, lower the lightness, and raise the saturation.
Green Layer: Colors > Hue/Saturation

Again, the settings don't have to be the same. Just use a purple hue, lower the lightness, and raise the saturation.

Blue Layer: Colors > Hue/Saturation

Again, the settings don't have to be the same. Just use a purple hue, lower the lightness, and raise the saturation.

11) Now make all the layers visible. Lower the opacity for each one except for the original car layer. Make it somewhat like mine. The numbers in red are the opacities for each layer. Merge the car layers when done.

12) Next we will add in the buildings, coloring them like we did with the car. Rendering, duplicating, applying a threshold, using three different color layers like before, and changing the opacities of each layer. Place each building behind the car rotated in a different position.

13) Now it's time to take out the brush tool. Pick your splatter brushes and lay a couple of them on there using the settings I have. Don't go overboard with them though.

*Note: You can use any size for the scale. Just don't make it too big.*

14) Create a new layer named "foliage" above the splatter layer. Select the foliage swirls brushes. Use a purple color and full opacity.

15) Create a new layer named "arrows" underneath the foliage layer, but above the splatter layer. Use the arrow brushes from the vector brush pack we downloaded with a golden yellow color. Be creative with the opacities.

16) Find the brushes in the vector brush pack that have a bit of writing on them. Use a light blue writing brush and add a few of those in there. You can also add some larger ones in there that have an orange color.

17) Create a new layer under the worded brushes layer and above the foliage layer and name it "vector splatter." Use your splatter brushes once more underneath the car, using a tan color. Afterward, use the circular vector brushes and an off-yellow/brown color and put in some other designs, kinda like mine.

18) I also added a few more purple arrows in on the existing arrows layer.

19) Now we will add some finishing touches. Create a new layer below everything but the rays. Use your galaxy brushes on it as a light indigo type color. Set the layer mode to Screen.

20) Last but not least, we will now add some abstract brushes. Create a new layer above the galaxies layer. Use your abstract brushes we downloaded, in a golden color. Set the layer mode to Screen and lower the opacity a bit.

And you're done!!

(You just gotta see this one full size- go ahead, click it! You know you want to!)


  1. great tutorial! i didn't understand why i was making all the duplicate layers of the car and buildings, but it all turned out awesome! thanks!

  2. brilliant tutorial.i really enjoyed it.keep up the good work!!

  3. Hey I just love your work, i just finished the snowboarder vector tut and the ornate blah tut, very amazing and high detail results, im using the snowboarding design for a tshirt transfer for my website, i just started this tut and the links for the vector foilage is broken, i was able to find the page from the root, but the address was different


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