Jetta GLI Composite

— Photoshop —

I clearly did several different things to get the photo to “The Final” version you see here. Here is a basic breakdown of the different things I did:

1. I masked out the background of the car from the horizon line, up. This way I didn’t have to worry to much about perspective with a new background cause I could simply match horizon lines and have it look fairly believable. And I think it worked.

2. I pulled in the background photo, but flipped it because I wanted the leading lines of the tree tops to lead to the car, rather than to the side of it or somewhere else in the photo. The car after all is the star in this show.

3. The series of photos for the background was intended for HDR, so I brought in the clouds separately so I could control how dark and looming and I wanted them to be. This also allowed me to control the lighting of the middle-ground of the trees and ground since they would be different than the sky… at least, that’s what I wanted.

4. With the basic scene in place, I set out to give reason for the highlights on the ground and on the car. So for starters, I set out to create a set of street lamps to go around the car. I had never created street lamps before, and I think I did alright, but visually we have a reason for the light.

5. Adding shadows and enhancing highlights is tricky. Even though I gave place for the existing light, I still had to deal with the areas that had light, but technically wouldn’t anymore with the position of my newly created street lamps. So, I used the dodge tool and a couple adjusted layers to get the the shadowed effect on the side of the car facing the camera and surround areas. Working on this aspect of the required that I would work on it, and then take a break for an hour or two, or even wait till the next day. This gives my mind a chance to think about it and then come back with fresh eyes to see where I over did it or could apply more.

6. The fog and headlights. There are several tutorials you can find online to teach you how to add fog to your photo – I went through a couple to find one that fit more of the look I was hoping to achieve with this photo. I also “Render > Lens Flare…” in photoshop to add the effect of the headlights turned on. Even with the headlights turned on, I needed to do just a bit to show the light reflecting off the fog that is around the car. It’s subtle, but it’s there. All I did was used a series of adjusted layers with white paint and varying feathering to create beams of light coming off the headlight.

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