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Vector Look & Feel in Photoshop Using Clipping Path
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Vector Look & Feel in Photoshop Using Clipping Path


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This presentation contains an elaborated tutorial of giving a normal image a vector look.

This presentation contains an elaborated tutorial of giving a normal image a vector look.

Published in: Art & Photos, Technology
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  • 1. How To Give an Image a Vector Look?
  • 2. Here is an example that will teach you “how to give your image a vector look.” The following image of the mini car is selected for recreating into a vector form. The quality of the image is not so far an issue in this case, as long as, there is enough details to trace.
  • 3. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
    Lets start the process –
    a) Open the image I adobe Photoshop. Photoshop keeps the default locked 'Background' Layer and pastes the image in a new 'Layer 1' directly above the Background Layer. Double click on the word 'Layer 1' to select the text and give the layer a friendly name - in this case may be 'my car'. Or b)'Save Picture As' to save in the hard-drive. Then open the file in Photoshop. The image thumbnail indicates it as an 'Index' image in the 'Layers Palette' and it is locked. To correct this, simply go to 'Image/Mode/RGB Color' to revert the locked layer to a 'Background' Layer. Optionally, double click the 'Background' Layer in the Layers Palette to convert it into an edit able layer. (Change the default 'Layer 0' to a friendly name - in my case I called it 'my car'.)
  • 4. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
    In the next step, let’s duplicate the original 'my car' layer.  In Photoshop 7, create a new 'Layer Set' to store all the individual objects i.e. multiple layers. Do so by clicking on the Folder icon at the bottom of the 'Layers Palette', double click on the 'Set 1' default text header and change to what I have (Elements). After that the Layer palette takes a look like.
  • 5. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
    “Here comes the Mighty Pen Tool”
    Let’s start by creating a solid outline of the whole car. Set the foreground color by choosing the Eyedropper Tool (I)' to sample the darkest area of the image. In this case it's close to black.Next select the 'Pen Tool' from the toolbar. And up on the 'Options Toolbar', make sure the 'Shape Layers' option is selected (in this case it is orange outline).
  • 6. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
    Now let’s start to draw an outline around the car by putting anchor points. Select the ‘Convert anchor point’ tool and begin wrapping those areas that need curvature. With the ‘convert anchor point’ tool, click the 'Anchor Point', and drag in the direction of (black) arrow unto it starts fitting the underlying layer.
    Begin to get comfortable with the 'Convert Anchor Point' tool and work your way around the shape path, trying to get a close a wrap as possible.
  • 7. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
    'Convert Anchor Point' creates two Bezier handler points, for further curvature control. Try to keep the number of anchor pints as less as possible, in fact the fewer the anchor pints, the smoother the smoother the curvature. So delete unnecessary anchor points to improve the curvature. Here's my final shape after applying as much of the 'Convert Anchor Point' tool as possible. We will use this as base.
  • 8. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
    Next 'Shape 2' layer is duplicated (to get 'Shape 2 copy') and manipulated its anchor points to wrap the dominant blue color (body of the car) of the image. Click on the Thumbnail Preview of that layer to get the 'Color Picker', and change the black to blue.
    Now this is what the body of the car looks.
  • 9. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
    Let’s work on the windows:Toggle the 'my car copy' (black one) back on and hide 'Shape 2 copy' layer (the blue one). Select the 'Pen Tool (P)' again, and up on the 'Options Bar' make sure 'Subtract from area shape (-)' is turned on.
    Toggle the 'my car copy' visibility mode to off, to see what’s happening. Subtracting from the same shape layer, gives the illusion of transparency.
  • 10. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
    To apply the same affect on the other two windows without adding a new layer, simply hold Ctrl + Alt, then click and drag that subtraction path to duplicate. (Do this twice.) Then place the duplicate shapes into place. Use the 'Convert Anchor Point' tool again to define the corners to wrap in the right positions.
  • 11. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
    Applying same technique to the 'Shape 2 copy' layer, except trace along the foreground windows finally following image has been formed.
    Now that we have the crust of the vector shape in place, the rest is simply adding new shapes, lines, and some textures. We'll fill in those windows later to give the image a touch of reality.
  • 12. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
    Same techniques are again applied to create the base shape layer to the (white) roof of the car. Use the 'Pen Tool (P)' is used to add Anchor Points, then 'Convert Anchor Point Tool' to create curvature.
    Next, with the 'Ellipse Tool (U)' on the toolbar, draw the back hub cap, then hold the 'Shift' key and draw in a second ellipse(the foreground hub cap).
  • 13. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
    To position accurately, Ctrl + click on the new ellipse, then right click on a single ellipse and choose 'Free Transform Path'. Right click again, and choose 'Distort'. Tweak the corner bounding points until in the position as the hubs in the image. Repeat for the other hub. I also started on the headlights (on a new layer) using the same technique. (Ellipse Tool ~ Free Transform ~ Distort ~ tweak into position)
  • 14. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
    Since new layers are being added and they could pile up, it’s sensible to name them appropriately. (Thought it is possible here to use as few layers as possible, as I did with the main body)
    Now it’s time to add the bumper, head lights and other objects. Again, use the 'Pen Tool (P) to trace the area, 'Convert Anchor Point Tool' to wrap perfectly to the original image source.
  • 15. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
    I then applied a layer style to the bumper to give it a somewhat chrome effect. Right, click on the 'bumper' layer and choose 'Blending Modes' to apply the following three captures.
  • 16. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
  • 17. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
    Next let’s draw some fine lines that will indicate the doors and other areas using the pen tool except, this time, up on the 'Options Bar' select 'Paths'.
    Create a new layer, and call it 'Lines'. This layer should be positioned uppermost in order for them to show. So, Toolbar - Pen Tool selected, Options Bar - Paths selected, begin clicking/adding Anchor Points in the direction of the main passenger door.
    Next set the foreground color to black (hit the D key), hit the (B) key to select the 'Brush Tool (B)' from the 'Toolbar', then up on the 'Options Bar', select the 'Brush Preset Picker' and choose a small, soft edge brush, like 3. But alter the Master Diameter to 2 (try 1 also), since 3 may be too thick.
  • 18. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
    Hit the (P) key to re-select the 'Pen Tool', then mouse over the path you created in the 'Lines' layer, right-click and choose 'Stroke Path' option.
    If you are prompted to choose from a 'Tool Preset' to use to create the new stroke, select, 'Brush' from the drop down list, then hit 'OK' command. Then reduce the opacity of the line layer to 54% to soften it.
  • 19. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
    Go ahead (using the same above Pen Tool/Paths/Stroke Path technique on other lines and add the front grill, the mirror the window wipers and the mini logo crest at the front and applied the same style as the bumper above.
  • 20. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
    For textures such as the highlights, let’s use the 'Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to trace around those areas that require it, right click and 'Fill', with a soft blue color (I used #86A9D7).
    After tracing as much as I can I applied a 'Filter/Blur/Gaussian Blur of 1.1 pixels' (respectively) and reduced the 'Opacity' of the layer to 30%.
  • 21. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
    On a new layer I did the same Polygon Lasso effect for the darker areas, using #2A579C. Then applied a 'Filter/Blur/Gaussian Blur of 1.1 pixels' and reduced the 'Opacity' of the layer to 30%.
  • 22. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
    Next add the windows. For this all we have to do is reuse our original 'Shape 2' for the background windows, and the 'Shape 2 copy' for the foreground windows. First duplicate the original 'Shape 2' layer and call it 'backgroundwindows'.
    Once it’s duplicated drag it below the original 'Shape 2' layer in the 'Layers Palette', as I have captured.
  • 23. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
    Then hit the 'A' key to select the 'Direct Select Tool' from the 'Toolbar', then hold the 'Shift' key and select the background windows individually.
    Go to the 'Options Bar' and change the 'Subtract from shape area (-)' to 'Add to shape area (+) as I have encased in orange.
  • 24. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
    Those window areas will now be filled in with your foreground color, in my case black. Next, with the 'Direct Selection Tool (A)' still active & still on 'backgroundwindows' layer, click on the outside path line as captured and hit the 'Delete' key on your keyboard. Now all we get are the windows, which is our goal here. Certainly saves a lot of time drawing them in again.
  • 25. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
    Now let’s customize the windows with a white tint. Do this simply by clicking on the 'Layer Thumbnail' as I have captured. And change the color to white (#ffffff)'Color Picker' dialogue box. Then set that layers opacity level to about 23%. in the
    All that remains now are fine details, amount is up to you. Below is my final image after adding detail to the hubs, lights, other highlights. Hope you enjoyed this tutorial.
  • 26. Tutorial: Vector look & Feel
    Let’s hit the road with the car.
    For more related information please visit