This tutorial will show how to create a cartoon character, similar to those in the Cars Movie, by working with real photographs instead of 3D programs. Before we move on, let us recap on how they look like below.
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Extract the red car out from its background. You can check out this post for various methods of extraction in Photoshop. Place the car against a white color so it is easier to work with.
Go to Edit > Transform > Distort. Drag the corners like what it is done below.
Go to Filter > Liquify. Pick the Forward Warp tool (first button on the left toolbar). Set the Brush Size to 200, Density to 50, Pressure to 100 and leave the rest as default. Push your cursor on the car inwards on the wheels.
Then you will get a car deformed in a “cartoony” manner.
Enter the Quick Mask Mode. Pick on the Radial Gradient tool and make a radial mask like what is shown below. Exit the Quick Mask Mode and you will get a selection.
Go to Filter > Blur > Lens Blur. Set the Radius to 8 and leave the rest of settings as default.
Create a new layer above the car. Using the Soft-Rounded Brush tool with color #7F080A, paint to cover the original face of the sports car.
Create another layer and do the same with color #CD080B.
Using the Pen tool, make a black shape to form a big smiling mouth.
Draw in the lips as well and apply Gradient layer style to it with the settings shown.
Draw in white shapes to form the top and bottom teeth.
Apply Inner Glow layer style to the teeth layer with the settings shown below.
Create a new layer below the teeth layer and paint in a tongue.
Create a new layer and draw in the shape of the eye lid. Apply Gradient layer style to the eye lid layer with the given settings.
Create a new layer and draw in the shape of highlight. Fade off the edges slightly with Eraser tool.
Create a new layer below the eye lid to cover the windscreen as shown below. Apply the same layer style as the teeth layer to this new layer.
Create a new layer and make an oval shape. Apply Gradient and Outer Glow layer styles with the given settings below.
Make another black and white ovals. Position them in a manner that the eye is looking towards you.
Duplicate the eye layer, reduce its size slightly and shift it to form the left eye. And there you have it, a cartoony car character is done!
If you find the car body is too plain, you can display creativity by designing some patterns on it.
I prefer the plain one so I continue working with it. Extract the same sports car again, reduce its size and place it in the background. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the Radius to 4 pixels and hit OK.
Make a black and grey linear gradient to replace the white background.
Create a new layer above the background and paint in black shadows below the cars.
Duplicate the cars and go to Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical. Shift the duplicates downwards so they are just touching the original ones. Using a large Soft-Rounded Eraser tool, fade off the lower portion of the duplicated layers.
You can further enhance the background with some structures and spotlights. Thanks for reading.