How to render your own original design! (For free!)
We all want to design our own cars. Here's how to do it. It's free, and relatively easy.
Designing cars has always been a dream for me. I started drawing up designs for my car company "Trekk" when I was around 11 years old. They were crude, hand-drawn sketches.
Compare my very first Trekk design with my most recent:
Obviously, rendering a car on a computer will look far more realistic than a hand drawn one. So how do you make one? I'll show you in this guide!
Step 1: Brainstorm!
This step can be really easy for some, and next to impossible for others. What sort of car do you want to make. Do you want a sports car, or would you rather design a truck? Do you have a rough idea of what sort of styling you want in your head? What angle do you want your car to be on in the render? Think about these BEFORE you start.
I recommend putting on some of your favourite music, and scrolling through pictures of your favourite cars for inspiration. Try to find connections between car designs you like. For example, most of the cars I like have big headlights, and small grilles. So naturally, I want to make my cars look like that too.
Step 2: Choose a car to base yours off of.
Once you've decided what type of car you want to render, you need to find a photo to base it off of. I chose to do a mid-engined supercar for my example, so naturally I want my base car to be mid-engined. I quite like the design of the Mclaren 720s, so I decided to choose that for my render.
Find an image that fits all your criteria (body style, angle, etc.).This might take a bit of digging, but you'll find a something you like. Open up Pixlr X (linked below) and create a new project. Then, copy and paste your image into the blank space. If it doesn't take up most of the space, find yourself a new image, as it won't be high definition.
If you have other photo editing software that you'd rather use, go ahead, but I suggest using Pixlr so it will be easier to follow this guide.
Once you paste your image in Pixlr it should look something like this:
All that extra space needs to be removed, so crop it out using the crop tool.
3. Remove all the distinctive elements of the design
Since we don't want to get in trouble with Mclaren, we need to remove all the design elements. Distinctive vents, headlights and other things need to go, but leave the grille. I'll explain why later.
So in order to remove the headlights, we need to paint over them. Open the paint tool and choose the syringe to pick up a colour:
Click the paint right next to the first headlight, and then just paint over it. You'll probably want to change colour for the other headlight. You may want to make the brush size a bit smaller. Cover the symbol as well. When you're done it should look a bit like this:
Right now it's very obvious that we've painted over the headlights, but don't worry about that. I'm also going to remove the little vents on the frunk lid.
4. Resize the grille
This part can be pretty fun. You'll want to use the "liquify" tool (which can be found in the sidebar). Click it and set the size to around 200px:
Drag the grille to look the way you want it to. If you accidentally stretch something you don't want to, or if you don't like the way it looks, just press UNDO down at the bottom. This will take some practice and some trial-and-error, so don't be afraid to start over if you don't like the way it's turning out. Feel free to change the size of the tool if you're having trouble.
Mine ended up looking like this when I finished:
The carbon-fibre bits in the grille look a bit odd, so I'm going to remove them with the paint tool (like the headlights).
Don't be too focused on making your grille perfect, because you'll probably want to change a few things to make it line up with the headlights once you add them.
5. Add headlights
You probably don't want to draw your own headlights. That won't make it look as real. In order to make all designs look similar, I try to always use the same car's headlights. That car is the Honda S2000. But really, choose any car that you think has headlights that would look good on your design.
You are going to want to pay attention to the angle. The headlight-donor car should be at a similar angle to your original car. It doesn't have to be perfect, but the closer the angle is, the better.
Once you've found a suitable candidate, copy and paste it into Pixlr:
Next you'll want to erase everything except the headlights. Make sure you've clicked on the correct image so you don't accidentally erase parts of your render. You can speed things up a bit by using the "cutout" tools. Remember, if you accidentally erase part of the headlights, just press UNDO.
Mine ended up looking like this:
Kidding, that looks awful! Click arrange to rotate, resize and stretch the image. I recommend turning off "lock aspect" to get the perfect fit. If you don't like the look of the headlights on your car, you can always delete them and try again.
You might have to move each headlight individually. Right click on the headlights and press "duplicate". Then erase one headlight per duplicate, so you can move them around individually.
Mine looked like this once they were in place:
6. Edit your roofline
So the front of your car looks original, but it's still pretty clear what car you used for the back. Pull out your "liquify" tool again, and change the roofline a bit. For example, if you chose a coupe to start with, try making it a fastback, or try lowering the roof a bit. Be creative!
For my Mclaren, I didn't change much, I just lowered the windshield, and added a few minor tweaks. This is also your chance to change the way the grille of your design looks if you don't like it.
I also downsized my headlights, since they were comically large, and stretched the edges to make the lines fit with the rest of the car:
Now that your render is nearly done, it's time to clean it up a bit to add an extra level of realism. See where I covered the original headlights? That makes it obvious that this is a render. So by using the brush tool I can make that transition smooth and seamless.
Set the brush size to around 80px, and the softness to 80%. Then, select the colour right beside it and paint over the hard edge. Pick another colour nearby and do it again until it's nice and smooth.
Depending on your render you may have to do this in multiple places, but remember this:
Every time you paint on your render, you take away a small bit of texture, and texture adds realism. If you want it to look real, try not to paint too much.
Mine looked like this when it was pretty much done:
8. Add a personal touch!
It's YOUR car, so now it's time to make it yours. Make a symbol for your brand and put it on. Sign your name. Do what you want, it's your render.
I usually just stick the Trekk badge on the hood, but remember, do what you want.
It can also be fun to give it a name, create a spec sheet, and even try to figure out how much you'd like to sell it for!
My finished product looks like this:
This is the Trekk Scorpios. It will be powered by a mid-mounted V10 (same one found in the Empire and Spirité), tuned to produce around 650hp. This will go through either a 6-speed manual or 7-speed DCT to the rear wheels only. It would be an entry-level supercar, priced around $150,000
So that's how I make my original renders!
Be sure to check out these other rendering guides made by Lukas Shepherd and me!
It's not hard.
A lot of you guys have been taking up face-swaps, so I figured I'd share my method.
Learn how to make renderings online for free! This article was requested by Car Guy!
Leave them in the comments or send me a DM! Thanks for reading!