How to render your own original design! (Updated 2021, Pixlr E)

This is an updated guide to rendering, this time using a more advanced (and still free) program!

3w ago

In January, Pixlr was updated, significantly changing Pixlr X. This makes many of my older guides out of date, so I decided to make an updated version. This time we're using Pixlr E, a more advanced and powerful version of Pixlr X.

Pixlr E is a browser photo editor (so you don't have to download anything), and it should run on most computers, even low spec ones.

In this guide I'll show you how to design your very own car from scratch.

Step 1: Brainstorming

Coming up with an idea of what you're going to render and having a generic vision of it in your head BEFORE starting your render will help out a ton. Figure out what sort of car you want to design, what current designs you like, and what sort of car you want to use as the base for your render. If you're having trouble, get some good music going and scroll through car pages on major websites. (Like Drivetribe)

Step 2: Choose the base car.

The base car is the backbone of your render. You will use this car for colour, proportions and the background. Be sure to find a nice HD photo for it. Since my render will be a lightweight roadster, I chose the Honda S660. Open a new project on Pixlr and paste your photo there.

Step 3: Remove any defining features.

Since I'm designing a Trekk not a Honda, I should get rid of any features that will make people believe it's a Honda. That means painting over headlights, badges, and distinctive vents. Leave the main grille, however. We'll need it for the next step.

Do this by clicking the syringe tool in the toolbar (on the left of the screen), and clicking the colour right beside the detail you would like removed. Next, choose the paintbrush and paint over the part. You can change the brush size at the top of the screen.

If you accidentally cover over something you don't want to cover, simply press Ctrl+Z to undo (Cmd+Z on Mac)

Changing brush size

Changing brush size

Once I finished, it looked like this:

Don't worry if the edges are a bit rough, we'll fix those later.

Step 4: Change up the grille

Since you probably don't want your render to have the exact same grille as the base car, you can change it. Here you have a choice:

You can either cover up the grille like you did in the last step, then replace it with one from another car, or you can stretch the grille to look the way you want.

Since I showed how to stretch the grille in the last guide, I'll replace it in this one. If you are choosing to stretch it, scroll down to the linked guide below for tips on that.

Once I covered the grille it looked like this:

Next, find a car with a grille that you like. It can be any car you like, but the important part is that it must be at a similar angle to the base car. Once you find the photo, copy and paste it into Pixlr.

I did the Mazda RX-8

Notice how the angle at which the RX-8's photo was taken is nearly identical to the S660's? That will make my life a lot easier.

Select the scissors icon in the toolbar and make sure it's set to add to mask. Be sure you've clicked on the grille car rather than the base one. Drag a box around the grille and release. It should cut out everything but what you have selected.

Select the arrange tool (arrow at the top of the toolbar), and drag the grille to where you want it on your car. Resize it however you need, and if you need to stretch it, set your aspect to "free" (at the top)

Once you've put it where you want, choose the eraser tool and erase the bits around the grille you don't want. Remember that you can undo if you accidentally erase something you wanted to keep. Don't be afraid to try crazy ideas; I ultimately ended up flipping the RX-8 grille upside down!

When I was finished, it looked like this:

You can use the liquify tool to stretch individual parts of the grille to make fit with the lines of the car, but I didn't need to. All the lines fit flawlessly.

Step 5: Headlights!

Since cars without headlights look dumb, it's time to add some! Just like with the grille, find a car with the headlights you want, get a photo that's at the right angle and paste it in. I chose the Honda S2000 to fit with the rest of my designs.

Like you did with the grille, crop out the bits you don't want. Then, drag the headlights into place and resize them however you need.

It's ok to go back a step and change the grille up if you think it won't look good with the headlights.

Once you've got them where you want, go ahead and erase all the area around them that you don't want. When I was done, mine looked like this:

Obviously it's not the prettiest car in the world, but by tweaking the headlights a bit, I came up with this:

I also removed the vents beside the grille since they made the car look like it was crying:

Step 6: Roof and hood

By this point you're nearly done, so congrats on making it this far. But we aren't quite finished, so stick with me here. Using the liquify tool, it is possible to adjust the roofline of your car. This can help make it more distinctive, and lowering it will make it look more sporty.

Be sure you've selected the base car image layer, and set the liquify size to between 200 and 400. Then slowly push around the areas that you want to change. This may cause a bit of lag on low-spec computers, but don't worry about it, just go slow.

This step may not seem important, but it can make or break a render.

I lowered the hood a bit as well as the windshield and roll bar and came up with this:

Step 7: Clean-up

This is where you fix any messy areas on your render. Adjust the softness on your brush and paint over rough lines. You can find the softness setting in the same place as the size one. Set the softness to 70 or 80, and bring the size up as well.

On my render, I could see that the area under the left headlight was really messy, as well as the bit above the right one. Once cleaned up, it looked like this:

This is also the step where you get to put the finishing touch on, the badge! If your company has a logo, copy and paste it into the document and resize it to go where you want. Your render is now complete!

Go up to the menu bar at the top, then file, save, to download your render to your computer.

Here's the final product:

Trekk Leggera

Trekk Leggera

Step 8:

Hold up, you aren't done just yet. You still need to give a name to your render. I recommend translating words into other languages if you're stuck on names, so this is the Trekk Leggera, Italian for "lightweight".

While you're at it, might as well come up with a spec sheet as well. The Leggera comes with a boxer 4 engine producing about 190hp. The weight? As light as possible.

Power goes to the rear wheels only via a 6-speed manual or 7-speed DCT. Prices for it start at around $25,000 USD.

Don't forget to post your creation on Drivetribe!

I'd recommend posting it to the "Design Community" tribe:

Read my old guide here if you missed it:

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Comments (16)

  • Great article as always Joe!

      27 days ago
  • Thanks for more tips! I will try and do some more rendering once I have more time. This render is one of your best imo

      27 days ago
  • Thank you. I am definitely going to use this. I'm thinking about starting my own drivetribe car brand as well.

      27 days ago
  • What software?

      26 days ago
    • Pixlr E. It's free and you don't have to download anything. It's linked at the top of this article.

        26 days ago
  • The similarities...on the other hand, thanks for the guide!

      27 days ago