Drawing your own graphics for an ad, brochure or website can save you time and money, particularly in the case of creating a website, since you want to avoid creating a cookie-cutter site that looks like all the others. One cool graphic you can draw and use as clip art is a 3D car. Photoshop and Illustrator are generally used to create graphics like this, but many other graphics programs, including the freeware program GIMP, will work just as well (see “Resources”).
1. Load an image of a car you want to base your 3D car graphic on into your computer. Name it “Car Reference.” It doesn’t have to be a high-resolution image, since you are only using it to help you draw the 3D car.
2. Open Photoshop. Select “File” and click “Open.” In the dialog that pops up browse to the “Car Reference” image and open it. If you need a larger or smaller graphic than this, select “Image” from the menu and click “Image Size.” In the dialog that pops up make the pixel width and height whatever you need for your graphic. Change the pixel resolution to suite your project. For example, if you are placing the 3D car graphic on the web make the resolution 72. But if you are planning to print it in a business flyer make it at least 200.
3. Click on the “New Layer” icon at the bottom of the “Layers Panel.” Now select the “Pen” tool and use it to draw the outline of the car. Select the “Path” tab and right-click on the path you see. Select “Fill Path” and in the dialog that opens make the color whatever you want the body color of your 3D car to be. Click “OK.”
4. Repeat step 3 for each of the sub-parts of the car, placing each element on its own layer. For example, create the outline of the front windshield on a separate layer, making the color different from the body. You can also draw in lines for parts that are the same color. For example, to create the doors right-click on the path you draw for the door and select “Stroke Path” instead of “Fill Path.”
5. Once you have all the parts in place, select the body layer of the car. Then click on the “FX” icon under the “Layers” panel to bring up the “Blending Options.” Select “Bevel and Emboss” and “Drop Shadow.” Go with the defaults and click “OK.” Now select each part of the car and add an appropriate effect. Whereas you will want to use the previous options for a part like a tire, you will probable want to use “Inner Shadow” for the windows. When you are finished drawing your 3D car, save it as a high resolution JPEG.