By taking a few minutes to work on a picture of a car in Photoshop, you can render the car with some 3D effects, which may be the next closest thing to actually opening up the hood and poking around. With a couple of 3D techniques and clicks in Photoshop, you’ll be headed for the fast lane.
1. Open Photoshop, click the “File” menu and click “New.” Type “3DCar” in the “Name” box and set your preferred sizes in the “Width” and “Height” boxes, such as “8” and “6” respectively. Pull down the measurement menu and select “inches” for each. Click the “OK” button.
2. Click “File” again and select “Open.” Browse to a flat 2D picture of a car and double-click it to open it on the Photoshop screen.
3. Click the “Lasso” tool on the Tools palette and draw an outline around just the car, with as little of the background as possible. Blinking dotted lines surround the car.
4. Press the “Ctrl” and “C” keys together on your keyboard to copy the car. Click back to the “3DCar” box and press the “Ctrl” and “V” keys together to insert the car into the box; at this stage the car still looks flat.
5. Pull down the “Window” menu and click “Layers” to open the Layers palette. There are two layers: a blank, white background, and a new Layer 1 with the car. Double-click Layer 1 to open the “Layer Style” menu.
6. Check the “Drop Shadow” box, which instantly puts a shadow around the car, making it stand out like 3D. (Optional: Check the “Bevel and Emboss” box; whether this works depends on the type of car image you’re inserting, it may make your car look too cartoonish or it may have too little of an effect. On some pictures, it will add a rounded, shiny surface as if the car is glinting off the page.) Click “OK” to close the “Layer Style” window.
7. Click the lined icon at the top of the “Layers” window and select “Flatten Image.” Click “File” and click “Save As” to save the car or continue working on it.