Crashing Audi R8
Hello everyone. In this tutorial I am going to show you how I created the above image of a crashing Audi R8. First of all take a look at the finished image and try to figure out the easiest way that it could be done (Fig.01).
Ok, before we start, I'd just like to clear up one thing. I get a lot of "Why not used Houdini" or "Why 2D post production instead of Unwrap" questions. Before you do anything in digital arts, I always think you should consider what process you are going to use to create your artwork. For different pieces of work, it completely varies. For example, if you're creating an animation or a multi-frame project, then most of the details should be done in your 3D package. But if it's only a single-frame illustration, I recommend you choosing the easiest and, most of the time, fastest way possible. This is exactly what I'm going to show you in this tutorial.
A few worlds about the idea: frankly, I love the R8 - I adore it! But there's been like a million R8 renders since Audi released this model, and I've certainly produced my own shiny versions in the past. But folks, aren't you sick and tired of pretty R8s?! I bet you will love smashing cars more than creating clean and shiny ones after you've read this tutorial! I personally love crash scenes (under the influence of the Burnout series) so I thought it would be fun to have a go at smashing up my favorite car. I hope you find my sharing useful and let's get down to business.
First of all, the most important step to creating this image is the post-production stage, so this is what I'm going to be focusing on in this tutorial. A good and agreeable image from your 3D package is enough to get you started and we'll do the rest in Photoshop, so dig out your tablet. We'll need some textures, some dirty and dark renders and also the mask render of the car. See what I've prepared here (Fig.02).
To create the pose, it's fairly easy. Just use some FFD or simple vertex editing and rotate some form pieces in there. And remember to break the Audi logo!
After you've prepared these images in your 3D package (with a high resolution if possible) open Photoshop and the files. As you can see, I didn't spend much time on the base render quality and there's a good reason for this - you're about to make the car crashed, dirty and dusty, so why have a clean output at the beginning?
The white Audi image is our base layer in Photoshop. We need a darker color (like black), an ambient occlusion image and the mask (black and white) image. So, move the black Audi on the top layer of the white one, and mask it with the mask image so that we have only the car shape in black on the top. After that, use the Eraser tool, and simply delete the black Audi! Yes you heard me right; we don't actually add the dirt, we simply remove it! It's easier and better, because there will always remain some "not cleared" areas that will make the car body dirtier, which is what we're aiming for. It's better to use a customized dirty brush shape for your eraser.
This is what I had after the first level of clearing (Fig.03).
When you get the idea, the rest of the story becomes easier. Do the same thing in various layers, with different brush shapes to get random and dirty results. Feel free to use the Eraser tool however you want, relax, and just imagine that you're cleaning an actual car!
Here's what I had after further cleaning (Fig.04).
Now we're going to add some basic lighting and effects to the scene. Just duplicate the masked White Audi on the top layer, blend it with soft light and use a Diffuse Glow filter just to make the white areas look more lit. After that, blur the background a little and add some smoke around the doors (Fig.05).
Alright, now it's time for the interesting part: smashing the windows. We are going to deal with particle systems and there are hundreds of different ways to do this step, from using Max's default particle system to powerful tools like Houdini. It's up to you what you choose, but like I said earlier, I went for the easiest and fastest way which was to use 3ds Max. To let's use P-Array, some Bomb and maybe some P-Bomb particle systems to easily some make some customized objects, like a sphere or cylinder, explode. And don't forget to make the window explode too! Render your explosions and save the results with their mask images for each output. Don't worry about the shapes; we'll fix that in Photoshop.
Here's what I got after a few minutes of trying (Fig.06).
Now let's switch back to Photoshop and add the respective broken glasses layers, with their mask layers. Just place the right thing in the right place and use the Eraser, Stamp and other tools to create a great particle view of the glass. Please note that while I used MR Glass as the material, you can also blend these pieces together, with Multiply or Hard Light modes in Photoshop.
As all the glass is not broken in this scene, we need to keep some areas "close-to-exploding". It's simple to do this; just keep the un-broken glass on the bottom layer and add and blend a texture as I've done in Fig.07. I used a simple Cellular map in Max to create this texture.
Do what it takes to deal with the particles and you'll have something like I have here (Fig.08).
Now you might notice a problem here. As our particle crash was done in Photoshop and not in Max, the car paint is not reflecting it! So what we need to do is simply duplicate some particle layers and blend them in needed places and fake the reflection (Fig.09).
The big steps are now done, so just do the same thing for the front light (Fig.10), and then the image is completed (Fig.11)!
You can easily add your own ideas into an image like this, but believe me, crashing scenes are amazing! If you've created any, don't hesitate to let me know about it, and by the way it really helps if you listen to thrash music when creating something like this!
I remember that I sent this artwork to Criterion, the creators of the Burnout series, just wanting to share what I'd created and they replied and said that they enjoyed it! I had a very good time with this artwork, and I hope to produce more, and better, work in the future.
Here's a quick summary of some of the topics we've covered in this tutorial: post-production, adding, removing, blending, making customs brushes from your 3D outputs, making glass explode.
I hope you found this tutorial useful!