Project Car drift cover: image build up
Been meaning to do an image build up on this for a while, pretty happy to finally get around to it. Just about a year ago we shot a cover for Project Car Magazine that got canned, and last minute they decided they wanted to replace it with their project AE86 doing some “urban drifting.” On a whim, I did some quick location scouting outside of Downtown LA and excitedly found this spot, which worked nicely. In retrospect, there are a couple things I may have done differently. All said and done, though, I knew things didn’t have to be 100% perfect or believable as the image would be cropped and plastered with a magazine title and a bunch of text. In no particular order, here’s a breakdown and build up of the shot:
This is the base plate for the image, straight out of the camera. All elements were shot on tripod, except for the motion plate for the ground and foreground. We’ll touch base on that in a minute.
Added some adjustment layers to get the color palette where I wanted, and added some slight basic motion blur to the background to help smooth the transition from the foreground motion.
As you can see above, the dark, flat color of the paint needed a separate exposure. I opened up the exposure a stop or so, and threw some light on the front end.
The last thing captured was the motion plate. After taking the camera off the tripod, I stayed in roughly the same position and did some pan blurs to capture natural motion. This method is by no means anywhere close to technically proper, but it worked close enough for the image. The wheels were spun with the car jacked up, but I opted to use a radial blurred front wheel from photoshop, as it was a better middle ground between static and motion.
Lastly, some smoke was painted in. This is typically the hardest thing to make decently realistic. I forget exactly what I did here, but I’m going to guess it was a mix of painting and compositing real smoke from other random images. For the hell of it, I added some gravel kick up with the help of some random brushes buried deep in the brush palette.
Final adjustments were made to all layers. Some vignetting, color balancing, etc.
Final cover layout that went to print.
Feel free to leave any questions you may have by commenting below!