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Nissan 350Z Hood UP - Vexel

By dangeruss
338 Favourites
Vexel: Vector Pixel Hybrid

Forgive my lack of modesty, but I'm really proud of this one! :strong: My latest "hood-up" Vexel is this Nissan 350Z that's occupied the past several days from morning to midnight, pretty much. I've probably got 35 hours into this one. I wanted to combine the challenge of silver paint at sunset, with a very detailed engine and new 3D wheels.

Follow the creation process by visiting [link] In each description is the link to the next step. 13 steps in all. Enjoy!

Clean version (no vinyl stickers) here: [link]
Image details
Image size
1600x1200px 1.12 MB
© 2006 - 2021 dangeruss
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afronoodles's avatar
my fav drift car, damn this is THE PIECE!
TofuHunter's avatar
its so detailed. and perfect in every second favorite car XD
Amazing Z good job

should have went with the 06 projector headlights instead though....just my .2. but all in all an amazing job
GloFro's avatar
magao's avatar
GREAT! work!!!!
roasted-freedom's avatar
what program are you using?
this is insane!!!!!! Amazing
Great Job
dangeruss's avatar
Photoshop mostly.
Keffer-Roe's avatar
dangeruss's avatar
What the heck is a vexel anyway?

"Vexel" is a term that's been coined to describe the fusion of Vector and Pixel forms of illustration. Vexels are not Vector - scalable - mathematically derived images based on paths and fills as one would produce in Illustrator or CorelDRAW or perhaps Flash. Nor are they pure painted images as one might create in Photoshop or Painter.

My Vexels include elements from 4 disciplines: Digital photography, Vector path definition, Digital Painting and 3D modeling.

A typical Vexel starts with a high resolution digital photo. Most often, in my case, of a car. I'll analyze the photo and determine what elements I want to add, modify or enhance. I typically begin by defining Photoshop vector paths that provide the basis for the line art that I use to add a stylized "toon look to the finished piece. These paths are stroked with Photoshop paintbrushes of various widths. I use many layers to assist with intersections and overlaps. I tend to merge these as I go, but the linework usually requires about 30 layers.

Once the basic line art is complete I throw in a few ellipses to indicate wheel positions or other details I want to create in 3D. I'll next bring the image into my 3D application as use it as a viewport background image. I'll create the wheels and other details in 3D then create and apply appropriate materials. The real trick is matching the camera angle, rotation FOV and lens used in the original photo. Once everything is lined up and matches, I'll create lights that match the key and fill lighting of the original image as well. Now I can render both a shaded render and a line art render. I use a third party plug-in to create the line art views.

Next I'll import those views into my Photoshop file and composite those elements and perform various editing techniques to enhance the toon look and blend it into my finished style. So now I have the basis of my Vexel; a lineart layer, and various 3D rendered layers for wheels and other details.

Body paint, headlights and other details are systematically added using vector based paths that I use as selection sets for painting those elements. Doing the body color highlights, shadows and reflections plus the various details like intercoolers, lights, grills interior details typically requires 120 layers or so - and not a few hours of patient work.

Decals are created by drawing master files in CorelDRAW and saved as Adobe Illustrator (.ai) files. These are then placed one-by-one in Photoshop and manipulated to match the perspective of the car. I'll lock the transparencey of that layer and paint in highlights and shadows where required, like when a decal falls across a highlight line. Figure a layer per decal here.

Once the car is complete, I'll create an appropriate background. Sometimes this is a simple gradient, a filtered photo, or a stylized painted background. Usually it's something simple that highlights the car rather than detracts from it. I find that the more realistic the Vexel comes out, the more realistic a background it can support.

So there you have it. If you've persisted in reading this far, you've got a pretty good understanding of what a Vexel is.
DaeronGFX's avatar
This is the most amazing thing I've ever seen!!
Keeyou's avatar
You SHOULD be proud! This is a damn nice piece of art! Creds!
leocoyotz's avatar
ow man

very very very nice

wowwwwww ^^
Very well done! How'd you make the street look so good?
dangeruss's avatar
It's a highly filtered photograph of a location near my office.
LJ-JUN's avatar
omg..ur vexel/vector art are the most awesome man!!!!!!
hope my skill can reach ur half. >"<
ATMA3Weapon's avatar
i love it you really captured the intensity and racing feel of the 350z :D
beautywithiin's avatar
favorite car ever.
xpir3d's avatar
holy god!!! thats nice!!!! :)
angryteen13's avatar
thats so sick. nissan rules
thats SWEET did you take technical drafting ??

i did last year but i didnt get to do 3D...

10/10 you should make cars for street racing games !!! it would be the SHEETT!!
thats SWEET did you take technical drafting ??

i did last year but i didnt get to do 3D...

10/10 you should make cars for street racing games !!! it would be the SHEETT!!
CapturedCosmicDebris's avatar
:jawdrop: Incredible work, my friend! Awesome!
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