Vexel Carbon Fiber Tutorial
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© 2007 - 2019 dangeruss
By popular demand a simple carbon-fiber tutorial of my vexel technique. Enjoy.
Image size
1600x1400px 1.12 MB
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Comments (82)
GUZSPEED's avatar
GUZSPEED|Student Interface Designer
its help , i really need this.. thanks
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BunnyVoid's avatar
really cool. also applicable to other textures... thanks :3
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galangpersada's avatar
galangpersada|Hobbyist Digital Artist
thanks for good tutorial
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Torino0101's avatar
Torino0101|Hobbyist General Artist
what are you using
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dangeruss's avatar
dangeruss|Professional Digital Artist
read step one
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Samholy's avatar
nice technique !! thanks for the tutorial

but on step 6, you should definitively use a mask instead of deleting. This way you keep the original texture in case something must be repositioned, redimensioned or whatever.
Viva el masquo !
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xXJohnnnYXx's avatar
very .. VERY helpful, thx alot :) ..
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evangelynn's avatar
you're a God.
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awesome work.

Question: What is a 'vexel'?
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dangeruss's avatar
dangeruss|Professional Digital Artist
What the heck is a vexel?

"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
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yitux's avatar
you are sick! really good work!!
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DottGonzo's avatar
That's what I was looking for!
Thank you!
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khaikai's avatar
i like this tutorial.thanks
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DanielTalhaug's avatar
This might become handy :D
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DOStudios's avatar
this is a really good tutorial with a great technique, congrats
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Pixel-Mason's avatar
Pixel-Mason| Interface Designer

I've been looking for a decent carbon fibre effect and tutorial for ever. Thanks Russ :D
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dzyner's avatar
super cool..
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wilde-media's avatar
oh my god! you are a legend! *bows* Keep up the AMAZING work! This tut will be very useful!
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Royks's avatar
Royks|Professional Interface Designer
Nice. :D
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krtoon's avatar
krtoon|Professional Artist
very helpful tutorial...
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jascar| Digital Artist
sweet tutorial thanks alot
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mase0ne's avatar
mase0ne| Digital Artist
I tried it out on this illo: [link]

Thanks for the tip.
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