Creating a Car Dashboard Using the Brush Tool


This tutorial is about creating a car dashboard using just some simple elements like Dodge, Burn, Black and White Brush, Gradients and Strokes. The techniques used for this tutorial are similar to the technique we have used to create the icons that you can check out at Create a Glossy Sports Car Seat Icon in Photoshop - Psd Plus Tutorial and How to Create a Virtual Auto Using 100% Brush Techniques, but in this tutorial everything has been applied on a larger scale. We'll share with you tips on how to apply these techniques to larger artwork.


Again we have decided to collaborate for another great tutorial that will help you improve your Photoshop skills, Negreu Andreas is a young friend of mine, at only 18 years old he is starting on the right side of the road, working his way up to creating great Graphics.

Together we are learning new techniques that we are very happy to share with you. We both have different ideas and ways of working, and interesting techniques to show you that will help you improve your Photoshop abilities.

In this tutorial you will be taken through a step-by-step process learning how to construct each element that is presented on the dashboard. You will create every element from scratch. It is not necessary to use a tablet for this tutorial, but I definitely recommend you use one. If you are having problems deciding on a tablet you can check out this post that will surly help you decide How to Choose a Graphics Tablet that Fits Your Needs.

Step 1 - Tracing the Sketch

Before you start working on the dashboard you need to first create a sketch of what you want your dashboard shape to look like, or if you are not that good at drawing you can use an image for reference and create the outlines.

To create the sketch you can use the Pen Tool (P) and simply create a path like below. Place the path over the document you want to start the project.

Step 2 - Adjusting the Sketch

Now that you have finished your sketch you will need to erase the sketch lines that overlap.

Step 3 - Applying Color

It is time to start applying the color to each element that you will create. To keep things organized you will need to create a different layer for each color applied and also place each color in separate folders, named by the object.
Start with the big part and apply a blue color.

Next is the steering wheel buttons.

Now work on the center of the steering wheel.

Create one more aluminum part on the steering wheel.

In the end the image should look something close to the one below.

Step 4 - Start Creating Shapes

First of all we will start by creating the steering wheel handles. For this you will have to use mostly brush and strokes. First create 2 slight strokes and apply the color.

Next you will start adding shadows and lights.

And lastly 2 soft strokes that will make the handle look glossy.

Apply some more final strokes that will make the shape look ever better.

Step 5

Now that you have created the left handle you need to create the right handle using the same techniques.

Step 6

Time to create the button panels that are attached to the steering wheel.

Step 7

Repeat Step 6 for the other side of the buttons panel.

Step 8

Time to create the lower part of the metallic steering wheel.

Step 9

Now create the middle part of the steering wheel.

Add in some light and shadow to the shape and also soften the stroke for a more realistic look.

In order to add more light you need to use the white brush.

Step 10

Now we will start working on the speedometer. First of all create a new layer over the stroke you made. Create a circle using the Elliptical Marquee Tool. Then apply light and shadow to it.

In this part of the step you will be creating some nice reflections and a glossy effect. These effects are simple to obtain and they give a really interesting look to the final result.

Now that the exterior of the speedometer is finished you need to start working on the interior.

In this part of the step you will create the arrow and the markings.

Step 11

For this step you will have to repeat Step 10 and create one more speedometer. The thing is that this speedometer will have just a few differences than the first one.

Step 12

Next you will start creating the fans. This fan you will create right now, you will need to duplicate two times and place each in different places. First of all create a circle in the marked spot and fill the circle with #7d7d7d, then erase the white stroke. You will then need to create two different strokes.

Create the lights and shadows using the Blur and Dodge Tools (O).

Next you will transform the shape into a 3D object.

Now you are almost over with this fan but still need to add some more shadows and effects.

Create a few light spots and then duplicate the fan and place it in the right positions.

Step 13

Now we'll create something different. Using only lights and shadows, create the shape of the blue plastic element. Start by creating a stroke around the right vent.

The same technique needs to be applied to the right side of the vent.

And now you will be working on a wider scale but the thing is the technique used will be the same. All you will use will be just the Brush Tool, Smudge Tool and Blur Tool.

Last things you need to do, are to add more reflections to the corners.

Step 14

In this step we'll concentrate on creating the watches that represent the fuel, water and other meters. Start by creating the shape and the positioning of each meter.

Next you will start adding shapes to one of them.

Now you need to continue adding the rest of the elements in the central circle.

Finally make the last adjustments.

Step 15

Next you need to create two buttons for starting the engine and other functionality. Start off by creating a circle using the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M) and then stroke the selection with a 1px brush.

In the end just duplicate the button, rotate it and place it in the right spot.

Step 16

Now we'll start making some changes to the board. First of all, erase the black layer below all the layers and start recreating the shape adding shadows and lights.

Add a few glossy strokes.

Step 17

In this step you will be creating the lower part of the dashboard. You will be using mostly the brush tool in this step.

Continue creating the lower part of the dashboard adding shadows and lights.

Step 18

Next we'll create a venting hole in the upper part of the dashboard. Start by creating a new folder and in this folder a new layer. Create a selection using the Elliptical Marquee Tool, then start adding shadows and lights as shown.

Now create the edges of the vent.

Lastly work on the details.

Step 19

Now we'll start working on the steering wheel.

This step is about adding shadows and lights.

Now it is up to the details, reflections and glossy strokes.

Step 20

Now we will work on the center of the steering wheel and make it look pretty, glossy, and metallic. Start by adding a few reflections of light and shadow over the metallic elements, then erase the center part.

Step 21

Now we'll start working on the left-lower part of the dashboard.

In this part, use the Brush Tool (B) and a lot of strokes to create reflections, lights and a glossy effect.

Step 22

In this step we'll create a very stylish handle that will be placed in the lower-right side of the dashboard.

Step 23

In this step we'll work on the lower-middle part of the dashboard and create the digital screen as well. Start by creating the two aluminum parts using the Brush Tool.

Now that the two elements have been created, let's make the monitor. This will look like a digital photo frame in the end.

Step 24

Let's create the windshield.

Now start adding lights and shadows to define the shape and details.

Step 25

In this step we'll continue with the construction of the windshield. Repeat Step 24 but this time apply the effects on the right side.

Step 26

Now we'll work on the inside mirror. First you need to make a selection and fill the selection with #3f3f3f. Then we'll start adding shadows and lights.

Now we'll add the details (strokes, lights, shadows, gloss, and reflections).

Step 27

Below is the preview image of the almost finalized result.

Now all that is left for you to do is to maybe add a few more elements to the car like extra buttons, textures and color effects.


You can view the final image below or view a larger version here. Have fun applying these techniques on larger scale artwork.

Related Posts