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Computer ArtsTutorial

Reflective surfaces

There are numerous ways to simulate chrome, but by reflecting an 'environment' into your artwork using and you can really make it shine. Award-winning designer Mark Mayers explains how.

1950s Southern California evokes thoughts of summertime cruising, music blasting from car radios, delinquents in leather jackets racing for pink slips and polished chrome glinting in the sun. In this tutorial I will show you how to create a highly reflective chrome logo reminiscent of the vibrant Hot Rod culture of that era.

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Chrome surfaces by their very nature have a smooth, mirror-like reflective appearance and knowing how to create a convincing chrome logo is a great trick any designer should have up their sleeve.

In this tutorial I'll be showing you how to create a convincing chrome logo by reflecting an organic photographic 'environment' into your artwork. This will bring out the dramatic darks, lights and edge details associated with reflective surfaces. You will be using Alpha Channels to store selections for future use, and the Glass filter to drive a blurred version of the logo, which will be like a bump map in a 3D application. You will also be working with the rarely used Plastic Wrap filter to create the specular highlights, as well as using the powerful features of Clipping Masks. To finish off, you will airbrush in some highlight glints.

By the end of this tutorial I hope to have provided you with the inspiration you need to incorporate some of these techniques into your own artwork. Here's how to do it.

Click here to download the support files ( 32MB)

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