[Automotive Photography] Transparent Hood For Your Car

Have you ever seen those shots where the hood looked transparent, and you could see the engine below it? I always thought those were pretty cool.

Luckily for me, I have been messing with Photoshop for like a decade before I picked up photography, so I knew how to edit those shots. If you haven’t, don’t worry it’s simple.

If you have ever wondered how these kinds of images are done, I am here to show you.

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Let’s take our shots, shots, shots, shots

First, you have to take two pictures of the car. I don’t care what angle, as long as you can see both the hood and the engine when the hood is up. Or, you can do this for the door(s) and interior, the choice is yours.

The first picture we need is a good angle with the hood down.

Set your camera on a tripod, adjust the settings to your liking and take a picture.

The second picture we need is one with the hood open.

Open the hood of the car, and take another picture in the same position and with the same settings.

Great, you now have both of the shots you need for this cool effect.

Alpine White BMW E92 M3 - ESS Supercharger Transparent Hood

Now, it’s time for Photoshop, shop, shop, shop

Take your two shots and put them in the same file so you have two layers.

The shot with the hood down should be on top, and the hood up should be below it.

Add a layer mask to the top layer, grab the Brush tool, make sure your foreground color is black, and choose your settings for the brush.

You do not want to set the opacity of your brush to 100 because you don’t want it to fully remove the hood; you want to make it look transparent. Around 70 – 80 would be an ideal opacity for the brush.

Also, make sure the hardness is at around the same (70-80) so you get a nice smooth transition between the edges.

Be careful not to go too far out and erase other parts of the car, you only want to paint over about 80% of the hood, so it doesn’t just cut off. If you want it to look like the hood is completely transparent, you can do that as well, leaving no trace of the hood. But for me, about 80% gives me the best outcome. Feel free to experiment with it.

Francis' Accord

Well there you have it, now you know how easy it is to get that cool effect of the transparent hood.

Those shots are your canvas, feel free to play around with the canvas and see what works and what doesn’t. What’s the worst that can happen? You have to undo and give it another try? Big deal!

What works for others, might not work for you and vice versa.

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