Photoshop is a powerful software. It gives you full control on manipulating pixels. It’s younger brother, Illustrator, has same quality in handling vector. In this tutorial, we are going to use both software to draw a realistic motorbike helmet from scratch.
This tutorial is written exclusively for PSD Vault by Indonesian Graphic Designer Mohammad Jeprie.
This is the helmet that we are going to draw.
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Step 1: Reference and Manual Drawing
First, we need lots of references to understand the helmet’s shape, proportion, and its reflection. Google Image is a good place to start. You can also search for images from helmet seller in eBay. Take your pencil and paper and then start drawing the helmet shape. Scan the result. We are going to use it as reference inside Illustrator.
Step 2: Drawing Helmet in Vector
We are going to use the scanned image as reference for drawing in Adobe Illustrator. Make new file in Illustrator (Ctrl + N) and then drag the image. From the Layers Panel, click the lock icon to prevent it from accidentally moved. Add new layer on top of the image.
Using Pen Tool, start by drawing basic shape of the helmet. You can see that I’m not so strict with the line from the drawing. I add a bit of modification into the shape.
We are going to draw the helmet’s rubber on its lower part. To do this, we draw the area, extends outside the helmet.
Select the basic helmet shape, duplicate it by clicking Ctrl + C and then Ctrl + F. Select both shape, which are the duplicated helmet shape and the shape we drew earlier, and then select Intersect in The Pathfinder Panels.
Here is the result we have. We are going to use this same technique to draw other shapes.
These following shapes are made using the same techniques used earlier.
Draw following shape on its mouth area.
We need to add gap by adding another slightly bigger shape.
Add following to be used as a ventilation hole.
Next, draw its visor.
We are going to draw the end part of the visor. Start by drawing a circle and a rectangle on its center. Select the rectangle shape, right click and then select Transform > Rotate. Set its rotation angle to 30° and then click Copy button.
Here’s the duplicated shape.
While the shape is still selected, hit Ctrl + D a few times to repeat the transformation process until we have the rectangles in full circle.
Select all the rectangles and the circle behind them. From The Pathfinder Panels, click Unite icon to combine all into one shape.
We want the shape to be less edgy. Choose Effect > Stylize > Round Corners. Set its Radius to 5 pt and then click OK.
Combine the shape to turn it into part of the visor.
We are going to draw bolt that attach the visor to the helmet. Draw some circles on the same origin point.
Add plus sign made from two rectangles. Put them behind the small circles.
Add smaller bolt by duplicating the previous shape and then transform it size.
Draw nose cover behind the cover.
Use Pen Tool to draw inner padding. I use a bunch of them because I’m planning on breaking them down into several separated shapes.
This is the result when all the shapes is filled with white and stacked in the right place.
Let’s add ventilation system on top of the helmet. Start by drawing the following shape.
Draw its other side to make it appears three-dimentional.
Manually, draw some holes on the shape.
Duplicate the basic shape and then place it behind the helmet’s basic shape.
I think this is looking good. We’ll add the detail later in Photoshop.
Step 25: Exporting to Photoshop
Select all the shapes and then hit Ctrl + C to copy them.
Open up Photoshop. Make new file. Paste the helmet vector by clicking Ctrl + V. You will have option for pasting metode. If you want to keep as is, just as a vector line in Illustrator, you can choose Smart Object. But, here we want to use the helmet shape as vector paths and shape. Select your shape layer and then click OK
Here’s what we have now. All the vectors are presented as vector paths in a layer shape.
Step 27: Preparing the Layer Shapes
Double click the layer shape and change its color to something vibrant and striking. This will help us to differentiate each part of the helmet easily.
Use >strong>Move Tool, the one with black arrow, Select basic shape of the helmet. Move them into new layer by clicking Ctrl + Shift + J. Change its color to new one.
Do the same with the other part of the helmet. Each should have different colors. In the image below, the visor’s Opacity is reduced wo we can see the shapes behind it.
Hide all the shape except for the helmet’s basic shape. The first step to turn a flat shape into three dimentional shape is adding simple light using Layer Style. Double click the layer shape and then add Inner Shadow, Inner Glow, and Gradient Overlay using following setting.
Here’s the result. Not yet realistic but this is a good start.
Make new layer above the helmet basic shape and set it into a clipping mask. From now on, everything you put inside this layer will goes inside the helmet. Activate Tool Brush with low Opacity and set foreground color to white. Dab once to add reflection on the helmet surface.
Add another relection using same technique used above. This time use bigger Opacity for The Tool Brush.
Add another reflection.
Add new layer and set it to Clipping Mask too. Select half lower part of the helmet and then add subtle lighting.
Using same technique but this time paint with black, add shadow onto the surface.
Add layer shape for the helmet’s rubber band at the bottom. We have imported the path earlier from illustrator. You just need to select it and move it to new separated layer shape. Set its color to almost black.
Double click the layer shape to reveal Layer Style dialog box. Add Inner Glow and Gradient Overlay to add shadow into the rubber band.
You can see that there is a thin shadow on upper part of the rubber.
Add new layer and set it to Clipping Mask. Dab using The Brush Tool to add subtle lighting onto the surface. Make sure to tone down its Opacity to get subtle result.
Add new layer and then manually paint white using The Brush Tool to add stronger highlight on upper part of the rubber.
I notice that the surface still seems too flat. So, I decided to add another small highlight onto the surface.
Add shape in front of the mouth piece. Use same color as the helmet, red. Add black line to keep it separated from the main helmet shape.
Add new layer and then add highlight on the surface.
Add another layer and then manually paint sharp highlight using The Brush Tool with white foreground color.
Step 45: Nose Cover
Add nose cover with color grey. Add another layer and then paint white for highlight using The Brush Tool. Make sure to use big Brush Size with 0% Hardness to get big and soft highlight.
Step 46: Internal Padding
Add layer shape for the internal padding. Put the layer underneath the helemet’s basic shape layer. Use dark color, such as
#262626. Don’t use black because we are going to add pattern to it.
Double click the layer and then activate Inner Glow and Pattern Overlay.
For the pattern, use free pixel pattern from my site.
Add another inner padding. Place it behind the previous shape and make it darker. Apply same layer style and pattern to it.
Add new layer and then paint highlight on top of the shape to differentiate between those two paddings.
Add another padding for its opposite side. Make it much darker.
And another one. This one should be the darkest since it is further than the other padding.
Step 52: Ventilation
We are going to add ventilation on top of the helmet. Add the shape. I’m just going to use same color as the overall helmet. We can simply change its color later if we want to.
Apply Inner Shadow and Gradient Overlay.
We need to turn it into a three-dimentional shape by adding its opposite side. Make new selection and add highlight inside the selection.
Paint stronger highlight on the new side of the ventilation.
If needed, you can add subtle highlight or shadow to add realistic lighting into the shape.
Add new layer and place it underneath the ventilation shape. Using Brush Tool, paint ventilation’s shadow on the helmet surface.
Add a rectangular hole attached on top of the ventilation shape.
Apply Bevel & Emboss and Gradient Overlay.
Add another shape, this time a bit bigger. Set Fill to 0%.
Apply Bevel & Emboss, Inner Shadow, and Gradient Overlay to the shape.
Next, draw some rectangles inside the shape. You need to think about the perpective of the surface to make sure that the shapes are attached to its base. For its color, you should use same color as its surface but a lot darker.
On second thought, I want to have different color on the ventilation shape. To do this, no need to change the color of each element or worse, redraw all. We could just add adjustment layer. Make new selection based on the top ventilation shape and then click Add Adjustment Layer icon from The Layers Panel and then select Hue/Saturation. To make new selection that cover exactly the ventilation shape, you have to Ctrl + Click its layer shape thumbnail in The Layers Panel. In The Properties Panel, drag the Hue slider to change its base color.
Add top ventilation on the opposite side. This shape should be behind the helmet base shape.
Add another layer set as Clipping Mask. Paint shadow on lower part of the shape.
As with the previous top ventilation, we need to add Adjustment Layer Hue/Saturation to change its color.
Here’s what we have so far. The helmet has top ventilation on both side.
Step 66: Visor
We are going to start drawing the visor. In my opinion, this is where realism comes alive. The difference with and without visor is very significant. We start by drawing rest area for the visor. You can see it below.
We also need to draw rubber on the helmet inner edge which will be covered by the visor. You can draw this using Brush Tool. For now, it’s just basically a gray line following the inner edge of the helmet.
We need to add highlight and shadow to turn it into a three-dimentional shape. For starter, it’s simple, add Bevel & Emboss.
Bevel & Emboss is not enough. We need to add highlight manually. Use The Brush Tool to paint some white pixel inside the rubber.
For realistic result, try to do this a few using different Brush Size and Opacity. Below you can see the result in bigger magnification.
Ctrl + Click path we made earlier in Step 15 to make new selection based on its shape. Add new layer and then click Edit > Stroke. Set Width to 5 px using color similar to the base of the visor. Click OK button.
Double click the layer and then add Bevel & Emboss, Inner Shadow, Gradient Overlay, and Drop Shadow to turn it into a three-dimentional shape. Use these following settings.
We’re going to add a bolt that connect the visor to the helmet. Start with a gray circle. Double click the layer and then add following Layer Styles.
This is the result we have from the layer styles combination.
Add new layer on top and then paint highlight on the top right using small white Brush Tool.
Draw another circle and add Layer Styles too.
Add another circle shape, smaller this time. Give it Layer Styles too.
And another circle shape, smaller. Add identical Layer Styles as the previous circle shape.
Here’s what we have. Pretty neat, isn’t it? We just need to cut plus sign into it.
Add plus sign made from two rectangles shapes. Add these Layer Styles.
Finally, add a small circle shape with these Layer Styles.
Duplicate the bolt and transform it to smaller size (Ctrl + T).
We will also gonna need a grid that holds the visor’s movement.
Add following Layer Styles to make it appears realistic.
Now, it’s time to draw the visor. For its color, set it to light gray.
Set the visor layer’s Fill to 10% and apply Gradient Overlay from light gray to white.
Add new layer on top of the visor and then add two light reflection. One on the visor and the other, which is bigger, on the helmet surface. Both reflection should be exclusive, only on helmet surface or only on the visor, this will make add impression that both surface has different characteristic.
We also want to make sure that the visor is seen as three-dimentional object, not just a thin cover. We could achieve this by painting a line on top of the visor for its thickness.
Paint shadow and highlight right next to the visor.
Add another layer and then paint white on the visor using soft big Brush Tool.
Add another highlight on the visor, this time stronger. Start by creating a poligonal selection using The Poligon Lasso Tool and then fill it with white. Soften the highlight by reducing its Opacity
Don’t forget to add reflection on the helmet surface too.
On the helmet surface, on its inner edge, paint the visor’s shadow.
Step 89: Adding Arts
The basic helmet shape is already done. We want to add art onto it. We could this by adding shape into Clipping Mask layer on the helmet.
Keep adding necessary art onto the helmet.
We could also combine it with Layer Style. Such as adding Inner Glow to add soft line along the art’s edge.
All the art that was added to the helmet might reducing the contrast on the helmet surface and make it appears flat. Let’s add highlight on lower part of the helmet.
Add light reflection on top of the art.
Add new layer and put it above the helmet basic shape as a Clipping Mask. Fill some part with white.
Paint some areas with black using soft big brush.
Click Filter > Pixelate > Color Halftone.
Click OK to apply the filter. Transition areas between white and black pixel are affected by the filter.
If you’re not sattisfied with the result, you can always start again by repainting again or changing The Color Halftone settings. Set its layer Blend Mode to Multiply. This way, white pixels are hidden and only dark pixels were seen.
After some trials and errors, I came up with this result.
I also add a metal pattern alongside the art.
Step 98: Adding Logo
In Adobe Illustrator, I drew this logo made from combination of text and rounded rectangle shapes. Convert the text by right clicking it and then select Type > Create Outlines. Copy the logo and then return to Photoshop.
In Photoshop, paste the logo as a new Shape Layer. Make sure you place the logo as a Clipping Mask to the basic helmet shape.
Let transform it so it fits with the surface’s curvature. Hit Ctrl + T then right click and select Warp.
Pull the handles until we have the logo distorted.
Step 102: Front Ventilation
Add this hole near the mouth area for air ventilation. For its color, use dominan color in this region. In this case, blue.
Add slight Drop Shadow with white color to add highlight onto its edge.
Add a shape and place it above the hole. Set it inside the hole by converting it into a Clipping Mask (Ctrl + Alt + G).
Add Bevel & Emboss, Inner Shadow, Inner Glow, and Pattern Overlay to turn this flat shape into three-dimentional shape. For the pattern, use dotted pixel pattern.
Add new layer and then paint shadow on top of the shape to make it appears inside the ventilation hole.
Add new layer and then manually highlight inside the ventilation hole. Use The Brush Tool to do this.
Step 108: Adding Light Reflections
So far, you can saya that our work is done. We’ve done drawing the helmet, but I want to push it further by adding reflection on it. For easier work, we want to make sure everything we paint is going to be inside the helmet. To do this, we use masking. Add new group layer and then Ctrl + Click the helmet basic shape to make new selection based on its shape. Next, you want to add layer mask to the group layer by clicking Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of The Layers Panel.
Add new layer and then add light reflection on the helmet’s edge..
This is how you paint the highlight. Start with painting white using big soft Brush Tool with low Opacity. Paint white again using smaller Brush Tool and higher Opacity. Finally, paint white line using Brush Tool with small size brush, 1 px or 2 px, and 100% Opacity.
Add lots of these highlight on the helmet surface.
Don’t forget to add shadow too if needed. Here, shadow is added on rear side of the helmet by painting black on that region.
Add more highlights to edges of the helmet.
You can also add highlight on the top ventilation.
Step 114: Modifying Helmet Color
It would be nice if we could change the helmet’s color without having having to dig out each layer and changing its color individually. Yeah, let’s do it. Make new selection based on the helmet basic shape. Click Add Adjustment Layer icon in the bottom of The Layers Panel and select Hue/Saturation.
You can simply drag the sliders to modify its color.
Step 116: Background
White background is kinda boring. So, we can just add new layer underneath the helmet and then fill it with radial gradient from gray to black. Reduce its Opacity to keep the gradient subtle as in a studio photo shoot.
And finally, this is the result we have. You can see that we gradually start from flat shape, paint highlight and shadow, and then add subtle glow and reflection on surface. The process took a lot of time, of course. Other than the technique itself, I wish you can learn to be patient and keep on moving forward to add realism into your drawing. I hope you enjoy this long tutorial and thank you for reading.