This week I’ve got a real visual treat lined up for you all, as we get to know Alex Banks, otherwise known as ABGRAPHICS, a fellow who just happens to be one of the most talented painters of race replica and race original designs out there in the community. For some time now ABGRAPHICS has regularly turned out paints of the utmost highest quality, creating liveries fit to grace the finest racetracks around the world. It’s an absolute please to feature him today, and I’m sure you’re going to enjoy hearing his story and checking out his work!
Thanks for the heads up on these! I’ll definitely be following. Awesome work, and thanks so much for putting the time into them.
Great article, awesome artist. Congrats to ABGRAPHICS !
T10 & Helios thanks for asking me to put one together, hope its an interesting read!
I am continually amazed by the level of skill and detail that everyone is able to put into their designs. AB, you have some amazing designs. It is difficult to tell which are replicas, and which are originals! I am still new to painting and when I see the liveries people put together it’s sometimes a tough give and take between being inspired by everyone’s work and wanting to paint, and being discouraged that I am in no way up to the task of putting up work that’s in the same realm as these. When painting an original, do you start with a particular part of the car? Side panels over top/hood or reverse? Do you prefer to build vinyl groups directly on the car, or within the vinyl creation program? I saw a couple of your cars have some really well done color fades. Is there a trick to getting these just right?
UC: Ferrrari 430 Scuderia (FM4)
Congrats on the feature Alex, nice work.
Kdogg in response to your question hope this answers them effectively!
Kdogg “I am continually amazed by the level of skill and detail that everyone is able to put into their designs. AB, you have some amazing designs. It is difficult to tell which are replicas, and which are originals! I am still new to painting and when I see the liveries people put together it’s sometimes a tough give and take between being inspired by everyone’s work and wanting to paint, and being discouraged that I am in no way up to the task of putting up work that’s in the same realm as these.”
- [AB] - Thank you very much, I appreciate your kind words. Please don’t ever be discouraged about painting!
I have spent I don’t know how long over the course of 5+ years understanding the games ins and outs and learnt many a trick and way of working like most painters have. Its just down to plenty of time, patience and a desire to learn and test the game for everything it can do. Although when you look in the vinyl shapes given a lot seem useless but you really can find a use for them all!
I do get the impression a lot of painters dont want to posting up their designs through fear or not deeming themselves to be ‘good’, but when i started it was the painters around the forums who helped guide and advise and who others new to it looked to for that advice. To all painters don’t ever feel pressured or embarassed to ask for help/advice or crit on the forums, no question is too silly… and we were all in new painters shoes at one point.
Seriously though I do hope I never put people off trying to paint because of what I produce. Being a creative if i dont inspire in some way, even the smallest detail my time is over and i’ll have to hang up my paint brushes.
Kdogg “When painting an original, do you start with a particular part of the car? Side panels over top/hood or reverse?”
- [AB] - My originals always tend to start off with either a colour combination, the start of a base design, or a main striking logo. The basic rule I have is that the base needs to flow either around the whole car by using the panels on the car or a crease line. There is lots of real world inspiration you can also draw from.
For example in the Evo 6 below the main logo was the first to go on the side of the car and then the white and red markings that follow the cars panels or crease lines.
If you can see a logical way to have the design going from the sides over the top and keeping in the same style then it will help make the car be more realistic and tie in better.
The S15 below was completed on the sides and then the roof etc afterwards in the same style.
Use of layers and 3 colours with gradients made this car jump out, but still in parts follow the flow of the cars window lines and arch lines for example.
Every car is very different in shape, so no or very few 2 cars will ever use the same base.
Kdogg “Do you prefer to build vinyl groups directly on the car, or within the vinyl creation program?”
- [AB] - I rarely paint directly on the cars anymore. The only time I do it to use a Transit roof or Mini roof, is when i need to mirror a shape from one side to the other but everything else is then super blown up in the vinyl editor as can see the edges and smooth them a lot easier than before (even more so now the layer limits aren’t an issue)
Couple of tips though is to paint the vinyl creator background a solid black to make it crisper on screen, use an opaque vinyl at a set height to map the designs/key characters (Will take a screenshot of what i mean ASAP) Also If creating bodykits on the car try to use a light pink colour, it shows the highlights and shadows a lot clearer (Just remember to remove the shape to test it works on the base)
One of these days will have to explore twitch and show the inner workings of creating a logo!!
Kdogg “I saw a couple of your cars have some really well done color fades. Is there a trick to getting these just right?”
- [AB] - Do you mean the metallic base fade or the gradient fades? Metalic base effects are very easy to do, its the trippy ‘dual’ colour paint and then a simple transparent vinyl over the top at a low transparency in a very random colour! Light blue transparent or bright barbie pink at 3-5% creates some cool effects like you see on the Maziora 350z for example.
Experiment with the new effects and just go mad! Trial and error is a great way to work especially with the new paint colours from carbon to chrome to camo!
As for the gradient effects just use the ones that can fit the design, checking where the panels split on the sides/roof etc will help depict where you can merge them into one seamless fade. You sometimes need more than one layer to build up a gradient, so set it at 20-30% and stamp it 5-6 times for example in different locations and sizing to build up a solid layer.
Kdogg, i hope that answers your questions but anyone else feel free to ask whatever!
I’m more than happy to answer questions and share what I know
Wow! Thank you so much for such in depth answers!! I’m working on a cream colored Ferrari that has fades to reds and thin gradient racing lines. It doesn’t look right to me yet though… I will work more on the transparent fades and had never thought to directly overlay colors to create complex colors. That’s actually a VERY good idea. In some instances I find it easier to apply car specific detail right on my car but some vinyls are definitely best made in the vinyl creator. My end goal though is to recreate Japanese wood block prints directly on cars which is a tall order. Thank you again for your help and I will try to keep at it.