SLAP CHOP! Quickie photochops worth a thousand cuss words.

Sometimes, the right visual says it all.

In the comments for last week’s Thunderbird question, I posted a couple of quick thumbnail paste-ups of how a new T-bird derivative might look. It’s something I’ve done a number of times; I sometimes use an image-editing software package called Adobe® Photoshop® (perhaps you’ve heard of it; it’s rather popular with the young people, I’ve been told). Here’s a retrospective of some past creations. FLAMESUIT DISCLAIMER: I am quite aware of that none of these display world-class photoshopping, I’m not trying to brag on my mad skillz. I am more of a publishing wonk than a true graphic artist. Most of these were slapped together pretty quickly, and I rarely devote more time than necessary to simply convey a concept. I’ve done better stuff, but even my best work pales in comparison to others who really know p-shop and can dial in some talent to back it up.

This was my first-ever photochop, circa 1992. I grafted a Ducati 350 front end and seat onto my Bultaco, then sketched a fuel tank by hand. The result might not look like much now, but at the time my Mac LCII and Logitech Scanman handheld scanner were pretty righteous hardware for a home office. Yes, the top shock mounts have disappeared.


Another early chop, and the first of several “-amino-ings.” This was the first chop I posted online over on the Jalop, even though I’d actually done it much earlier. The image manipulation doesn’t look so spiffy nowadays, but I still think the concept would’ve given “The Pill” some street cred.


The “Soulchero” is probably my favorite pickup conversion. I think it works amazingly well as a photo, and as a concept. My skills had progressed at least a little by this point.


I think nearly any vehicle is better as a shooting brake. Back when GM lied about announced that the Pontiac G8 Sport Truck was headed our way, I envisioned this. The ‘shopping is pretty quick-and-dirty, but as crude as it is, it clearly expresses a concept that just makes me giggle every time I look at it.


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Another thing I like are sedan deliveries. Again, I’d gotten technically much better by the time I did the Volvo C30, but “Bob’s Escort Service” makes me laugh. (It begs to be a LeMons team name, if it isn’t already.)


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I hesitate to include these two cringe-worthy failures. Sometimes, neither the ‘shopping nor the concept are any good. I gave up on both of these because even if I’d spent forever trying to make the images look less sucky, each one was an destined to be a smoking crater of fail. I really thought an F-10 pickup would look less stoopid. I was wrong.


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Shortening wheelbases is also fun. The Baja was hard, not only because of the complex curves of the car, but the weird perspective issues from a fairly wide-angle lens. The truck was much easier, thanks to standard straight-from-the-side shots and a big friggin’ vertical seam down the middle of the truck. This is actually from two different photos: an unaltered super-short bed from a Tacoma crew cab matched to the standard cab. [Yes, the bed and wheelbase are both uselessly short, but I imagine this being marketed as a radical Wranger-fighter (despite the long overhang) with about zippo R&D involved and about $100 worth of new tooling. Parts-Bin Engineering at its finest. They could build this tomorrow…and I would be rockin’ it (and probably rollin’ it!) by the middle of next week.]


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The objective is usually to make a ‘chop look as realistic as possible. But sometimes the very apparent “chopped-up-ed-ness” of a sketch just adds to the silliness, which in some cases is the whole point.


Okay, this one I did actually take fairly seriously and spend a fair bit of time on. I had in my head a concept for a “minimally-extended” cab, similar to the original Dodge D-series “Club Cab” and the first Datsun King Cab. No jump seats, no extra doors, just a bit more room behind the seats and slightly longer seat rails. It took me three tries to get it right, but I am pretty satisfied with this one.


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Yes, I still do bikes. These are mashups of (in order): A Kawasaki 750 Vulcan V-twin and a 750 Zephyr; a Honda 250 Nighthawk and a 50 Dream R; and a Suzuki GN400, SP370, and GS550.


And finally, here are the two sketches from the Thunderbird thread. The “Cougaurus” was my concept, but commenter Josh gets credit for originally envisioning the “FocusBird.”

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