SketchUp, Maxwell Render & Photoshop…Oh My!

I’m fairly getting to grips with this rendering stuff, but my aptitude seems to lie in the proficient use of Photoshop these days.  Why, oh why did it take me so long to jump on board the Photoshop train?

The evidence speaks for itself.  Or maybe it doesn’t.  If you can’t see the difference I may as well pack up my all my worldly belongings (which is basically my TV, laptop, Canon camera and 1990s mobile phone) and shut up shop.

I thought I’d take you through my post-processing routine.  I set my sights on contrast settings first.  The enhanced richness of the colours is very obvious.  And when it comes to wood grain, it really helps to tease out the detail.

Then I take a look at specific tones that need to be adjusted further.  For example, the kitchen units in this instance, have been edited.  Sometimes when you apply various lighting environments and material settings when rendering, the original colours and tones that were applied in the 3D model are affected.  Photoshop can help to right this wrong.

Next up is highlights.  All around this room are various highlights where light from either the environment settings (sun), or emitters (internal lighting) are bouncing off walls, furniture and accessories.  I like to emphasise highlights – it helps to exaggerate the overall effect and can add a little drama.  Sometimes I’ll add highlights that didn’t even exist in the original image.  Can you spot them in the image below?!

In the ‘before’ image,  part of the reflection in the mirror is blank because I used a Section Plane in the 3D model when I prepared it for rendering.  When this happens you lose part of the scene (obviously), which is only a major problem when there’s reflections.  I’ve managed to address this by copying the reflection from the mirror in a different rendered image.  How cool.  Yes, I’m very aware of how geeky I sound right now.

Then I’ll inspect patterns on furnishings etc.  Sometimes SketchUp can be a little tetchy when it comes to projected materials that have a pattern, it’s one of its greatest weaknesses (in my opinion).  So if the resulting render has a few problem areas I’ll use the clone tool in Photoshop to ensure a pattern has been repeated correctly.

Pre Anita’s Photoshop Wizardry

kitchen View Final 041213 Anita Brown Design Studio

Post Anita’s Photoshop Wizardry

Kitchen Final View Edited Anita Brown Design Studio

And here’s another example of how useful Photoshop can be.  The flames in the image below are very static and ‘fake’ looking.

Living Area 2 Final 041213

But once I’ve tweaked and fidgeted using Photoshop, they appear much more fluid and realistic.  I would imagine that the client wouldn’t take this level of detail under their notice.  But it’s my thing; I’m a stickler for detail.  It’s soooo difficult being me…

Living Area 2 Final 041213 Edited

I didn’t need to make too many adjustments to the image below.  I played around with the contrast setting and edited the flames.

Living Area Final 041213

Living Area Final 041213 Edited

This is how the visuals were presented to the client.

Amended Design - Final Presentation 3D Visuals

This isn’t my design concept, but there are bits ‘n’ pieces of Anita Brown Design Studio dotted in and around this space ;)

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5 responses to “SketchUp, Maxwell Render & Photoshop…Oh My!

  • Amanda

    Just wondering if I will ever get to this stage, I spend that much time doing historical research for the heritage modules, that there is very little time for learning much else, which is why I always feel as if I am lagging behind with these things. If I think about it too much, it becomes a worry!!

    • anitadesignstudio

      Hi Amanda! Unfortunately, if you want to try and improve your understanding of SketchUp you’re going to have to reduce the amount of time you spend gazing at old stuff! Set aside one weekend to familiarise yourself with SketchUp, it’s such a user-friendly application – you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll progress ;)

  • Amanda

    Hahaha, if only……!! To be honest, I only looked at Sketch up for the first time during Module 3 and to my astonishment, actually managed to present a pretty convincing set of models, 9 in all. It was mad because I thought at the time, wow what a great thing to back my ideas up with. This is what happens when you are an ageing technophobe lol. I used it again in Module 4 and also did some for that hotel chap I mentioned, he was sold so I thought perhaps I was using it correctly. Then I realised that I was trying to get the best from my limited knowledge and really needed to get a grip, hence upgrading to pro. Oh……it’s opened up a whole new range of terror for me………help!!!!!

  • Amy Johnson

    Anita, your work never fails to amaze me! You are so talented and such an inspiration to the rest of us students! I can’t wait until the day comes when I can achieve even half of what you have! I’ve only just created my first model with sketchup which has been one hell of a journey, but I’m really keen to get into the rendering side of things. Can you recommend any tutorials which explain rendering in basic terms for dummies like me???

    One more thing I’d like to pick your brains with is with regards to SketchUp; I used the eraser tool to ‘hide’ many lines while completing my model as erasing them completely caused too many problems. However, these hidden lines appear as faint white, dashed lines…. Is this something you’ve had any experience with or is it mainly down to my inadequate graphics card?

    • anitadesignstudio

      Amy, thank you so much for your very kind words. It makes all the torturous hours of self-teaching worth it. I’m sure you’re familiar with the frustration of trying to get to grips with the various CAD applications available. Well done for creating your first SketchUp model. There’s a great sense of achievement when you can finally see the fruits of your labour! With regards to rendering applications, there was no particular source that I relied upon. I literally typed my query or stumbling block into Google and hoped that the answer would be listed in the resulting search results! Although, where Maxwell Render is concerned I did refer to the manual that is provided when you download that particular software.

      The eraser tool will permanently delete geometry; so I’m not sure that’s always the correct action to take. You can hide geometry by selecting it and then right clicking; a sub-menu will appear and then you select ‘hide’. The broken/dashed white lines would appear on some of my models very rarely – I think this is the lines/geometry of back faces bleeding through. I think this is something to do with anti-aliasing settings and can be edited in ‘preferences’ but yes, it might be something to do with your graphics card. What you could do is hide those also?


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