In this tutorial we will give you some insights regarding the architectural visualization post production process in Photoshop based on a rendering we made with 3d Studio MAX and Vray. In particular we use a special technique based on certain render elements like VrayRawShadows, VrayWireColor, VrayExtraTex, to speed up the work in Photoshop. We mainly use our tonytextures architectural entourage and show you where to get e.g. the free downloads so you can learn how to work with our graphics the best way – so lets get started!
Adding a sky background to the basic rendering
First of all we open Photoshop and open the basic rendering we previously generated in 3d Studio Max. I used the .PNG file format as output to make sure that no background is rendered and the background is transparent instead.
The .JPG file format will not work as it does not support transparency and the background would be black (or white). The transparent background direclty will ease the process to add a new sky background image.
For a new background image I browse through our 4000+Free Textures Gallery and found this one here:
You can download the free photo HERE.
Import the image in Photoshop and first scale it according to the canvas size of your rendering. Afterwards adjust the Hue and the Saturation as it looks matches with the original rendering. In this example it used
- Hue of +5
- Saturation of +30
- Lightness +15
Adding perspective grass photo texture
As we now want to add texture elements to specific building or rendering elements we use our first Render Element which is a VrayWireColor image. The idea is that different building elements are rendered with a simple color so it is pretty easy to pick the specific areas with the Magic Wand Tool and replace them with another more realistic texture. Our color coded VrayWireColor rendering looks like this:
Ok, here I select the orange and yellow area with the help of the Magic Wand Tool in Photoshop and search again for a free photo with a nice perspective grass area in the foreground of the image. I will look for two images, one with some kind of classic garden lawn (for the grass area close to the house) and a second one with a grassfield that also has some flowers for the foreground area. So I picked this one…
…and one texture image with perspective grassfield and some flowers:
We proceed by now picking the yellow and orange area with the Magic Wand Tool and remove the area from the original rendering layer (or use a layer mask to be able to change it later down the road)
If you simply put the new texture layers below the rendering layer – where you just have removed the areas – it looks like this:
Merging grass with scene by using brush technique
OK – next I would like to even better merge the new elements with our scene. In every architecture visualization project this is an integrated part of the process. Therefore we concentrate on the edges of the texture where they touch the wall to give it a little bit of realism using a brush of grass number 134 and erase the edges. Again we can adjust the Hue and the Saturation as it looks best for us (in this example it used a Hue of +4, a Saturation of +23 and a Lightness of +3 for the first texture and a Hue of +8, a Saturation of +7 and a Lightness of +2 for the second textures).
See the image below that shows how the grass elements now better are merged with the scene…
Adding building shadows to new grass area
Now to create a shadow effect on our new grass texture we proceed to insert another Vray Element that is VrayRawShadows.
First I invert the photo (CTRL+I) to change all dark colors to white and vis versa. Then I change layer blending mode to “Multiply” and adjust layer opacity to around 40%.
Adding vegetation like shrubs and vine
Now we proceed to insert the vegetation as shrubs, plants, vines, trees and other elements. I will mention the files I use in this tutorials, but if you need some free stuff to go through the steps just grab our free “OpenArchiVIZpack” with a lot of free cutout plants, trees etc.
Let’s start with bushes on the stone wall. Here I use an architecture entourage element of our CutoutPlants V03 and arrange it in the environment.
As always I play around with the Hue and Saturation of origin file to match it with the look of my scene. I also need a shadow of this plant so we create a copy of this layer and flip it vertically, change only the Saturation to -96 and Lightness to -54. Afterwards I place the layer below the original layer and finally adjust the opacity to 84%.
Next I also copy the shrub including the shadow layer and move it to the left. Then I lower opacity (33%) to make it look like it is located behind the glass railing.
We do this same procedure with the plants that will be located on the balcony. Therefore I use some cutout flowers that are part of the CutoutPlantsV04 Collection. Again I change some basic settings – in this case:
- Tone of +6
- Saturation of -16
- Lightness of +2
Next I create the shadow as well with the same technique.
Next I want to add something on the white wall on the right – we need some vine or ivy here. I found a cutout vine image in the CutoutPlantsV01 Collection that can do the job:
After importing the cutout vine plant image I transform it accoring to the perspective of the wall:
In addition the imported image needs to be modified according to the mood in my original rendering. I increase Saturation and reduce lightness a bit.
Adding a cutout tree in the foreground
Cutout trees are part of nearly every architecture visualization and post production in Photoshop. So I pick a nice tree from our CutoutTrees V01 Collection. As usual Hue, Saturation and Lightness are modified and a shadow layer will be created.
This time I need to transform and stretch the copied layer for the shadow like this:
OK I think now you got the procedure to add the plants. So I will add some more until the scenery looks like this:.
Adding cutout people
People are obviously important to bring life to every architecture visualization. I like to use textures with motion blur like you will find in the ArchitecturePeople Collection. The good thing with the ready-to-use collections is that you can really load it in your scene, scale it and done!
Add smooth shadows with Vray render element
We insert our last Render Element which is VrayExtraTex…
…once this image selected we go to Layers and click in Multiply, then we adjust to 90% the opacity or as we want, and that is it, we got other effect in the edges or vertices that generate shadows.
Adding vignetting effect
Now that we have all our environment elements in place I would like to add a vignetting effect to the final image by using an Adjustment Layer that modifies the Curves of all elements below. Here I first darken the complete scenery:
Then we select a diffuse circular eraser and proceed to erase the area from the center to the exterior on the layer mask and adjust the curve values to achieve some like the image.
As you can see now the corners and the outer parts of the image became bit darker now. Maybe bit too much, but for the tutorial it is fine to show it:
Create warmer look
And finally we insert an additional gradient map layer, in this case we used a Gold 2 gradient map, but you could use any of your liking and do some tests, we use this and give it a value of 25% to achieve more warm feeling.
Don’t feel stuck with this process feel free to make your own test and lets get the magic happen. My final result now looks like this:
I really hope you enjoyed this tutorial! I hope you could follow the steps and will test a few techniques in your next architecture visualization project as well! Most important part is to try to merge new elements like cutout trees, plants and other architecture entourage with your original rendering by adjusting saturation, hue and brightness. In addition it is always good to spent some extra time in some details like I did with the foreground grass photo to better merge it with my rendering. If you then also add some unique touch at the end I think you are ready to go!
If you liked the tutorial and want to test it yourself – feel free to grab our totally free collection of architecture entourage for your next visualization project here: