Monday, October 12, 2015

Technology in Architecture

Post 2: Adding Trees in Photoshop


Doing post processing for architectural renderings is an important aspect of finishing up a project to present to a client. This process usually involves bringing a building rendering into Photoshop or other image editing software to add certain elements and do the finishing touches. This post will be a tutorial on how to add trees into a rendering and add shadows and lighting to make them look more realistic instead of just plopping trees into an image. First a rendering will be needed in order to place the entourage on. Here is the rendering I will do a few tutorials on. First step is to decide what trees will be used throughout the image. There are tons of websites out there that have textures, trees, people, etc. that are free to download from. A few examples of these would be or The best thing to do from these sites is to build up a library of images that can be used for future projects. Moving on now, for this rendering I want a row of similar trees then along the road. When copying the image multiple times throughout a render, make sure you either stretch it in either direction or flip it horizontal to make it look as though it has changed in shape. Next make sure the trees get small the further back into a perspective the tree is. 
Now that each of the trees is in place, as seen in the image on the below, along the road I will start add shadows for the trees to make them feel a little more realistic. Before adding the shadows the sun direction needs to be determined so that the shadows can stay consistent. If you bring in a model that already has shadows from the buildings make sure that those shadows are followed otherwise the rendering will look off. For my image, I am choosing to do the sun coming from the upper left corner and partially behind the camera. Now to do shadows make a copy of the tree and select the full tree in order to change the color of it. I like to use a slightly purple gradient so that the shadow has a little color to it but not too purple so that the shadow is a dark silhouette.
The image to the right shows the front 2 trees with shadows already placed while the back 2 trees have the purple gradient over them. The back tree shadows are now ready to be rotated and skewed in order to fit the perspective of the scene. Some of the shadows will take a little more work to make them look correct and match the other shadows. Once the shadow is rotated and in place lowering the opacity of that layer shadow will be nearly complete. Sometimes a few final touches are needed to make the color a little more accurate so to do this, adjust the levels or curves to get a desired color. Finally all the trees and shadows are in place for this portion of the rendering. A final step for this would be to highlight where the sun is hitting the tree with a bit of a white or yellowish overlay and then darken the underside where the sun is not hitting. There are numerous ways to do everything so the way I have shown is not the only way to go about placing trees and shadows. Below is the finished rendering at this point and I will continue to build upon this until it is completed.

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