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We have always been fascinated in experimentation with the use of SketchUp alone or in combination with other different applications in developing unique and visually attractive styles of presentation. We have witnessed some great styles and techniques that have evolved over time and here we are presenting some of them with all credit given to their original and rightful authors with links to their work.

“Traditional like” painting technique by Neil Cristobal

This post production tutorial was created by  Neil Cristobal (a.k.a. ‘Bokkins’) at the 3D Allusions website. “After learning the ‘traditional-like’ painting technique using Photoshop, I have prepared a simple step by step tutorial to guide you and try this painting style”. You can view the complete tutorial here.

Neil Cristobal

Illustrating Sketchup in Photoshop by Lyam

Here is a short tutorial on how I illustrate my models in Photoshop. I dont have a direct render engine for sketchup and was fed up importing my models into Lightwave or MAX so started painting them in photoshop instead.

Illustrating Sketchup in Photoshop by Lyam

Illustrating Sketchup in Photoshop by Lyam

Watercolor technique by Ecuadorian

This watecolor technique was created using a combination of layer masks, filters ,Photoshop wetmedia brushes and watercolor tint action.You can see the orginal post here and a short  explanation of the process with the links to the brushes and the actions can be seen here.


Sketchup + xara digital watercolour by Ross Macintosh

Here’s an approach to digital watercolours by Ross Macintosh. Although he uses uses Xara Xtreme, vector illustration software, the techniques could likely be adapted to other image editing programs that support ps-compatible plug-ins. We think that this technique is quite flexible and offers lots of possibilities. The link to the full tutorial is here.


The Making of Maschlud Haul by Andrew Collis

In this great tutorial Andy Collis demonstrates his unique approach to creating digital concept art using Google SketchUp, Autodesk 3D Studio Max and Adobe Photoshop.The methods used are not specific to these packages, and similar results could be achieved with SketchUp and any reasonable rendering and paint software. See the full tutorial here


Jim Leggitt’s technique

Jim Leggitt begins with a quickly generated SketchUp model, digitally altering the image and then completing it by hand. This tradigital process has four distinct steps: 1) model construction, 2) image manipulation, 3) image printing, and 4) hand rendering. This process of Jim’s is near the bottom of his pdf


The Richard technique by Richard

To quote the author ” Personally I like the effect and when it is printed from the original 6Mb file it looks so real as a sketch it is rather scary”. The process is somewhat similar to the Dennis tecnique. You can browse the thread and download the PDF tutorial in this thread here.


Watercolor technique by Jan Sandstrom (Pixero)

“I’ve been trying to achieve watercolor look in Photoshop and here is some thoughts of mine:First, I haven’t yet seen any of you actually use a watercolor paper texture with the right grain. To me it looks like either burlap or canvas. I also think anything believable must contain human mistakes and simplifications.Study how the colors in a watercolor painting is usually brighter/lighter than in a photo”….read more here.


Watercolor techniques by Majid Yeganegi

See some of the various styles developed by Majid Yeganegi in these two threads here and here. Thanks also too PKast for describing those actions in the same thread : ” Thanks Majid. I think you use some interesting techniques in your style, a little bit different from the others. I learned a lot by studying your actions. I also like the idea of using actions to quickly get through the tedium of repetitive tasks.”


Creating a mixed media image in Photoshop by David Huang

This tutorial was originally written for the Podium forum. The intent is to use Photoshop to combine a rendered image with Sketchup’s linework for an illustrative semi-realistic quality (as opposed to pure photorealism). Podium is a simple to use rendering plugin which runs directly in Sketchup, but any render software can be substituted. See full tutorial here.


Image to watercolor technique by Archytextural

Here’s a process I’ve used to create more “artistic” images from “rigid” computer renderings. I get the line work of the finished image using 2 copies of the same layer, apply linear dodge to one and image adjustment of inverse. then do a Gausean blur to get the line work to show up. Then I merge visible to join the two layers, and desaturate to make it black and white. See the full tutorial here.


The Dennis Technique by Dennis Nikolaev

Probably the most widely used technique was developed by Dennis Nikolaev at the former SketchUp forums. The secret here is in exporting three images  the color texture with shadows, line art and line art with shadows, overlaying and manipulating them in Photoshop. Over time, there has been many many variations that have developed out of this original style. Here is the original thread and here a link to the original PDF tutorial. You can also see the latest work of Dennis Nikolayev on his web page here.


The Overlay style by Bayan

Here is another great Photoshop technique. It is called the ‘Overlay’ style because the main trick is to overlay two images in Photoshop, thus producing a fat coloured, light burned image .  Exporting two images from SketchUp, first coloured with textures and shadows but without edges and second coloured with textures shadows and edges and X-ray mode turned on. The post process in Photoshop is simple but effective. The original technique was posted  here. There is a revised tutorial and a acomplete  Pdf  tutorial here.


The Watercolor technique by Grant Marshal

Another one of the great techniques probably the best watercolor styles we have seen, was developed by another member of the old SketchUp forums Grant Marshal, Architect from South Africa. See the tutorial here and more on Grant Marshals work here


The pen and ink style by Grant Marshal

Here is yet another great style created by Grant Marshal. Unfortunately I don’t think that a tutorial exists but you can read more about it here.


The BW/Sepia effect by Mateo Soletic

For some time now I have been experimenting on various techniques in the aim of producing high quality CG professional render output, yet one with a subtle brush and line work touch that resembles the natural effect of SketchUp.  Should there be more line or less brush it is all a matter of preferences but the combination of two overlaying images, the natural SketchUp export and rendered image with a post process effect in Photoshop gave me this final Marina Scene image. You can follow a tutorial on it here.


The Worncall – technique by Marcday

Another great Photoshop technique created by Marcday on the PushPull forum. This is a technique to enrich basic flat SketchUp renders to a warm and soft cuddly image with a tinge of realism. There are four basic stages to this technique:  Multiple exports of the same view within SketchUp, layering these exports in Photoshop, specular painting and the depth of field blur.  Here you can see the complete tutorial.


The Sketchy SketchUp technique by Lentexx

Another Photoshop technique variation on the Dennis technique. In this case  a masonite paper watermark was used. Three different images were exported and combined into one . Motion blur was used to make the image a bit sketchy and a ripple filter can also be used. You can see this tutorial here.


Zem’s Watercolor look tutorial by David Huang

Here is another excellent  Step by Step tutorial by David Huang. This was done with a scene rendered with  Podium  but again any render software can be substituted.  See the related thread and the pdf file.


Photoshop technique  using depth maps by Lewis Wadsworth

The “secret” is a Style/Scene combo that uses Fog, whacked-out shadow settings, and monochrome face rendering…you create the depth mask effect by opening a new Channel in Photoshop and pasting the saved grayscale file into it…then you can use the mask to control intensity of various bitmap editing operations based on distance from the camera. I’ve been using this successfully since SU6 came out, and I could do it with SU5 with somewhat more difficulty using the Fog Ruby script.) Read more about this technique here.


Post-process  tutorial by Rob Moors

In his post-process tutorial Rob Moors will be creating from a plain SketchUp image a customised PP render as seen on the following image.  The thread and a Pdf file can be found here.


Sketchup to photoshop technique by Charlie

This technique is purely made from exported jpegs from sketchup and then ‘painted’ in photoshop, with the help of a collection self made textures, objects and people psd. files. See the full tutorial and download the Pdf file here.


Creating an Onion Skin in Google SketchUp by Jason Christiansen

In his tutorial Jason demonstrates a quick and simple technique that will create a composite image, incorporating a photo of an existing space and a Google SketchUp model.Two programs will be used to accomplish this, Google SketchUp and Adobe Photoshop, although it is possible to complete this tutorial using Google SketchUp only. See full tutorial here


If You have developed some interesting styles of your own or if you know of some great techniques out there that would be of interest to the SketchUp community please write us a note.

Thank you for visiting.

To be continued….

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Bruce McIsaac permalink
    April 28, 2009 4:10 pm

    Great effort guys thanks very much.

  2. April 28, 2009 5:21 pm

    Been looking for something like this for a great while… THANKS!!

  3. Dylan permalink
    May 1, 2009 3:03 pm

    Nice work guys, this is a very good resource!

  4. July 2, 2009 1:59 pm

    Really, really excellent collection of tutorials for using SketchUp in a more artistic manner: Just what i was looking for.

  5. JAIME ROMERO permalink
    July 30, 2009 9:33 pm

    Simply… AMAZING! thanks for creating this collection of very talented Artists/Architects/Designers.

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