Matt Clarey, 3D artist at Neoscape, explains how to construct the perfect architectural scene and enhance it in Photoshop.
01 View point. Start creating a successful architectural illustration by choosing a composition that tells an engaging story. We’ve set up our scene so that the area of interest, our building, falls on a third. We’ve also made the decision to show prominent landmarks in New York – the vanishing point ends near WTC1 and the Hudson River is clearly visible.
■ 02 Perfect exposure. Next we render out the base image that will be retouched. The goal here is to
make sure no parts of the image are affected by saturated shadow or blown-out highlights. We also ensure we have maximum ability to alter the image without losing information.
■ 03 Z-Depth and Channels. We begin retouching by adding a dramatic sky that matches the lighting in the image. We also use 3D render passes like the Z-depth and reflection passes combined with Channels to adjust the value, hue, lighting and reflective elements in our image. These effects add depth and atmosphere.
■ 04 Add life. Entourage adds life and scale to a scene and can make or break an image. Here, we’ve added crowds of people to show circulation patterns and indicate heavy foot traffic in areas that will appeal to retailers. We’ve also added trees and greenery to liven up the scene and reinforce the notion that it is desirable to prospective tenants.
■ 05 Enhance environment. Automobiles and other scene details, such as lamp posts and buses, help place a scene in the proper context, which in this case is New York City. Many of these elements are 3D, but just as many – if not more – are photographs composited in from reference imagery.
■ 06 Polish the image. Finally, we add colour correction. You want to push the mood and polish of the image, making sure viewers’ eyes are drawn to the correct area. This image required a vignette and atmospheric depth to draw the eye down the street and up the building. Lens flares and hotspots add drama, while vibrance is used to help the image pop.