Making of Silver Mountain Condominiums

Architect Les Chylinski  combines traditional and digital rendering techniques to produce refined architectural renderings for his clients. Les produces a variety of products from watercolor-like illustrations to photo-realistic images. Combining the principles of traditional rendering (color, balanced composition, light) with the flexibility and accuracy of digital tools, his renderings project an artistic vision with the goal of enhancing the value of the architectural design. In this step by step progression, Les has documented his workflow of a winter scene using Adobe Photoshop over a SketchUp screen capture (SketchUp output image).

1. This is the screen capture from the SketchUp model. Most of the time I would create a base render by exporting  the model to a 3D rendering program like 3ds Max, but in this workflow, I wanted to show you that you can also choose to do all of your work in Photoshop.

SketchUp Image

2. Next I selected the red vertical siding, filled it with color and dropped the opacity by 10 percent. The vertical joint lines are done with the Line Tool. I am starting to add stone textures and adjust the perspective of those textures with the Transform Tool.

Work on Vertical Siding

3. All window mullions are done with the Line Tool again – off white and warm hues. I dropped the opacity of the mullions by about 10 percent to get the red hues of siding to show through slightly to get a better blend. The window glass is selected and filled with a color, a dark  blue hue. I dropped the opacity of the windows by about 20 percent to again let some of the red hues of the siding to show through adding depth and richness to the glass color.

Window Mullions & Glass Done

4. Balconies are also completed with the Line Tool. I always try to make sure that I take advantage of any repetitive elements so when I do the balconies I do them in elevation and copy/paste anthing that repeats. When I finish one vertical set of balconies I place them in my rendering and then using the Transform Tool, I adjust the perspective.

Balconies Completed

5. Next I add snow to the roofs and the ground. I select the areas of snow, fill with white and add Gaussian Blur Filter to soften the edges. Now I add shadows with the Selection Tool, fill them with blue hues and put the Layer on Multiply Blending Mode. Make sure to apply a small amount of Gaussian Blur to your shadows as well. This is especially important on the rooftops where the thick blanket of snow has visible rounded edges. The blue/purple hues of the shadows will add richness to the color of the building and make our snow look more convincing.

Add Areas of Snow

6. Now I add people. Make sure to add ground shadows to anchor the figures to the ground.

Add Some People

7. Now for the background. Here is the screen shot of my background stitched together from three photos.

Background Stitched Together

8. This is the photo of the foreground. I am using Channels to extract the trees from the blue background.

Foreground Image

9. Here is how I extracted the trees. First in your Channels Pallet, select the Blue Channel and Duplicate the Channel.

Duplicate Blue Channel

10. Working on a duplicate of the Blue Channel, apply Curves. Image > Adjustments > Curves (Ctrl+ M on PC). On your Curves graph you will create two points and place them like I did in the image below. The placement of the points will vary, depending on your photo but the important thing is that one point is on the very top and another on the bottom of the graph. This is something you have to experiment with but once you start moving the points on the curve you will quickly figure out how it all works.

Adjust Curves

11. This is the end result of the foreground with added sky. The sky texture layer is on a layer that is set to Multiply Blending Mode so the trees are picking up some of those blue hues at the top. The trees didn’t extract perfectly so I had to do some manual cleanup adding back the bright areas on the tree trunks. Also notice that I used some of the foreground snow from the photo. The foreground tree shadow was added using the tree on the left. I created a Selection with the extracted photo of the tree and filled the selection with blue hues and positioned it flat on the ground with Transform Tool. Finally I put the layer with the tree shadow set to Multiply Blending Mode.

Foreground with Added Sky

Final images combined.

Final Image

I had a little fun with this one and added some snow. There are a lot of free tutorials on the web on how to make snow in Photoshop so I will not go in to that as part of this tutorial.

Snow Fall Scene

Thanks for reading!


Find out more about Les and his work by visiting his website cmistudio

One Response to “Making of Silver Mountain Condominiums”

  1. Tony on September 17th, 2014 3:16 am

    This rendering has a lot of depth. It’s so important to establish a foreground, midground, and background. This rendering illustrates that perfectly.

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