Watercolor Style Tutorial

This model was drawn in SketchUp and rendered in V-Ray for SketchUp. What I am trying to achieve in this tutorial is a nice simple watercolor effect using my image editor, in this case Photoshop.

Step 1.Take your raw rendered image from V-Ray and bring it into Photoshop. In Photoshop copy the Layer by duplicating it.

Duplicate Layer

Step 2. With the copied Layer active, go to Filter>Filter Gallery and select the Dry Brush Filter. Input the following values; Brush Size 8, Brush Detail 4 and Texture 1 and click OK.

Apply Dry Brush Filter

Step 3. For the sky background I used the Brush Tool to create a manual stroke style. On a new Layer, use a Soft Round Brush with the Opacity reduced to about 70% to allow for smooth blending of color. Alternatively you can import a sky image and apply the Dry Brush Filter we used in Step 2.

Apply Sky Background

Step 4. On a new Layer create some reflection in the glass. Use the Brush Tool and brush it on manually. Then reduce some of the Layer Opacity.

Tip: The Burn and Dodge Tool will help create some values in your colors while using your watercolor brushes.

Add Reflection on the Glass

Step 5. Next create some extended lines running out from the building on a new Layer, as shown in the image below to create a nice sketch effect.

Extended Lines

Step 6. Now at this stage in order for me to create a better watercolor image, we need a lot of landscape foliage. In the image below you can see all the plants I used in this image. Use actual pictures of plants. You can Google these images or a good free source for plant images is the Facebook account called SketchUp Texture (And don’t forget to say thanks for all the great free content they share).

Entourage Images

Step 7. To create this watercolor effect to the plant image, I started with the color tree image and duplicated the Layer, calling it the Shadow Layer. Then with the Shadow Layer active, go to Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation (Ctrl+U)  and input a value of -100 in the Lightness field to make a pure black color. Make sure this black image is placed under the color image of the tree.

Create Shadow Layer

Step 8. With the original color image on top of the Shadow Layer and active, go to Filter>Artistic>Watercolor and input the following values; Brush Detail  12, Shadow Intensity 1 and Texture 1 and click OK. Next gently erase some areas of the color Layer to allow some of the Shadow Layer underneath to show through. Reduce the opacity of the Shadow Layer down to about 80% to add a translucent effect. Finally create a new Layer on top so we can add some maple leaves brushed on using foreground and background colors for added effect.

Watercolor Technique for Tree

Step 9. This is the image with all the entourage (made using the same technique as in Step 8) in place and shown as numbered. Duplicated and scaled as needed.

Image with Entourage

Step 10. After completing the same procedure in Step 8 with all your entourage we carry out the final step. Duplicate all your Layers and Group them. Select all the other Layers and merge them (Ctrl+E). With your merged Layer active now go to Filter>Texture>Texturizer. In Texturizer select Canvas for Texture, Scaling 71%, Relief 3 and Light Bottom Left.

Texturizer Settings

Final Image

Final Image

Thanks for reading this tutorial and I hope you found it useful. Even if you use only some parts of it I am sure it will enhance your own daily work-flow and help impress your clients.

AJ Cabalhao Aloro

6 Responses to “Watercolor Style Tutorial”

  1. Remilekun on June 9th, 2012 10:15 pm

    Nice one!

  2. Sketchup rendering on June 27th, 2012 11:57 am

    Amazing post.I just love it.
    Thanks for your tips,these really gone help me out.

  3. Vanden on July 8th, 2012 5:44 pm

    Great job! Amazing work.

    Curious how you did people entourage?

  4. Larissa on October 1st, 2012 10:38 pm

    Please, could you tell me the size of the file you rendered from V-ray? I’m trying to apply that dry brush filter but it doesn’t work. I mean, it distorts too much, even if I adjust its levels. Perhaps I’m using a too small image, right?

  5. Gary Ccbb on November 18th, 2012 6:24 pm

    Superb renderings and thanks for the useful Facebook link.

  6. d azad on December 10th, 2012 5:59 pm

    I wish I had learnt computer graphics earlier.. great work. thanks.

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