Making of Old Town – Day, Night and NPR

3D Vizualiser and Graphic designer Zernan Suarez has produced this tutorial for us, covering scene set-up, materials, both day and night renders and NPR. Software used includes SketchUp, V-Ray for SketchUp, Photoshop and the freeware filter software FotoSketcher. Included in this comprehensive tutorial are downloads to help you follow along if you wish.

SketchUp – model set-up and test render

a. First I would like to show you the set of Components in this model with the Camera position.

Model Setup and Camera

b. Here is the whole scenario with copied model Components and reflected Sun Shadows.

Complete Scene with Components and Shadows

c. Just a rough test render with Override Materials selected (Global Switches), except the glass windows.

Test Render

Material Editor Settings

a. Translucent Glass Material Setting – Reflection

Translucent Glass Material Setting

b. Translucent Glass Material Setting – Reflection 1

Translucent Glass Material Setting - Reflection 1

c. Translucent Glass Material Setting – Diffuse

Translucent Glass Material Setting - Diffuse

d. Glass Material Setting -Refraction

Glass Material Setting -Refraction

e. Black Metal Material Setting

Black Metal Material Setting

f. Concrete 1 Material Setting

Concrete 1 Material Setting

g. Flooring 1 Material Setting

Flooring 1 Material Setting

h. Wood Material 1 Setting

Wood Material 1 Setting

i. Tile Material Setting

Tile Material Setting

j. Wicker Material Setting

Wicker Material Setting

k. Emissive Material Setting

Emissive Material Setting

l. Concrete 2 Material Setting

Concrete 2 Material Setting

m. Concrete 3 Material Setting

Concrete 3 Material Setting

o. Wood Material 2 Setting

Wood Material 2 Setting

p. Metal Material Setting – Reflection

Metal Material Setting - Reflection

q. Metal Material Setting – Diffuse

Metal Material Setting - Diffuse

r. Grass Material Setting – Diffuse and Bumps

Grass Material Setting - Diffuse and Bumps

Wall Lights

Material  Settings – Omni and Emissive Lighting

Wall Light Materials

Floor Lights

IES Light Settings

IES Light Settings

Tips and Tricks – Option Editor Settings

1. Tip to avoid crashing your rendering if the scene is to ‘heavy’. Change the Dynamic Memory Limit from default setting .

Change the Dynamic Memory Limit

2. To remove the splotches in the scene, adjust the noise threshold from .01 to .002.

Remove the Splotches in the Scene

Sun Settings

Open SketchUp Option Editor and use the following settings.

Sun Settings

Day Scenario

Hide the Omni and Emissive Lights.

Day Scenario

Option Editor Settings – Test Render

I always do a test render just to check if my global illumination and shadows are OK.

Test Render

Day scene render with adjusted color corrections.

Adjusted Color Corrections

Day scene render – raw PNG image.

Raw Render

Night Render – Option Editor Settings

HDRI Settings

HDRI Settings

Night scene render with adjusted color corrections.

Adjusted Color Corrections

Night scene render – raw PNG image.

Raw Render

Photoshop – Post Processing

a. Open the raw image output or the adjusted color correction image from SketchUp render output.

Open Image in Photoshop

b. Adjust Brightness and Contrast (Image>Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast).

Adjust Brightness/ Contrast

c. Add background image to the scene.

Add Background to Scene

d. Put  the Background Layer below the render image Layer.

Background Image Placed Below Render Image

e. Duplicate Background Layer. Turn off the original Background Layer. With the duplicated Background Layer active, remove the sky using Lasso Tool. We want to achieve a nice dusky/night sky for the nightime render.

Remove Sky

f. Choose a suitable sky for the night scene. Place it below the duplicated Background Layer so it shows behind the mountains.

Place Sky Below Duplicated Background Layer

g. Select your duplicated Layer again (mountains) and adjust the Brightness/Contrast (Image>Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast).

Select Brightness/Contrast

h. I Used these settings for Brightness/Contrast. Brightness -100 and Contrast 50.


i. Add some effects to the water now. With all the other Layers turned off, except the duplicated Background Layer which is active (mountain), using the Lasso Tool select an area similar to the red outline area in image below. Add a Feather Radius (Select>Modify>Feather) to your selection (to soften it). I chose a Feather Radius of 50. Copy and Paste this selection over your duplicated background Layer (mountains Layer) we have been working on.

Water Selection

j. Again adjust Brightness/Contrast for this new pasted water Layer, Brightness 30 and Contrast 20.

Water Brightness/Contrast

Light Effects

a. Now I am going to add some volume light effects to all the white lights. First we create a new Layer first and place it at the top of the Layer stack.

Create New Layer

b. Next locate the rendered image in the Layer stack, should be second now in the Layers. Using the Magic Wand Tool, select all the white bulbs.

Select White Lights

c. Fill your new Layer with White.

Fill Layer With White

d. Duplicate White Layer.

Duplicate White Layer

e. We have two white filled Layers now. Locate the top white filled Layer so its active.

Select Top White Layer

f. We are going to add some Gaussian Blur too this Layer (Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur). Set the Radius to about 10.

Gaussian Blur Filter

g. Now duplicate this Gaussian Blur Layer. You can now see the effect it creates around the white light bulbs.

Duplicate Layer

h. The more you duplicate this Layer the greater the effect.

Duplicate Layer for Greater Effect


Finally I add some PNG people on a new Layer to complete the image.

Add Entourage

Final Night Scene Image

Night Scene

Final Day Scene Image

Day Scene

NPR – FotoSketcher

I am using the final night scene image for the NPR. Open it in FotoSketcher and use the following settings:

  • Drawing Style – Pencil Sketch 5
  • Edge threshold 0
  • Edge intensity 180
  • Blending intensity 50
  • Darken/Lighten 140
  • Color intensity 200
  • Texture – Strong Texture


Final NPR

Final (NPR) Non-Photorealistic render.

Non-Photorealistic Render

Thanks for reading this tutorial.  I hope that this has offered some useful tips and helped expand some of your rendering and Photoshop skills for future projects.

Zernan Suarez

See more of Zernan’s inspirational work, tutorials and resources on his blog Zdesign.

14 Responses to “Making of Old Town – Day, Night and NPR”

  1. Nomeradona on November 28th, 2012 5:15 am

    Excellent. I always like Zernan Suarez work.

  2. admin on November 28th, 2012 11:35 am

    Yes very impressive and inspirational Nomer!

  3. Ronald EM on November 28th, 2012 3:29 pm

    Thank, this way we learn more! really thanks is a nice tutorial

  4. Chris Dove on November 29th, 2012 10:12 am

    Thanx Zernan this was so inspirational….

  5. zernansuarez on December 2nd, 2012 2:30 pm

    many thanks james, nomeradona, Ronald EM and Chris Dove…

    more power to this site.

  6. R.Udaya Suriyan on December 5th, 2012 6:19 am

    Great work, knowledge should be shared and not conceiled, only then God will bestow you with more intellectual knowledge, you are an example, I wish you with more and more Knowledge.

  7. irmin on January 2nd, 2013 10:07 am

    wow… thx for this tutorial

  8. John P on January 20th, 2013 6:45 pm

    Thanks! I really like the way you stacked the sections. I’m trying my own ideas on your great layout.

  9. Fernando Peñas on March 8th, 2013 12:07 pm

    Impressive work. I´m starting with sketchup+v-ray (or artlantis) and this is so usefull.

    Thanks a lot.

  10. zernansuarez on March 19th, 2013 12:05 pm

    thanks again to all who like the process…:)

  11. Andrey on April 6th, 2013 10:36 am

    Very nice tutorial, but memory limmit actualy self-limmited by programm itself (32 bit) and as far as your RAM consumption rich 3,2-3,3 Gb it will crush…

  12. hossein pc on February 28th, 2014 9:48 pm

    tanks for site

  13. magaji on February 1st, 2015 7:05 pm

    Interesting and fantastic hard work

  14. Nevfelanka on August 15th, 2015 5:54 pm

    Thank you. Really useful information

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