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Last week I had an opportunity to do a workshop for architects. It was fun to share about the industry I am working in and the main idea was to focus on presentation, that most of architects do not do, I think.

Being a good designer is like being a good chef. You have some tools/ ingredients, but how you're going to cook it? This is where your skills become important. But in design like in any cuisine PRESENTATION is essential, if it doesn't have a tasty look, no one will eat it.

These are some renderings that I did at that class. Hope it will be useful for you.
  


A. Sometimes, but not often I use Google Sketchup. I am a terrible 3d artist, but 3D helps me to get interesting cameras and shadows. 
Then I exported 2 pictures from Sketchup:  
1.lines without shadows (you can choose any style you want)
2.shadows only (without edges) Just go to "View" and cancel the "Edges".

B. In Photoshop I separated my objects by simply cutting them to separate layers: sky, ground, wall and arcade. Filled it up b/w just to get some values. (Doing this saves a lot of time later)

C. Having my objects separated- it is easy to put color with a big brush or gradient tool without hitting anything outside the silhouette. You can put textures on top of the object by clicking "Ctrl+Alt+G" it should cover the object silhouette only. 
Don't forget about the design. 

D. Thoughts. The whole workshop was in Russian, therefore the text is so weird. But basically those are thoughts about composition and movement. 

E. Always check your picture in b/w. 

F. I am still texturing and painting. Adding some personality to my environment: damaged bricks/ dirt/ grass/ logos etc.

F. Added some fresh vegetables to my soup. 

H. Adding people, birds and technology- anything that we see in Urban life- is the easiest way to show scale and fake life.

I. I used air brush and added some air to the tree to push it away from the structure. As you can see from the picture "E"- the tree shares the same value as a structure, so the viewer might connect them together.

Color Dodge is a very powerful tool as well. It burns the light areas. But be careful with that- do not overuse it!

Reflection is simply a copy that I flipped vertically.

As a finish. 
I usually use Smart Sharpen Filter to get more finished look.   
Filter/ Sharpen/ Smart Sharpen    
Then I erase places I do not want to be sharp. 

Cheers