Winter Scene #2: Post-Production In Photoshop


Previous Tutorial Part

This tutorial shows you how to add life through post-production to the image you produced in Rhino by following the first tutorial in this series:

Winter Scene #1: Starting With Sketches And Rhino
Multi-part tutorial series that will show you how to create the presentation posters, from first sketches to the final file prepared for print or web.

Photoshop: Post-Production

Put The Rendering Over The Background Image

Since we already prepared background image (in the very first step of our tutorial) now we can simply copy and paste our rendering over it. Please note since the rendering is not exactly the same size as background (we rounded the rendering to 3500x1500px), it doesn’t fit super accurately, but that’s ok for this type of image where we can basically move our house a bit.

Organize Layers Into Groups

It’s always a good practice to create a new Layer Group, where everything that has to do with our house is placed (including the textures we may later add, etc…). We then apply layer mask to that group and all the layers inside will inherit it. This way we only manage one layer mask for a building instead of doing it for each layer separately.

Then you see I painted black in this mask, so I delete ground, and also add some “uneven” contact between the background and the building wall, because the terrain in the background photo is uneven.

Increase Contrast Against The Background

Remember the story about visual principles, where I said that brightness can be use to add depth to the image? Take a look at this for a reference, see how the front plane is much darker than the mountains in the back? This is a similar effect that we want in our image, too!


To darken, I used Levels Adjustment Layer. Since I’ve put it inside the layer group, it will inherit its render mask, so it will only affect the building, not the background:

Add Depth By Brightening Up The Background

Now I added one layer between the building and the background, and added a black to white gradient to it, then set the layer blend mode to “Screen”. Remember the Screen blending mode? The one where white/light pixels will brighten up the image below, while the black pixels will have no effect?
This way we made the background look darker in the front, matching the lighting of our house, and bright in the far back.

Important: Put this layer OUTSIDE of the Layer Group of our house: we don’t want it masked.

Adding Props: A Person, and a Car

Now I’ll create a simple “story” by adding a car and a person walking to the house. I got both images from Please note how the position of person is following the rule of 1/3.

Also note how I used Image Menu > Adjustment > Brightness & Contrast to darken both the car and the person, plus I used Image Menu > Adjustment > Hue and Saturation to desaturate the person, which all matches better the lighting conditions of the scene. These dark figures also emphasize the “depth” of the scene (remember? dark high contrast in the front, bright and low contrast in the back).

Even More Depth: Add Shadow To Front

To emphasize the depth even more, and connect more all the elements (background, house, woman, car) I created new layer above the layer group (not inside!) and added black to white gradient, this time setting the layer to Multiply (to darken everything below).

This new layer darkens all elements evenly, so it all looks more connected.

Adding Texture

Here we’re not going to add very detailed texture, just a very rough concrete texture to add a bit more visual complexity to the look of our house. We’ll use one of the concrete texture that I’ve distributed to you via USB, and its blending mode will be “Multiply”, to even more darken our house.
Note how the concrete texture is too small to cover entire area, so I used quick move+copy.
To do this, make a selection, and then hold CTRL (CMD on a Mac) + ALT while you drag around.

Color Balance For More Dramatic Effect

We should add a bit of color to avoid image looking too dull and monochromatic. We can do that by adding Color Balance adjustment layer on the top of all other layers.

Note how I did the following within Color Balance interface:

This added nicely graded colors from warm to cold all through the image, and since its applied to all elements at once (background, house, woman, car) it further “unifies” the image.

Finished? Save a Copy As .JPG


And we’re done! Now we only need to save a copy of this file, using File > Save As and changing the format to .jpg, which is the one we will insert into Illustrator.

Note: We don’t want to import PSD in Illustrator because the file is very heavy, containing all the information about layers, so we use JPG which “flattens” the image into only one layer, so it the file occupies less memory and hence easier to work with.

Next Tutorial Part

This is the first tutorial of Winter Scene series, see the following parts.

Winter Scene #3: From AutoCAD To Illustrator
Illustrator lets you combine your drawings with images and other visual material in a much more visual way than AutoCAD. There are several ways to import your drawings from AutoCAD to Illustrator, each with its own advantages.


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