I created these renderings in Photoshop based on views exported from Sketchup. I'd love to get feedback or ideas on how to make the graphics more compelling. 

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Katherine;

I was always way too busy during my LA design career to learn autoCAD or Sketch-Up.....I have always been comfortable with "hand drawn" color renderings/graphics.  So, I'm probably not the best person to critique your work.  

I would recommend that you GOOGLE........"Sketch Up renderings".  You will see many fantastic samples. These samples will give you an idea where you....and what the Pros are producing.

Regards,

Bob

As you are presenting what appears to be a public space I would add more people: make the space alive.
And while I am not a SkethUp artist, it looks flat to me. The structures pop but the landscape is indistinct. That may reflect your design priorities and what you feel it is important to communicate, but for me they do not feel compelling landscapes.

  • The hard part is getting the perspective correct which you've already done w/ Ketchup. Now the fun begins!
  • The interplay/combo of light, shadow, and consistent color of elements within the light you choose are what really brings a rendering to life. Nuance is your friend here.
  • Combining photographs (the guy in the leather jacket) w/ non-photo elements doesn't work. Take Prisma (free smart phone app) photos of your friends, modify as necessary (or buy entourage elements online) and insert into your .PSD. for a consistent feel.
  • Consider same for boulders, trees, etc.
  • tree trunks when viewed up close usually have a shadow gradient (light can't bend around a curve)
  • don't be afraid to hand draw elements, scan, insert, and then tweak.
  • Take photos of real paving patterns to use underneath the pavilion and other foreground features. Use the Transform command to scale, rotate, skew, etc., to proper perspective and insert and trim.
  • Sidewalks are never white and the closer (foreground) they are to the viewer the more detail (score lines) they should have. Sidewalks that are far (background) from the viewer don't have score lines.
  • Shadows of trees in foreground should be jaggedy--like real leaves cast the shadow. Use special effect brushes for this.
  • Shadow color seems too light. 
  • Give more color to the sky--use two colors and the Gradient command.
  • Use the Blur command to decrease/blend background detail.
  • the curb next to the sidewalk is shown flat. Because this is in foreground it should have height.
  • No shadows of the first row of flags are indicated

Katherine,

This is a good base. As Mark said, combining real elements with sketchy ones throws off the focal point of a rendering. My eye goes to leather jacket and the flags and wants to know why they don't belong. If you're going for non realistic try Filter>Artistic>Watercolor or Sponge or something to take the bluntness off a real object. You will then want to blend the elements. http://www.sketchupartists.org/tutorials/sketchup-and-photoshop/  is a great resource.

If you want photorealistic download Podium for Sketchup and render the scenes before bringing them into Photoshop. I imagine you guys touched on that in school. Podium isn't the best rendering engine but its learning curve is not steep compared to V-Ray or trying to learn 3D Max for top of the line photorealistic renderings.

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