Expanding on our first webinar on Photoshop rendering, we’ll show you further techniques for enhancing your plan in Photoshop. We’ll begin with a lesson on translating hand-drawn graphics into digital form, optimizing them for digital production in Photoshop on the way to creating your own library of custom symbols and graphics for use in your CAD plans. You’ll then learn some helpful techniques for using photos and textures to create a more realistic-looking plan. Continue your Photoshop education Land F/X style!
Want to watch Part 1? Watch it here!
If you liked the hand-drawn plant graphics we created to use in this webinar, you're in luck! We've compiled them into a downloadable zip file for your use.
Note: The following catalog of content covered in this webinar is time stamped to allow you to follow along or skip to sections of the video that are relevant to your questions. You can also search for content on this page using the FIND command in your browser (CTRL + F in Windows, Command + F in Mac OS.)
- Optimize Hand Graphics for Photoshop
- Creating a Library of Graphics
- Implementing Graphics into Your Plans
- Creating a Realistic Plan
Examples of finished hand graphics (5:34)
The process of creating hand graphics and making them ready to use in your plan (5:57):
- Symbol outlines
- Interior work
- Color variations
- Mixing and matching
Giving a hand-rendered look to groundcover areas (6:50)
Creating tree and shrub symbols in Photoshop (7:14)
Scanning in a sheet of symbol outlines (7:40)
Saving the outlines in a separate document (7:50)
We recommend saving your plant graphics with a much higher resolution than you plan to use in your drawings (example: 4 by 4 inches at 300 DPI).
Deleting all white pixels so the sheet consists only of empty space and plant symbol outlines (9:00)
Changing the background color to make the sheet easier to read (9:20)
Adjusting the tone levels to render the plant outlines to as close to black as possible (9:40)
Using the Magic Wand tool to select and delete every white pixel (10:30)
Repeating the same steps on the interior work and color layers (11:05)
Copying one of the outlines into its own file and using the Free Transform tool (CTRL+T) to give it the desired size, then repeating the same process with the interior work and color (12:15)
Holding the Shift key down while free transforming allows you to transform the symbol symmetrically.
We recommend marking the center of each of your symbols, which will help you center the interior work.
Dragging the color layer behind the interior work layer to allow the interior work to be visible (14:30)
You can also use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move elements around rather than dragging and dropping, which will give you more precision in fine-tuning your graphics.
Example of a finished color tree symbol (15:10)
Dropping the opacity of the color layer (example: to 60–75%) to allow objects to show through the symbol when it’s placed in a plan (15:20)
You can also drop the opacity of the interior linework to make it look like it was drawn in pencil.
Saving the graphic as a single PNG file (15:50)
PNG images preserve the empty pixels, which allows the graphic to retain both its transparent and translucent elements.
We recommend maintaining a consistent naming convention when saving your symbols, which will allow for easier organization.
You can use this same process for creating shrub graphics. If you don’t want objects to show through your shrubs, you can simply avoid adjusting their opacity. (17:50)
Creating groundcover and hardscape areas in Photoshop (18:30)
You can create the elements of these areas using colored pencils, watercolors, markers, etc.
After scanning in your original sheets, you can adjust the Levels settings to fine-tune the colors and tones.
Copying an area into its own file and Free Transforming it so it fills the entire window (19:40)
It’s important to avoid selecting anything outside the boundaries of the colored areas when copying them into their separate files. Selecting only within the boundaries will allow the areas to remain contiguously colored when placed in your plans.
When you save your area files, we recommend that the filenames include the medium and what the area is supposed to depict (example: marker-stone).
We’ll start with our workflow for getting a CAD plan into Photoshop, which Paul described in our previous webinar Using Photoshop in Post-Production Renderings Part 1. (23:00)
Essentially, this process consists of using group filters to separate the different landscape layers (trees, shrubs, etc.) into different PDF files, bringing those PDFs into Photoshop, and then merging them into a single Photoshop document.
We recommend putting textures and hatch patterns, as well as trees and other elements, on separate layers in the Photoshop plan so you can turn these layers off and select those areas more easily. (24:10)
It’s also a good idea to have your layers organized into folders, which will help you locate specific layers later.
Placing trees in the Photoshop plan (24:38)
Dragging and dropping of our hand-drawn tree symbols in the Photoshop plan (24:38)
Matching a graphic to a plant that is already in the plan (25:50)
The Free Transform tool also allows you to rotate your symbols, which is handy if you need to match the shadow angles in the plan.
Rasterizing and naming the tree layer (26:35)
Copying and pasting the tree symbol to the other places where it needs to go, including the plant schedule (27:00)
You can copy and paste the entire layer containing the symbol using CTRL/Command + J.
Merging all the pasted layers of the same tree symbol (28:30)
Merging these layers simplifies your plan in Photoshop, with just one layer for each plant variety.
Creating tree shadows in Photoshop by drawing black circles, erasing the portion of the circle that coincides with the actual tree, and placing the shadows below the tree layers. You can also adjust the opacity of these shadows to your liking. (29:00)
Placing shrubs in the Photoshop plan (31:00)
As with trees, we’ll drag and drop the symbol, rasterize and name it, free transform it into the correct size, and use CTRL/Command + J to copy and paste several shrub layers into the proper locations, then merge the different shrub layers.
Because shrubs are solid objects, we’ll create drop shadows for them using the Drop Shadow tool. (33:40)
Placing groundcover and hardscape areas and other textures (34:50)
Dragging and dropping an area graphic into Photoshop (example, pool water), then free transforming it to fit the area where we’re placing it – which is super easy if the area where you’re placing it is rectangular! (35:30)
Placing a hardscape texture in a more irregular area (36:20)
After placing the texture in Photoshop and rasterizing the layer, you can easily use the Magic Wand tool, with the Contiguous option selected, to select the area where you want to place the texture. Copy and paste the selected area into place, then hide the layer containing the original texture placement.
Note that you can easily adjust the Hue and Saturation, as well as the Lightness and Darkness settings, to change and fine-tune the color of any of your graphics in Photoshop (38:35)
How to give textures originating in AutoCAD a more hand-drawn look in Photoshop by applying a filter (39:45)
We’ll use photorealistic graphics from TonyTextures.com for this demonstration.
Copying and pasting symbols into Photoshop, then using CTRL/Command + J to copy and paste the symbols to the appropriate locations in the plan (48:20)
Using a profile view of a tree to create a photorealistic shadow of that tree (49:30)
- Place the side-view image of the tree at the angle at which you want the shadow to fall.
- Size the profile so the tree canopy matches the size of the tree in the plan.
- Place the profile on a tree shadow layer.
- Open the Hue and Saturation window, and slide the Lightness all the way to black.
- You can then distort the shadow using the Free Transform tool and adjust its shape to your liking.
- Copy and paste the layer using CTRL/Command +J.
- Merge the shadow layers, and adjust the opacity.
Changing tree colors to show deciduous trees in fall by adjusting the Hue and Saturation (52:30)
Adding depth to flat-looking textures (example: pool water) (53:50)
- Copy the texture layer (this way, you have a backup of the texture in case you don’t like the edits you make)
- Use the Burn tool to “burn” the edges of the texture.
(Note: The Shift key in Photoshop is like Ortho mode in CAD, in that it allows you to draw or render in a perfectly straight line.)
- Dropping the opacity of the texture layer to add some subtlety to the burned areas
Graphics from TonyTextures.com
If you like the photorealistic graphics we used in this demonstration, they’re available from TonyTextures.com: