I've designed numerous master planning projects in the Middle East from 2004 through 2009 and extensively used Google SketchUp models for concept design generation and as bases for presentation renderings. Real estate speculation in Dubai and Abu Dhabi was at a frantic level and developers demanded high quality photorealistic renderings of their proposed master plans. Most of my early UAE projects required producing 10-20 renderings showing different scenes of which we outsourced to the Beijing rendering consultant Crystal CG. Although my office had in-house rendering capabilities, we could not produce the high number of images within the tight deadline.
I created many SketchUp models study models and used them to visualize different aspects of the development. The series of images below are from a large development named Shams, Abu Dhabi. My process is as follows:
Google SketchUp Scene. This view was one of many developed from a large planning model. The eye-level perspective was populated with people for scale. Being a simple massing model, I needed to add more detail to the composition before sending it to the Beijing rendering consultant.
Hand Drawn Overlay. I exported a jpeg of the SketchUp model scene and printed it in color on 11"x17" paper. I taped a sheet of trace paper over the print and sketched more detail into the scene such as landscaping, building facades, water feature and other elements not in the original SketchUp model. This scanned image was sent to the rendering consultant along with some notes and instructions.
Photorealistic Rendering. The final image was true to the original composition and successfully captured the basic character of the scene. Working with outside rendering consultants required patience and several draft versions before the final rendering was completed. This was one of over 30 proposed rendering views of which 15 different renderings were eventually produced to market the project.
If you would like to see more examples of using SketchUp models to create photorealistic renderings, look for other related articles on my blog, visit my website www.drawingshortcuts.com and read my new book Drawing Shortcuts Second Edition.