I’ve recently explained my digital watercolor process in previous blog posts and want to share with you a new project in which I was asked to develop an interior perspective of a temporary exhibits gallery at a museum. Given the absence of natural light, I needed to create the lighting effects using the photorealistic Google SketchUp plugin named Shaderlight. I placed each spot light and adjusted its bean width and intensity to achieve the desired effect of the exhibit displays. Without getting into a complicated explanation, I created the digital watercolor in three basic steps:
Step 1 - Google SketchUp Model. I imported the 3D model from the design architect to capture the overhead lighting grid. I fabricated each component and applied photographs as textures for the background graphics. After composing the overall scene and getting approval from the museum client, I then rendered the scene.
Step 2 - Shaderlight Rendering. I placed all of the interior spot lights and exported a high resolution image of the scene using Shaderlight. The lighting tones were quite realistic and after several variations of adjusting the software settings, I saved the photorealistic image and continued to the final step.
Step 3 - Hand Coloring and Photoshop Filter. I added back a layer of linework from the SketchUp model, lightened and printed the image 11x17” on coated bond paper. I colored all of the primary subjects with colored markers, leaving the walls and ceiling untouched. Overhead spotlights were created with markers and many hightlights were added with a white Prismacolor pencil. I then scanned the print and applied a watercolor filter in Photoshop. I adjusted the image contrast and sent the image file to a very pleased client!
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