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I really enjoy discovering new methods of combining SketchUp models with hand drawing. My new “Digital Watercolor” method takes the hybrid process one step further and adds filtering with Photoshop to give the image a soft watercolor-like appearance.
This studioINSITE project was for a new hospital healing garden. The outdoor space was filled with variations in surface textures, different visual experiences and sculpted topography for patients to explore. The two digital watercolors I created were used for fund raising purposes. This is my step-by-step process.
Find the blog of this slideshare here: http://jimleggitt.typepad.com/jim-leggitt-drawing-shortcuts/2013/12/hand-drawn-digital-watercolor-with-a-sketchup-model.html
by Jim Leggitt
Jim’s new “Digital
take the hybrid process
one step further and
adds filtering with
Photoshop to give the
image a soft watercolor-
This studioINSITE project
is for a children’s hospital
Step 1- Base SketchUp model
The base SketchUp model was constructed by importing and
autoCAD site plan and populating the model with the different
elements and topography.
Step 2- Background site photo
The digital photo was taken at the location - used to create a realistic
Step 3- Selected view and exported jpeg
-Eye level view is populated with 3D people in the foreground and several in the
distance. Carefully compose the scene and adjust the sun angle to highlight the shaded
-Export a 4000 pixel wide jpeg of the view with the edges turned off (an important first
step in the digital watercolor process).
Step 4- Exported edges
-Turn off all faces, sky, and shadows in the SketchUp model. Export just the edges of
the model at 4000 pixels wide and save a jpeg
(I added a colored background and frame to the jpeg in this image to improve seeing
the linework against the white background).
Step 5 - Composite SketchUp View
-In Photoshop, bring the two jpeg’s together and give the linework layer a 50%
-Lighten the entire image and print it on 11”x17” coated bond paper.
-Why lighten the jpeg? - you’ll be adding back color with markers and pencils.
Step 6 - Hand Illustration and Coloring
-Apply Chartpak AD markers to the print. And trace over much of the
computer linework with a hard graphite pencil.
-The overall image looks entirely different than the computer generated
version once the hand drawn elements were applied to the print!
Step7 - Digital Watercolor Filter
-Scan the artwork at 300dpi and open the image in Adobe Photoshop. Apply a watercolor
filter to the image, save and then adjust the levels to increase the dark shadows and
- The final jpeg had a strong “appearance” of a hand painted watercolor -
with much more character and authenticity than if it were a straightforward
exported view from SketchUp!
to see Jim’s blog post of this presentation click here: