Did you notice this in a recent blog post? The image above is the first time I have published an illustration using SketchUp’s “Sketchy Edges” along with some Photoshop work. For those of you who don’t geek over SketchUp, Sketchy Edges is a set of illustration styles which can be applied to a SketchUp model.
You may wonder, “Why do this?” I suspect a lot of woodworkers could care less about Sketchy Edges. But I have a goal of being able to produce magazine quality images for my blog posts and woodworking plans. Illustrations in woodworking magazines often feature line styles which look like illustrations even though they are computer generated and not hand drawn. A very good example of what I want to achieve is below.
Note the line style with extenders which gives the look of a pencil or pen drawn illustration. When I first downloaded the pdf which contains this image, I made creating images of this quality a long-term goal.
There is a whole different world of SketchUp users which do amazing things with SketchUp images (examples here – the Google+ SketchUp community). These people are typically doing work for architectural firms. There are a number of software products which take SketchUp images and turns them into photo quality work.
I loathe the idea of learning a new, complex software program. I consider Photoshop to be such a program, but I have it on my laptop. I’ve rarely used it beyond basic photo touch up. A couple of weeks ago, I started digging into Photoshop a little more, mostly as a result of finding this YouTube video which shows how to do some excellent things with a simple photo; and the pace of instruction isn’t ultra fast like a lot of tutorials are.
The process I am exploring starts with SketchUp. I pick a line style called “Pen Black 3” by clicking the SketchUp “Windows” drop down menu, then select “Styles”. Change the “Default Styles” setting to “Sketchy Edges”. My exported image looks like this (all images are clickable for a larger view)…
The Sketchy edges give my model more of a hand drawn look, but some important detail is lost. This is common with all of the Sketchy edge styles in SketchUp. This is where Photoshop comes in.
Let’s look at the media cabinet case with standard edges…
With Photoshop, following the video I mentioned, I can put the Sketchy edge image on top of the standard image and allow the crisp edges to show through where I need them to, and keep the illustrative look of the Sketchy edges for the rest of the image. The result…
And this is a good start on my path for creating magazine quality images. Still, I need to explore adding wood textures which have a muted look which doesn’t make joinery difficult to see.
Here is the final image seen in page six of my upcoming woodworking plan…
I recently upgraded to Microsoft Publisher 2013 which has a number of new features. One which I am using in the image above are text boxes which point to specific components with curved leaders. All the magazines use curved leaders. This is something my old version of Publisher couldn’t do. One thing Publisher 2013 does not do is give me a crisp jpeg image of a page. What you see above is fuzzy.
I am about 1/3 finished with this woodworking plan. I’ll have another update soon.
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