In architecture grad school, as I was scrambling to get my presentations together, there were always one or two images that I just couldn't get to look right. I always resorted to a few last second "moves" in Photoshop that would give more interest and excitement to them. If you have seen videos on this site, you will probably recognize some of these quick tips. However, I wanted to compile them into one place where they can be accessed easily and where I can add to them as needed.

Quick Tip 1: ADJUST LEVELS- Adjusting the levels is similar to adjusting the contrast, but gives you more control. More importantly, it adds depth to an image and punches up the color just a bit. GO TO TUTORIAL

Quick Tip 2: COLOR OVERLAYS- I often will add a color overlay to change the mood of the illustration, and provide cohesiveness to the different elements of the illustration. This process is quick and the results are dramatic. GO TO TUTORIAL

Quick Tip 3: GRUNGE- Sometimes, illustrations need a little extra texture, and other times models just don't have a ton of detail in the early stages of design. This will quickly add some interest to a not-so-interesting rendering. GO TO TUTORIAL.

Quick Tip 4: VIGNETTING- Vignetting is something you see a lot in photography, and it works just as well in architecture illustrations. The idea is simple, the edges of the illustration are darkened to “frame” the image and draw attention to the center. If there is a lot going on in the rendering, this is an easy way to draw the eye to your design in the center, and avoid distracting geometry around the perimeter. GO TO TUTORIAL

Quick Tip 5: IMAGE SOFTENING- As with the other tips in this series, this tutorial adds a last minute "kick" to an architectural illustration in a unique way. This is one of my favorites, but it is often hit or miss. Sometimes it looks great, other times it doesn't. GO TO TUTORIAL

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Reader Comments (4)

Hello Alex!
The first thing I have to say: Thank you very much!!! All I ever wanted to do in photoshop and nobody taught me, I could learn from you. Type, place trees, people, shadows and visual effects. I appreciate your initiative to share with us their work and help all the world. You do a great job!

P.S I found your blog on 3d warehouse.

Obrigada! (brasilian - portuguese)
I am from Brasil north region.

May 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTalita

These are tips amazing adjustments!

July 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSebastian

Your works is pure fine art combined with genius innovative thinking....You are my architectural role model.

March 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeo

Nice one
i'm study architecture...
i use some of your adjustment in my presentation
thank you so much

July 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShahrokh

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