I just finished a series of illustrations for a small project the office is working on in Honduras. The project is a memorial, therefore we wanted the illustrations to take on a meditative and quiet atmosphere. Two renderings were created of the same view to explain the different lighting scenarios a visitor would experience both during the day and the night.

The workflow used for these two images are similar to what I use for many of the illustrations on this site. Because I wanted the illustrations to have a "painted" look, I didn't overlay Sketchup linework like I normally do. Instead, I spent more time layering textures and manually painting in Photoshop.


Although I didn't show the linework as an overlay in the final image, I still like to keep it as a separate layer in my Photoshop files so that I can use it to make quick selections with the Magic Wand Tool.

Sketchup Model Textures

The above image shows what kind of textures and detail level the Sketchup model contained. As you can see, the textures are basic. I knew going into these illustrations that applying textures in Photoshop was going to make or break the final result.


The Kerkythea rendering is the image I began with for the illustrations. I tend not to spend too much time tweaking the settings in hopes of getting a perfect rendering. This kills too much time. For this view, I really only focused on getting the shadows to render correctly and give the floor reflections. The darkness didn't bother me because I knew this would be fixed in Photoshop.


For these illustrations, correct textures were really important. I did not spend too much time adding textures in the 3D model because it is almost impossible to avoid the "tiling effect". Instead,  I extracted stucco finishes right out of photos of local Honduras buidlings. Also in this step, I took the smudge tool to rough up the polished concrete floor and spent time using the burn and dodge tools to punch up the shadows and highlights.


The last step was to add color overlays. For this particular rendering, I probably had 5 or 6 different color overlays. For example, over by the doors, I used a soft white overlay to fade the trees in the background and brighten the light entering the space. I used a yellow overlay on the right side where the light is washing the wall to warm this area up. Over the entire image, I used a light orange overlay. Each of these layers are serving a particular purpose, however they all bleed into each other bringing a level of cohesiveness to the overall image.

The above images are property of Paul Lukez Architecture. More information on this project can be found at

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Reader Comments (17)


March 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commentera-ngine

nice and simple! as always! keep it up alex!

March 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanek

Hey man,
To stop the tiling effect, in Sketchup. Get the paint bucket tool and select the texture you have. Then you will see a edit tab, on the window of the paint bucket tool. Click on it and you will see the dimensions of your texture. Play around with the numbers to stop getting the tiling effect of the texture.


March 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHabib

Jawdropping as always, greetings from México

March 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJosé Luis P

Well done, very effective & such an improvement over the base render.

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterhubbub

Great job Alex!

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEva

How much time did you allow yourself for this assignment and how much of that was on modeling ?

March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTom

I like ponies!

March 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Model was built during the DD phase. These two illustrations took me about a day and a Half. I did two others as well that took another day and a half. I had a another project that I was juggling, so not all that time was devoted to just the renderings.

March 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlex Hogrefe

Hi Alex
I ve a wish,would you please share kerkythea rendering tips for exteriors?
Thanks a lot.

March 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkurkcu

These illustrations remind of the place where Neo [from the movie the Matrix] trained.

Alex, my brother

Great job as always. And as every time I get impressed with your amazing skills for use simple tool for get unbelievable results. This illustration remember me when you did the pool rendering. I think you overlay the color the same way.

Greetings from Brazil.

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSir Elder

Amazing Alex. I would love to see a tutorial on the overlaying process in photoshop. It looks so good. Thanks for sharing?

April 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterColbe

Hi Alex,

I came across your blog today and im inspired! Shall be keeping a close on on further updates in the future. Where do you get your textures and vegetation textures from? I really struggle with this side of things and any info would be greatly appreciated!


June 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDavid M


I'm having trouble producing the same concrete effect you achieve in PS. I've got a simple, reflective surface from the base rendering, much like yours. But I'd love to see a video of your technique with the smudge/dodge/burn tools on producing a floor texture like this. I can't seem to get it right! Great work and thanks for this excellent blog.


March 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt H

Its similar to this : and this . I haven't really shown how I use the smudge tool in a case like this. The secret is to get the strength setting of the smudge tool correct.

March 3, 2013 | Registered CommenterALEX HOGREFE

Modern Day Bob Ross!

April 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTaylor

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