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



I have just finished a few architectural renderings this past week for a really exciting villa design located in China. I started out the illustration as a daytime scene, but decided to take advantage of all the glass and go with a dusk scene. I put a ton of post-processing time into this image. You can see from the kerkythea rendered image below that not much was left untouched. I spent about 2 hours setting up the model and rendering in Kerkythea. Then another 4 or 5 hours in Photoshop. Half my time was spent looking for materials and images online. Usually, I go with a blue color overlay for this time of day. However, with the amount of concrete and glass, I was afraid the villa would come off feeling like a cold office building. A simple sky and lots of red and yellow color overlays were used to warm up the scene.

Above- Sketchup image export

Above- Quick Kerkythea rendering used as the base image in post processing



I take text pretty seriously. I think of it as an opportunity to enhance a portfolio page. The odd thing is that I really only use a few different fonts with arial being used about 75% of the time. However with that one font, it seems that text can be manipulated into an infinite amount of styles by adjusting letter spacing, stretching, and switching between narrow, regular, bold, and black line weights. Bringing into the equation opacity, filters, and mask, text turns into a design project itself.

Some other things to keep in mind is alignments and spacing. I try to always have some sort of relationship between the text and the other objects on the page. I often place text on a datum line or edge and take advantage of its linearity.  If I do leave it floating on the page, I make sure to give it consistent spacing on all sides.

If your not a fan fonts already loading on your computer, there are some great sites to get just about any type of font you could want. The one I check out from time to time is



After preparing the study model for the portfolio page, this next video discusses the initial setup of the Photoshop document, as well as some basic techniques used to add illustrations. It is important to note that the image size and dpi used for this portfolio is based on personal preference. I provided this information as a reference. My hope is that others will use this information as a jumping off point to explore sizes that fit their style and expression.



If you have not seen this video by Alex Roman and you're a student of architecture, watch it now. A buddy of mine in grad school showed me this video in the thick of thesis. The video has become a huge source of inspiration and has influenced most, if not all of my illustrations since I first saw it. It has also been a great way to pick my spirits up from the stress of architecture and keep the motivation alive haha.

One other thing, this is all CG. Everything (modeling, textures, lighting, rendering) was done by Roman. Even the music was composed by him. Amazing.

Alex Roman's "The Third & The Seventh" Website




There is nothing better than a nice model pic. However, I didn’t always use proper lighting or a good camera when I first started to document my stuff. This study model is a good example of something that I was never expecting to use in my portfolio. The model in the pic was constantly being altered during the design process. It was used to explore form and no thought went into the cleanliness of the construction. Little did I know that it was going to be front and center of the first page of the first project in my portfolio. This video will describe the steps I used to prepare the image for the portfolio page

The images below summarize the steps used to go from the initial photograph to the final image as described in the video above.

The initial Picture

Final edited image



I began work on a new portfolio section of the site. The first part discusses ideas to think about when beginning a portfolio as well as the settings I used when setting up my portfolio Photoshop pages. I see this as an evolving document that will be adjusted as time progresses. GO TO PAGE



I've been getting a lot of comments to start a Facebook page, so I thought why not. I like this idea because it creates an opportunity to get a community-like atmosphere going. The website currently feels very one-sided, and I'm looking for ways to improve communication. My hope is that the Facebook page will serve as another avenue for comments and questions as well as be a convenience for staying up-to-date with the latest posts.

I have also been looking into creating some portfolio tutorials. I have been wanting to do this for a while, just haven't had much time with work and all. I was amazed to see that my portfolio on had 150,000 views. considering that the portfolio has only been up there for little over a year, its incredible to think that it has seen that much exposure. It makes sense then to develop some content explaining my thought processes behind the portfolios. There are a lot of areas that I feel would be valuable to talk about such as text manipulation, layout, page setup, etc. We will see.




I thought I would post some pics of my trip to NYC this weekend. I didn't get off as many shots as I would have liked, but I was able to find time to experiment with HDR and some other post processing techniques. While HDR can bring some life to a dull image, its not suitable for every image. I usually let the initial pic define how I post process it, in terms of color overtones, levels, etc. 



This is the last of the Kerkythea tutorials and thinking back on it, the video doesn’t really have anything to do with Kerkythea. The video explains some basic steps I use to bring life to different areas of the base rendering in Photoshop. The burn and dodge tool are used extensively to quickly light areas missed in the initial rendering. My goal with this series of videos was to demonstrate the typical workflow I used from beginning to end in a concise manner. Actual renderings involve many test renderings as well as a lot of trial and error during post processing in Photoshop.

(Above) Before Post Processing

(Above) After