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today I'm going to show you a powerful approach that you can use the next time you need to get a beautiful rendering out of Sketchup it works with any rendering extension whether that's v-ray podium shader light or any other one you might try so what's the secret it's a mental model that we call the photographer method and it's become the foundation for a class that we teach called photorealistic rendering on a deadline in this class our students go from knowing absolutely nothing to being able to render on the job in just two days together I'm Alex Oliver founder of Sketchup school the place where professionals go when they're serious about learning Sketchup and in this video I'll show you exactly how the photographer method works keep watching last year at the end of one of the rendering classes I was teaching a student walked up to me looking just a little bit panicked she told me that prior to this class she had committed to a few client renderings and so she had already tried teaching herself rendering but was completely overwhelmed there were so many extensions to choose from and so many features and settings to figure out so with the renderings now do in just a few days our class together was her last-ditch effort to make that rendering deadline she told me that she loved the class but she was worried that she wouldn't be able to translate what she just learned in class back to the job on Monday morning so I offered to help we met several times during that week and I began to notice a common thread to the questions she had well she knew how to use each rendering tool she didn't have a clear approach for how to solve the bigger rendering problems she faced so she wasted a ton of time heading down dead ends one day almost by accident I used a metaphor I told her how rendering is like photography and I explained to her how a photographer would approach the rendering that she was working on all of a sudden everything started to click for her it was like a light went on and she had a more intuitive sense for how to approach every rendering what I just shared with her was a mental model of the rendering process so what's a mental model it's a way of thinking about how something works and we all use them all the time mental models are like shortcuts they allow us to recognize patterns more quickly solve problems more effectively and make better decisions when we're learning something new part of what we're doing is developing these mental models after seeing how well my student was now able to break down each rendering into a set of steps she knew how to accomplish I decided to take the next several weeks to develop the metaphor into something we now call the photographer method in just a minute I'm gonna walk you through the entire approach but first I wanted to share these renderings that my student was able to create using the photographer method remember before our time together she had never even tried rendering before she was really happy with the results and her client was too okay so without further ado let me show you how to use the photographer method it all starts with shifting your mindset so imagine you're a photographer and you've been hired to take a beautiful photograph of a room there are three things that ultimately help you succeed having the right gear for the job setting up great lighting and making adjustments to your final image in a program like Photoshop now imagine instead of being asked to photograph the room in the real world you've been asked to photograph it in Sketchup instead you'll need to use the very same approach we call the photographer method let's take a closer look at how that would work first you'll need the right gear for the job in Sketchup your rendering extension gives you all the gear you need no matter which one you choose so what does that mean well for starters they all come with a camera that has settings some give you more simplified or automated settings kind of like a camera on your phone and then some give you more detailed settings or professional settings kind of like a DSLR also they all allow you to add and configure lights again some give you basic options and others give you more professional options now I often get asked which extension to use the short answer is it almost doesn't matter as you'll see by the end of this video with a photographer method we can get a great rendering out of any extension but since you will need to make a choice about which rendering extension to use stick around to the end of this video and I'll link you to a page where we help you make the right decision for your particular needs alright so once you've got the right gear for the job the next part to the photographer method is that you'll need to set up great lighting imagine for a moment that you're back in the real world thinking about it like a professional photographer you can use two point lighting to light your shot what's two point lighting it's a simple technique where you set up your camera angle then add a primary or a key light on one side and then add a secondary or fill light on the opposite side in Sketchup use the same technique here's how it works first set up your camera angle start with the navigation and position camera tools to set up the camera angle you want then hide and show layers to figure out the composition of the shot and once you like what you see remember to save a scene to lock everything in second set up your main light which is called a key light the key light should provide the primary lighting and shadows that you want to see in some cases the Sun can be your key light when the Sun is your key light you can use Sketchup Co location feature and then use the shadows dialog to set the position of the Sun in the sky then dial in the final settings for the sunlight in your rendering extension now in other cases your key light will be an artificial light that you'll need to add using your rendering extension as a rule of thumb point your key light at an angle preferably coming from above the camera third balance your camera exposure to the key light remember you're rendering extension is like your camera so you'll need to adjust your camera's exposure relative to the key light to get a properly lit shot this is a big deal one of the most critical mistakes I see students make is skipping this exposure step altogether they end up wasting a ton of time adding a bunch of unnecessary lights just trying to force things to work fourth add your secondary light which is called a fill light this light should help fill in anything that's too dark helping you bring out important details as a rule of thumb try placing your fill light at roughly 90 degrees relative to the key light with your camera being in between the two lights fifth balance the key and fill lights relative to each other once you've added the second light you'll often find you need to adjust either the color or brightness of one of your lights to balance it with the other since you've exposed your camera to the key light try making adjustments to the fill light first as a rule of thumb the Filat should often
Thanks for your comment Nathanael Partido, have a nice day.
- Elana Wadden, Staff Member
Thanks for this interesting article
Thanks beebopcolar your participation is very much appreciated
- Elana Wadden
About the author
I've studied cognitive biology at Cedarville University in Cedarville and I am an expert in sociology of culture. I usually feel recumbent. My previous job was agricultural sciences professor I held this position for 18 years, I love talking about video gaming and stone skipping. Huge fan of Anwar Hadid I practice horse racing and collect toys.
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