There is something really nice about the simplicity and clarity of an architectural line drawing. A friend of mine was showing me some old school drawings by guys like Bernard Tschum and Lebbeus Woods. It’s amazing how fast drawings like these are being replaced by just awful Sketchup images and renderings. I have always been attracted to line drawings simply because they focus on form and proportion, with less distraction from color and material. I think that is why I often use clay model renderings for presentations early on in the design process.  Programs like Sketchup provide lots of opportunities to create line drawings that read really well when combined with Photoshop.  As seen in a lot of my tutorials, the idea is to export many individual images with different combinations of edge and face styles. In Photoshop, these different images are manipulated and tweaked to get a more crafted look.



For this illustration, I exported 5 different images from Sketchup. Choose “File>Export>2D Graphic”. In the export dialogue box, set the file type to “JPEG image”. Once JPEG is selected, you should see an “Options” button in the bottom right corner and select it. In the options dialogue box, uncheck “Use view size” and set the width to somewhere around 4500 px. Check the box “Anti-alias” and set the JPEG compression to “better quality”.










I next opened the above 5 images in Photoshop. I have attached an image showing the layer order that I used along with some notes such as the “layer blend mode” of each image.






Something to note is that I inverted some of the exported Sketchup line drawings to give the effect of  white lines on the dark background. This means a new layer must also be created and filled with dark grey as shown above.






There are also many subtle things going on in this image such as rough up the shadows layer. I did this by selecting a rough paint brush, and setting the opacity of the brush very low. I then just painted over the edges of the shadows to give a faded look.






Finally, I added some textures and set the layer blend mode of these textures to “Overlay”.