Last week I described the work flow of generating a plan oblique illustration from a Sketchup model. This week, I wanted to follow that up with how I added color and texture to the SU exports to achieve the image above. The steps to create the above image are not a science, and certain moves can and should be changed, removed, tweaked, and experimented with. I have been in this phase lately where I have been pushing illustrations with bright, extremely saturated colors which may not be ideal for every presentation.

Be sure to check out last weeks post for a little background on this image and to get more explanation on how to generate these views.



1) To begin, export the 4 images below from Sketchup.






2. Open the Sketchup “shaded with textures” exported image in Photoshop. Go to “Image>Adjustments>Hue/ Saturation”. In the dialogue box, check “Colorize”.  Increase the saturation and adjust the hue to get the tone that you want.


1 colorize




3. Next, open the Sketchup “x-ray” exported image and align it above the previous layer. Set the blend mode of the x-ray image to “Multiply”.


2 linework multiply




4. Open the Sketchup “shadows” exported image and align it above the previous to images. Set the layer blend mode of the shadows layer to “Multiply”.


3 Shadows multiply




5. Open the Sketchup “Profile” exported image in Photoshop and align it above the previous 3 layers. Go to “Image>Invert”.


4 Invert





6. Set the layer blend mode of the profile image to “Lighten”.


5 lighten




7. This next step may not be necessary for everyone, but I created a quick clay rendering in Kerkythea to add a little depth to the image. A tutorial on how to create a clay rendering can be found HERE.


6 clay model rendering




8. Bring the clay rendering into Photoshop and set it as the top layer. Set the layer blend mode to “Multiply”. At this stage, the illustration looks like the image below. Still not looking that great.


7 clay model rendering




9. Next, I threw in some color stripes to break up the monotonous background. Create a new layer, then choose the “Rectangular Marquee Tool” and draw a rectangular selection. With the “Paint Bucket Tool”, fill in the selection.


8 color bands




10. Set the layer blend mode of the stripe layers to “Overlay”. In certain situations, different blend modes may work better than others, so test out other options before defaulting to overlay.


9 layer blend mode




11. I typically prefer a little texture in my illustrations so I am going to add a sketch overlay. Bring in the texture to Photoshop (just Google “grunge texture”, there are tons of them), move it to the top layer and set the layer blend mode to “Overlay”.


91 Texture




12. If you haven’t seen part 1 of this series, then this next step won’t make much sense. In order to make this a true plan oblique, I need the stretch the image vertically by 141.421%. I did this by first increasing the canvas size to make room for the newly stretched image. I then selected all of the layers, chose “Edit>Transform>Scale” and typed 141.421% in the horizontal attribute. Once this is done, the plan of this image will be all 90 degree angles. If the illustration is scaled properly, every line will be measurable and accurate. Even vertical lines will be measurable.


92 Stretch




13. Finally, I brought in some floor plans and set the layer blend modes to “Multiply” so that I was left with only the line work. I don’t have completed floor plans yet so I just used exported Sketchup images.


93 Floor Plan




Below, you can see the completed illustration. What I like about this type of illustration is first, its vintage style. I also like how it shows off the form in a unique way, while also providing measurable information making it very functional. I used a very orthogonal building design for these illustrations, however, I can imagine organic forms working well with this style too.


plan_oblique_final rendering_alex_hogrefe