Saturday, August 29, 2009

Jojo Was A Man Who Thought He Was A Photographer

Time for a few basic SketchUp photography tips.

Having problems with your SketchUp building photo shoots? We can work it out. Here is a list of some fab tricks that make life easier.

1) Get back. If you are on a long and winding road, (or any other road) get back as far as possible from your subject, and zoom in if you have a zoom lens. This eliminates much of the "fisheye" distortion that makes your textures look bow-legged like this:
( ) rather than this: | |

2) All you need is... proper exposure. Avoid backlighting by manually exposing for a lower part of the building, then shooting the higher parts against the sky. Backlighting is what happens when the bright sky causes your building to look too dark in the photo. You need to override the camera's automatic tendency to expose for that bright sky (see your camera manual).

3) Cry for a shadow? Some prefer to shoot on bright, cloudy days to avoid hard shadows. Others desire those shadows and will rapidly move around the building(s) on sunny days to capture this dazzling sunlight in a consistent pattern on all surfaces for an ultra-realistic appearance.

I sometimes use Google Street View (easy to do using Picasa for screen capturing). In Street View the shadows are sometimes hard and the sunlight is crisp but I think it looks good when several adjacent buildings are modeled from the same light source (which is totally possible with Street View).

In other cases I have painted textures "from scratch" when photos were not good enough. There are many approaches, and in my life I've loved them all. Just "don't make it bad" is my motto.

Advanced tip: If you have Photoshop CS2, look in this menu: Image> Adjustments> Match Color. This may help you to match colors in photos. Ta fe read'n this! (Thanks for reading this)