How to create a sketchy shadow using SketchUp + Photoshop

A nice and easy way of getting shadows with a hand-made hatched look for your SketchUp presentation.

In SketchUp:

  1. Choose a Sketchy Edges style that you like;
  2. Turn off shadows and export an image (Fig. 1);
    Fig. 1: Sketchy Edges style image
  3. Now turn on shadows and under the Edit tab of  the  Styles panel, turn off the edges and export a second image (Fig. 2);
    Fig. 2: Shadows image

In Photoshop:

  1. Open the first (edges only) image;
  2. Add the second (shadows only) image to a new Layer;
  3. Use Levels on the shadows only layer to make it dark enough to get good contrast with the white background (Fig. 3);
    Fig. 3: Levels applied to the shadows only layer
  4. On this same shadows only layer,  use Color Range to select the shadow areas;
  5. Apply Feather (Shift+F6)  with a 3 px setting (or more, depending on your image size, this example was 400px wide);
  6. Hide the shadows only layer and create a new one, while keeping your selection in place;
  7. Find a Brush similar to your SketchUp edge style and fill the canvas with it, your selection will keep the strokes inside the shadow areas. Use Ctrl+H if you want to hide the selection border as you do it (we used a tablet to get a more natural looking hatch);
  8. Combine your shadow hatch layer with the edges as you see fit.
    Fig. 4:  Final

To get SketchUp edges looking simmilar to those from your Photoshop Brush, you might want to have a look at the Style Builder, available with Google SketchUp Pro. Take a thin Photoshop Brush (less than 4 px), create some straight strokes and import them on Style Builder where you can create a new SketchUp sketchy edge style. Exporting the edge only image using this style and then using the same brush on Photoshop will create a more consistent look.

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