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How to render a cabin in the woods – Fisher House

Let’s start off the week with a fast tutorial but with awesome results. The Fisher House was designed by the architect Louis Kahn and built for Dr. Norman Fisher and his wife Doris Fisher in 1967. “I always begin with squares”- Louis Kahn, among his projects, there is the Fisher House, he used two cubes, one for the living room and one for the bedrooms. 

 
So, take a look at how we rendered the famous Fisher House using our favorite combo, SketchUp, Lumion, and Photoshop. Watch the video tutorial here.

Final Render

Open 3D model in SketchUp

We opened the 3D model, we downloaded it from the 3d warehouse.

We didn’t like the terrain that much, so we used the sandbox tool and created it 1 meter by 1 meter. We started making it more imperfect, (how it will be in real life)

Lumion

After importing the model to Lumion, we started changing the basic materials like; the wood of the facade, the glass of the facade, the grass.

Of course, before we continue changing anything else, we needed to change the perspective view. We also added the image overlay, so we can have a different style in all of our images.
We wanted a sunset kind of image, so with the sun, we started putting the sun in a certain place, added shadows, skylights.

Back to SketchUp

So, you know us, we like to change things..multiple times until it gets convincing. We went back to SketchUp to fix the terrain. With our set point of view, it obviously helped us with fixing the foreground terrain.

After lifting some parts in the foreground terrain, we changed the material of the grass types, we chose three different grass types.

Then our favorite part came, adding trees. The trees are extremely important here, especially for the shadows. We needed to see some references because we haven’t been to the Fisher House.

Since it is a cabin in the woods, we needed to make sure that the background and foreground had different kinds of trees, from pine trees to willow trees. 

Lumion has the default camera millimeter length of 15 millimeters, so we recommend changing it to 25 or 35, so it can have a more realistic resolution.

We added a pine tree so it would give more depth to the image. 

After adding reflection to the materials like the wood, glass, steel, we started testing out with real skies, because we wanted this sunset look in our render. But hey, this was no ordinary render, it had to give the feeling of that post rainy weather kind of sunset. 

We used multiple skies, but it was just not convincing or defined, but you know how we work here in Show It Better, we like to explore, we never have something defined from the start.

 

Anyways 😂, we started defining the foreground of the image, with a lot of forest debris, or a place with low maintenance, like tall untouched grass. 

We added some lights, but you’ll see that at the end it was kind of irrelevant because of the brightness we had the sun in. 

Of course, we had to add curtains, so it would give that home-ish feel to it. 

Import rendered channels to Photoshop

We started off importing all of the rendered channels with the base image to photoshop, and we aligned them and adjusted the canvas, and cropped the black lines on the sides. 

To give this foggy effect, we overlaid the specular channel and we used the soft light blending option, so it would make the specular parts a little bit shinier. 

Using the depth map, we inverted it using ctrl + I to make it look more like fog, more contrast, and of course more depth to the image. 

At this point the image was looking too blue, so using the camera raw filter, we adjust it more a warmer color, this is where we saw the real colors of the foreground. One little tip, to give way more depth to the image, we made some ferns and some tree trunks darker, and there was the difference. 

Final Render 

What did you think of the final image? We think that the most important thing about this tutorial is the tutorial. We saw the difference between the first image until the last one, and how each detail makes the difference. 

 

Watch the video tutorial below!

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