Is it for marketing or planning?
Before you even begin developing your montage, a key consideration must be whether your images will be used for planning applications or for marketing/promotional purposes. Planning montages will to secure planning permission or convince stakeholders, and should therefore be as realistic as possible. You want to clearly show how your product will function in its real life context; in architecture, you want to not only show as clearly as you can how the new building will look, but also how it will affect its environment. For example, if you are renovating a series of shop fronts on a commercial street, you’ll want to illustrate how the development will improve the street overall, bringing in more shoppers and raising the value of property there. Marketing montages, however, are different as they will be used to sell the development. This could be selling your new design to your client or maybe used as part of your bid for a contract to local government, or maybe they will be sent to the marketing team in order to find new home owner to buy property in a new housing scheme. Renders for marketing or promo use should be bright, optimistic and inviting, and while you don’t want to cover your render in glitter and unicorns. you can take a bit more artistic license than a purely technical rendering. You may even want to make different versions of the same render, one for marketing and one for planning.
Include images of different angles
It sounds like an obvious choice, but one thing that is going to seriously impress your clients and let them know that you’ve done an outstanding job is to include montages of the new building from all different angles and elevations. From a design perspective, this will help you a lot in making sure that your design is perfect no matter where it is seen from, but more importantly it is going to help the client, investor or shareholder see the project from all different sides and be confident that you’ve fully thought everything through. If you’re not sure what elevations you should use, go online and check out some tutorials to get ideas from other artists.
Before and after views
Including before and after views with the montage is extremely helpful as it lets the client recognize the location and feel familiar with it, while also showing the affect that your design will have on the surroundings. In the case of architectural developments, it can have the added bonus of impressing on your client how much of a positive change your building will bring to an existing site. You might be planning the renovation of someone’s dream home or the office space of the business they may have put their life’s work into. You cannot underestimate how important these are to your client, and before and after views will help you convince them that your design is the best. You may also want to include an image with the new developments transparently superimposed over the existing building to really show it off.
Add in objects to give a sense of scale
in renders for both planning and marketing, it is a good idea to add in some objects that give a sense of scale, such as trees, cars or people. For starters, adding them in is going to make fill your render with life, making it much more interesting and appealing. Don’t go overboard, but remember that, especially with marketing renders, you are trying to sell your design. A bare montage of a new gym isn’t going to impress anyone, but add in some cars in the parking lots and some people going in and out will give it a warm and friendly feel, and making your client feel assured that the new gym will be a success. But these objects aren’t just good aesthetically. Just as important is the sense of scale they bring to the render, which might not be clear if your photograph is from a sparse or unpopulated area. Remember, more often than not your clients or investors are not trained architects, so anything that makes them better able to understand the proposal, especially the sense of scale, is going to help you a lot.
Pay attention to Lighting
Depending on the location you are using, the best lighting may be at a certain time of day, such as noon or dusk, and you’ll need to take this into account while taking or selecting the photograph. While it may seem to obvious to even point out, it is worth bearing in mind that your photomontage is going to look rather strange the lighting in the digitally rendered content does not match that of the photograph. Pay special attention to any vegetation, cars, people or other objects you may have added into the render; if their lighting and shading doesn’t match the rest of the image, they are going to ruin the whole thing. Luckily, Photoshop has many tools that can help you with this.
Get some site data
One of the best kept secrets of photomontage renders, experienced architects will always advise you to get the site data before starting your photomontage render. Not only will you need to consider to the topography of the area during the planning phase, having access to any survey or topographical data for the site of the photomontage will be of considerable assistance in ensuring an accurate and realistic image. Photographs, depending on their angle and elevation, might not fully show the land you want to build on and can hide uneven ground. The site data will clearly illustrate these.