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Garden Design - 3D Sketchup/Photoshop/3DS Max?

I'm a garden designer but do alot of graphics for my business - and get roped into doing my girlfriends ads/leaflets for her business to -as freebies of course!

I've been using photoshop to produce my plan drawings to scale and generating 3d 'sketches' too. I've built up a large library of custom drawn plant icons and captions, and am begining to make 3d drawings of plants, seats, waterfalls etc. to (to drop into 'artist impression' type drawings for my clients - not actual 3d)

This takes a hell of a long time to do in photoshop - which I use because I started with it and am comfortable with it (reasonably) - for no other reason. I tried sketch up recently and found that it couldn't read my images as 3d.

I need to move to a quicker program - one that will generate 3d's from my plan scale drawn icons automatically, someone suggested using 3ds max but this is massively expensive. If I cant find a prog to interpret my 2d images of pants into 3d then I need to find an easy 3d drawing program - hopefully something simpler than 3ds max or cad - because I dont need all the technical information of structural design. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Paul Murray

Staff member
You can create a basic 3D object in Photoshop but it's not a true 3D object as such, it only consists of the faces you tell Photoshop to use. Take a look here and see the 'launch demo' link at the bottom;

2D Image Into 3D Model Using Photoshop | hv-designs

Are you looking for a program that will take a plan view of a garden and then create a 3D mesh of that garden based on the image? Or something that will interpret your 3D visualisation into a 3D mesh?

It might be worth taking the time to get used to Sketch Up and create a library of 3D objects that you can use in other visualisations. It will save you a hell of a lot of time being able to simply render a visualisation rather than having to draw it out by hand. I have a friend who works as some kind of architectural engineer and he uses it to visualise things quickly for clients.
Thanks for the response Paul.
Had a look at the 3 sided cardboard box - posibly the only one in the world! I wonder if it is possible to do the other sides? Seriously though - I've looked at the 3d tool in CS4 and thought about trying it, so was useful to see roughly how it works.

I cant see how software could render a true 3d image from a 2d one - even when drawin with perspective etc. - but then I dont understand 3d programs and am still amazed when for instance watching Flash tween. It leaves me thinking 'how the hell does it do that' - so I hold some hope that a 3d - 2d sketch could be extrapolated into real 3d! Hope that makes sense.

I know sketchup can take things like cylinder shapes or complex angled forms made with push pull or cut out tools and orbit around them, but can it generate a completely freeform hand drawn shape and then move around that?

The only tree I found in sketchup was made from lots of flat planes and looked very klunky.


New Member
I'm not too sure how familiar you are with sketchup? Are you aware of the 3D Warehouse?

3D Warehouse

There you can search for plants, trees and many other objects. Creating your required view of the object and exporting the image, that can then be edited in photoshop to be placed into graphics. There are a large number of styles available, making it possible to create the impression that the image is hand drawn if this is the approach you are after?

As an architecture student I use AutoCAD to create my plans and then import them into Sketchup to create the 3d model around. A fairly simple process.

Hope this helps and makes sense.