The Art of Rendering: 10 Cutout and Texture Resources For Your Architectural Visualizations

Many of these sites were lifesavers for Alex Hogrefe going through architecture school.

Alex Hogrefe Alex Hogrefe

Alex Hogrefe is the creator of Visualizing Architecture, a blog dedicated to educating people in the art of architectural visualization. He is also part of rendering studio Design Distill, generating unique and compelling illustrations for architects around the world.

Architecture visualization can consume a lot of resources and time if you’re not careful. With the tediousness of Photoshop and renderings calculating through the night, spending more than 20 minutes searching Google Images for a specific texture or image can become a breaking point for many. Any way to save time in this field is a big advantage, especially in school. There are a lot of free resources online that have already put in the hard work so that you don’t have to. Many of these sites were lifesavers going through architecture school.

Below are some of my favorite websites containing free cutouts and textures. Some of the resources made the list because of their clear organization of the information. Often, there are very specific demands of a project or client that require lots of time online searching. These sites offer smart labeling and clear categorizing that makes finding specific items painless.

Skalgubbar

Skalgubbar offers up a large library of high-resolution cutout people in PNG format. The people are often in unique situations that don’t work for all illustrations. At the same time, the unique positions can also help add a bit of character to some less exciting images. Either way, I enjoy the “tumblr-like” display allowing you to quickly browse through a lot of images.

Immediate Entourage

Immediate Entourage is another great site to find a large collection of cutout people. The resolution of the cutouts are hit or miss, but the library is comprehensive. What is even better, I.E. also provides many cutouts of vegetation. Everything is well labeled so it is easy to find what you need.

Gobotree

Gobotree is a large and growing library of free images and cutouts created by the people at Vyonyx. By using the categories drop down at the top of the page, you can find extensive libraries of cutout people and vegetation to quickly populate an illustration. I especially like their sky collection and visit it often. I’m impressed with how this site is progressing and hope they can keep it growing. You do need to register for a free account that limits downloads to 50 images a month.

Mrcutout.com

Mrcutout.com provides extremely high-res cutouts from a descent size library. The problem is that once registered, you are limited to 2.5 MBs a day. Just a few downloads can consume the entire daily allowance. This can be limiting with only a few days to produce an illustration. However, the quality of the cutouts are some of the best and can be a good resource for some of the close-up foreground elements.

Xoio

This site offers full cutout collections of people in specific situations. Examples include a collection of office scenes, coffee scenes, people scene from above, people scene from below, etc. Green screens are used, meaning the cutouts are of the highest quality. Xoio also provides many other collections of 3D models and backgrounds that can be helpful, as well.

Textures.com

Probably one of my all-time favorites, I visit this site every time I am working on a new illustration. Textures.com is a huge database of JPG textures, many of which are tileable. This works great for texturing in SketchUp as well as in Photoshop. What I appreciate the most about this site is its incredible organization and in-depth library. It’s my go-to place when I need to find very specific and unique textures. The free account allows you to download 15 MBs a day.

Texturer

Similar to Textures.com, Texturer does a good job of organizing the images. However, few of the textures are tileable. Though this limits my use, there are still many useful textures to be found once I’m post-processing in Photoshop.

SWtexture

What I like about SWtexture is the size of the tileable textures. When used in a 3D model or in Photoshop, the tiling is barely noticeable. The blog focuses on commonly used materials so you will be hard-pressed to find anything unique or specific. However, the textures that are provided are of great quality and worth checking out.

FlyingArchitecture

Not only a great blog, Matúš of FlyingArchitecture provides several V-Ray textures that include bump and displacement maps. Though the textures are created for V-Ray, you can use just the diffuse images in your 3D model and in Photoshop if needed.

Tony Textures

While there are some free cutouts, I personally like Tony Textures because of their many high-res texture images. Though most are not tileable, the viz images such as skies, ground planes, water, etc., go a long way in Photoshop. I often explore this site if the other resources fail to deliver.

This post first appeared on Alex Hogrefe’s blog Visualizing Architecture. Enjoy this article? Check out the other features in our series on “The Art of Rendering”:

How to Emulate an Emotive Architectural Sketch in Photoshop

Create a Stunning Watercolor Visual Using SketchUp, AutoCAD and Photoshop

How to Bring Your SketchUp Model to Life Using Nothing but Photoshop

Methanoia Reveals the Story Behind Architecture’s Most Striking Visualizations

7 Magical Demonstrations of Hyper-Real Environments

When Architectural Visualization Gets It Right: Victor Enrich’s Surreal Art

A Photographic Approach to Architectural Visualization

Alex Hogrefe Creates Stunning Architectural Visualizations Using SketchUp and Photoshop

4 Unique Approaches to Architectural Visualization

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