Create An Interior Design Presentation Board Using Autocad, SketchUp, Photoshop And Illustrator

By Tom Gillan

There are several methods you could employ to create a series of printed A2 presentation boards for an interior design presentation to a client. A common workflow would utilize the strengths of the following programs: Autocad, SketchUp, Photoshop and Illustrator.

Autocad (produced by AutoDesk) is the industry-leader for drafting 2D drawings. We would use Autocad to draw up the site plan, possibly based on existing surveyor’s drawings. We would add our modifications to the site, as well as annotations, dimensions and a legend.

We could then import the drawing into SketchUp (produced by Trimble) and create 3D model using the various modeling tools. SketchUp is a great program for creating realistic 3D models with real-world lighting and materials. It’s a free program and very easy to learn. We could also create section-cut views and fly-through animations if required. We would in this case output our elevations as images to be printed on our presentation boards.

Photoshop (produced by Adobe) could be used to include mock-up, concept sketches of the site with added foliage or photos of existing buildings and landscape features. Photoshop is the world-leader for manipulating and retouching images. We could also add a variety of special effects, including lighting effects, to add dynamism to our compositions.

We would use Adobe Illustrator in two ways in the final stage; firstly, to create icons for utilities and site features. Illustrator is the best program to use for vector-based artwork like logos and diagrams. Vector illustration is mathematically calculated so it always retains perfectly clear lines and solid colours. It is known as resolution-independent, so that it can be scaled to any size without any loss of clarity. There are a range of tools for creating such artwork, suiting our purpose best for site icons in a legend and info-graphics. These can also be saved as Symbols in Illustrator for use in later projects. Our company logo would also have been designed initially in Illustrator.

The second use of Illustrator in this project is to compile all the graphic elements into a series of A2 boards. We would import our Autocad drawings, our Photoshop concept sketches, and our Illustrator logos and icons together onto single or multiple boards. A great feature of illustrator is the ability to create multiple artboards for such projects; items can then easily be copied from one artboard to the next.

The final step would be to prepare the document for printing commercially. The print requirements should be kept in mind at the start; these will vary with different print companies depending on the machines they use. There are a variety of paper stocks and varnishes available and most print companies are happy to spend time with you deciding which suits your purposes best. One option for presentation boards is to be printed and mounted onto foam-core. Many examples are available on the web.

The process of creating presentation boards is fairly logical, but requires some time spent on the various program skills involved. However each program is easy to learn and simply requires time and patience. There are many resources available, including the courses we run in all these programs at: .

Tom Gillan has been training graphic design software to corporate clients in Sydney for seven years. Visit our website for more information:

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