In my experience as an architectural illustrator I have found out that in some situations one can obtain a lot better results by composting elements cropped from photos into 3d renderings, rather than actually rendering them.
Many use this method to add entourage elements such as people or vegetation to renderings and maybe sometimes cars. However, this method also works well for some other things. There was a time when I used it intensively in my renderings for placing almost anything from office clutter, interior plants to curtains and even restaurant tables.
I have found it to be very useful for several reasons.
1)-the rendering time was considerably lower than it would have been if I rendered all the objects directly in 3d
2)-I spent a lot less time compositing elements from photos to the renderings that I would have spent on modeling, texturing and material settings for every specific object
3)-sometimes one may find it hard to model something in 3d, especially if that it does not have enough info (like correct front views, side views and top views), or simply because the object is too difficult to replicate in 3d due to the complexity of the model or “special materials”so the results that can be obtained by using a composting method may actually look a lot better than the ones obtained by the traditional 3d methods.
4)-I have avoided a lot of ram memory errors. These type of errors are quite frequent if have a 3d scene overloaded with polygons and textures from lots of objects (if you don’t have a very powerful workstation)
5)-the feedback from my clients was great!
In conclusion I would like to say that no one should be afraid to use photoshop whenever it is possible. I know that a lot of 3d experts out there actually recommend to model and texture everything from scratch (and to some extend they are right) but again, there are certain situations
when photoshop can be a real life saver. You will find some tutorials on this blog on how to add different elements like hedges, restaurant tables, vegetation and curtains. I hope that you will find them useful