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What is 3D architectural rendering?

As a rapidly evolving and very useful tool, 3D rendering has proven to be a common tool for architects, designers, and more. It helps designers and their clients understand how the finished product will look. It's not just limited to graphic designers and game developers.

3D architectural rendering began in the late 1980s. Back then, rendering techniques were simple and limited. Today, you can create complex and highly realistic 3D images unimaginable in the 80s.

But what is rendering? Most people, including architects and designers, have heard of rendering but don't fully understand what it is.

Here's what you need to know about3D architectural renderingAll information about the process behind it. Plus, learn how rendering can help your architecture, construction andbusiness.

What is 3D rendering?

A 3D rendering is a two-dimensional image created from 3D data stored in a computer. These renderings can range from basic shapes to highly detailed 3D skin parts.

It's a pity the images are not like the ones you saw when you were a kidpop up like a 3D movie. But it still gives you a sneak peek at what a building or design will look like before construction.

Rendering is very similar to photography and cinematography. In order for your rendering to look realistic, you need proper staging and lighting to create the image. The only difference from rendering is that the collection you create is fictitious.

The process starts with the designer creating all the different parts in the 3D image before rendering. This involves modeling and animating trees, buildings, furniture, and more. This is a time-consuming process and is necessary to gain more creative freedom in the final 3D rendering.

After creating all the parts in the image, it's time to start rendering. This process adds texture, color, shadows, optical effects, and atmosphere to an image. The amount of these details depends on how realistic or abstract the designer needs to render.

Final 3D renderings appear as 3D buildings or photorealistic images you see on billboards, magazines and websites. These images are invaluable in helping your clients get an idea of how a building will look (and feel) prior to the construction process.

3D rendering technology

The above description is a brief breakdown of the rendering process. There are several different rendering techniques to achieve 3D rendering.


Rasterization is one of the earliest forms of rendering. It uses the model as a polygonal network containing vertices with texture, position and color information. Vertices act as boundaries containing colors and textures.

Vertices are projected onto a plane based on the viewer's perspective. This is a fast process popular in video games that require real-time rendering.

ray casting

Have you noticed a problem with the game when objects overlap? This is a common problem with rasterization, but raycasting solves it.

This type of rendering casts rays to the model at every pixel on the plane. It just hits and displays whatever objects and images are in front of it. This helps resolve overlapping issues and makes renderings look more realistic.

ray tracing

Raycasting lacks light, shadows, and refraction—the tiny details that help make 3D renderings look lifelike. Ray tracing works similarly to ray casting, except that it produces secondary (or refracted) rays after hitting the model. These secondary rays depict shadow and refraction rays that vary according to the texture of the model.

rendering equationMode

The advent of rendering equations makes images more realistic. The rendering equation takes into account light from multiple places, not just one viewing angle. This equation also applies to indirect illumination and global illumination.

Rendering hardware and softwarebody

The rendering process is often slow, depending on the level of detail and information you need to include in your work. If you can't invest in a large team of rendering designers, you can invest in quality hardware to speed up the rendering process.

You need software that uses GPU and CPU for rendering. As for the hardware, you need a powerful processor, a powerful graphics card, and a lot of RAM to create high-quality renderings.

However, no matter how advanced your hardware and software are, they cannot provide perfect photorealistic rendering. But they can be very close. Data size, resolution, and speed affect the quality of the final 3D rendering.

Other variables that can improve rendering include proper scaling of objects, lighting, and color temperature. Paying close attention to these variables and retouching your original renders can improve the realistic quality of your 3D architectural renderings. 

Why you need 3D rendering

Now that you understand what rendering is, does your real estate or construction business currently use it? If not, you are missing out on a very useful tool.

First, 3D rendering can save you and your business a lot of time and money. Have you ever started a construction project where a client wanted to make major changes midway through? This is a time-consuming process that can cost your business a lot of money.

Describing the final design is not enough for most people to imagine what the finished building or design will look like. With 3D rendering, you can present your final design to clients and let them make changes before they start building.

As someone in the real estate business, you know it's a challenge to sell what your customers can't see. Many times, you will need to sell an apartment or a home in a new development before construction begins.

Using 3D renderings will help your clients understand exactly what their new home or office will look like. When your clients can see the finished building, they are more likely to buy a new property.

Try 3D architectural renderings

3D architectural renderings are a great way to improve your real estate business. You'll impress your clients with stunning visuals and get more sales on your pre-built properties.

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