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3d visualization services
25 July 2018
Manoj Singh

Architectural Rendering Preferences

Increasingly, architects, artists and designers can now flesh out a design with a range of 3D architectural rendering services. Preferences in residential architectural renderings follow as a result of the wide array of options available. Software for rendering has seen significant progress over time. Greater demand for high quality images and advances in technology and architectural design drafting have propelled architects and designers to produce life-like, photorealistic visuals of architectural projects for retail, architectural and marketing purposes.

What exactly is a rendered image, what kind of views exist and what are the challenges?

A rendered image is a three-dimensional image of an interior or exterior view that conveys style, space, layout and scale to real estate purchasers and owners for purposes of decision-making, planning and sale of property. Two of the main views favoured in architectural rendering are dollhouse views and side-cut views.

Dollhouse views are made from 2D drawings, which show a top-down view with an isometric angle for depth. They show layout, scale and design and can be easily comprehended by anyone.

Side-cut views are useful for multi-storey row homes or townhouses. Space layouts are shown vertically and the views include amenities, garages, kitchens and patios. These views are also easy to understand.

Challenges with rendering include transforming a 2D plan, drawing or blueprint into a 3D representation. Presently, there are many software options that can do this. The array of effective rendering plug-ins and modelling software can, at times, be almost intimidating, and so, with a more informed sense of the choices available, deciding on what software option to pick becomes a little less stressful. The more popular ones among architects and designers have been listed below:


With a varied and extensive library of textures and high-quality realism, VRay is preferred by many for its Light and Shadow tools. It is a compatible plug-in for 3DSMax, Cinema 4D, Google Sketch-up, Autodesk Revit and others.

Mental Ray

Mental Ray’s asset is its ‘user-friendliness’. It may not enable the quality and photorealism of VRay, but it has tried to create a universal rendering engine that can be utilised by designers and artists across the board. Architects seem to favour it because it is versatile and easy to use.


General feedback about Maxwell is that it is slow. ‘Unbiased rendering’, a lighting engine unique to Maxwell, uses actual modelling techniques instead of shortcuts. Because of the realistic quality to the lighting thus achieved, the render time is lengthy, as complex high-resolution images come into play. It also boasts of ‘Maxwell Fire’, an enviably fast engine that enables a grainy view of the render under construction. It is a low-resolution image that predicts lighting, colour and materiality, but without a long wait.

Octane Render

A graphics card is used to most of the rendering calculations in Octane. With the required resources, such as a high-end graphics card, this will reduce rendering time. Octane possesses fewer resources and only works with NVIDIA cards.

Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D’s rendering quality is ideal for 3D modelling and presentations. The same package enables 3D rendering also. Cinema 4D can create, model, texture and animate its renders. It works as a desirable add-on to ArchiCAD or Vectorworks.


Modo has a powerful rendering engine that allows it to model and render within the same app and is blessed with fast preview capabilities, but it offers fewer options.

3DS Max

Its renderer works with its 3D modelling software to interface seamlessly with AutoCAD and Revit. The Revit renderer is not as flexible as 3DS Max. Max enables the manipulation of textures and the import of Revit models. It helps produce static and animated rendered models that are remarkably photorealistic. Max works well with Adobe Photoshop and After Effects as well as most of the Autodesk software options. It is preferred by architectural rendering studios for its versatility, robustness and collaborative features. Feature such as the ‘Camera Sequencer’, ‘Dual Quarternion Skinning’, ‘A360 Rendering Support’ and ‘Enhanced ShaderFX’ have been requested by users and have been custom fitted.


It doesn’t just creative high quality visual images, Revit keeps track of a substantial quantity of design-related data, making it a preferred choice in the design of houses, apartments and landscaping. Data in Revit 3D models can be also be used for facility management, planning, documentation and marketing visualisations.

AutoCAD Architecture

Structures are designed and rendered with high quality photorealism from designs and models with cloud rendering, making it accessible anytime and anywhere. Renders are directly sent to the cloud and can be accessed online in the gallery. Features include the ability to navigate 360-degree panoramas, study solar renderings and simulate illuminance.

Sketch Up

User-friendly and functional, Sketch Up’s 3D Warehouse provides 3D models of chairs, tables and plants. It is fast and interactive.


Rhino 3D reflects 3D terrain on renderings after it has captured these images. Using Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines (NURBS) which represent 3D geometry mathematically, it can illustrate lines, curves, circles, 3D solids and 3D surfaces accurately. Without the use of external plug-ins, Rhino supports more than 30 CAD file formats to export and import data. It does not need complex hardware and is fast on an ordinary computer.


Fast and reliable, Lumion can be set up quickly to render and can be viewed on desktops, tablets and phones. Only a single computer is required and not a render farm. It has an extensive library hosting plants, people and weather options. It can also render 360-degree panorama views.


Developed by architects for architects, ArchiCAD uses high-performance rendering tools to develop high quality photorealistic images.

Vectorworks Architect

Its Parasolid 3D modelling engine affords a high degree of versatility, where any geometric shape or complicated architectural 3D design can be created. The model can be bent, pushed, pulled in any direction or in any view. As the cursor moves, the interface instinctively and automatically comprehends working plans.

Rendered images of high quality created through suitable software options, in conjunction with architectural design drafting, can seamlessly and wordlessly illustrate design thinking. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. Superior quality showcased in a detailed and appealing rendering can create a reputation for quality in design. This will impact sales and create better customer relationships. Well-thought out rendered images can reflect the kind of lifestyle that customers are used to or aspire to. Effective rendered images can portray green building design and rendered perspectives on renovated old buildings can open up a range of design possibilities for prospective clients. Ultimately, the effect of aesthetic and precise architectural rendering services can be seen in the communication of design ideas and subsequent commercial gains in the fields of retail, architecture and marketing.