Understanding how to create an architectural rendering is the first step toward a successful career in archviz. This guide will get you up to speed in no time.
Architectural renderings have become a staple in the business: no project big or small can see the light of day without being visualized first. Not only do they sell the architect’s vision to their potential clients, but they’re also of great use in helping them in the creative process.
Even though this task may seem a little daunting at first, creating an architectural rendering is a mix of art and technique. The process becomes smoother the more you do it — as well as a lot of fun (no wonder so many arch viz artists are so passionate about their craft and the tools they use).
To help you create your own architectural renderings, we came up with this little guide to get you started in no time, from the first steps to the final render.
1. Understand the project: Before you start creating the rendering, gather as much information as possible about the project. This includes the building plans, elevations, sections, and any other relevant information. If you're working with a client, make sure you understand their requirements and preferences.
Want to deep dive into the finer details of an archviz project? BIM (Building Information Modeling) can provide a 3D digital representation of the building, with detailed information about its design, materials, and construction.
2. Choose your software: There are many software options available for creating architectural renderings, such as SketchUp, Rhino, 3ds Max, Revit, and more. Choose the software that you're most comfortable using and that will help you achieve the desired outcome. It’s also important to make sure the software of your choice is compatible with every tool you intend to use during the process, such as your renderer, in the most seamless way possible so you can work back and forth without interruptions.
3. Create the model: Using the CAD software of your choice, create a 3D model of the building. You can do this by importing the plans and elevations and building the model from scratch or with pre-built 3D models. Make sure the model is accurate and includes all necessary details.
Remember: the more detailed the model, the more realistic the image. Photorealistic 3D architectural rendering is the best way to communicate your vision to your customer, as well as colleagues working on the project
4. Add textures and materials: Once the model is complete, add textures and materials to make the model look more realistic. This includes applying materials to walls, floors, and ceilings, as well as adding furniture and other details. It’s always important to remember that materials are key to making your rendering more believable, so realism and variety can determine the difference between a good rendering and an awesome one. Using real-world photorealistic materials is a must!
5. Set up lighting: Lighting is an important aspect of architectural renderings. Set up the lighting to create the desired mood and highlight important features of the building. This can be done using artificial lights or by using natural lighting with the help of the software. A photorealistic rendering is a terrific way to communicate the design and evoke emotions, so make sure you take your time refining your lighting.
6. Art direction: A great model, materials, and lighting can benefit from a careful art direction. Think of your CG camera as a real one: choosing the right angle, and the correct lighting, can turn an OK rendering into an incredible, beautiful one. Check out our 5 artistic principles of photorealistic rendering blog article by Nikos Nikopoulos for inspiration.
7. Render: Once the model, textures, materials, and lighting are in place, render the image. This can take anything from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the complexity of the scene and the settings used. The important thing here is to choose the right rendering software for your needs so you can be sure you’ll always get the results you want both in quality and speed.