WHAT IS 3D RENDERING?
DEFINITION OF 3D RENDERING
3D rendering, photorealistic CGI is a creative process where 3D artists use computer graphics to convert 3d models into stunning images. It may include photo-realistic or non-photorealistic images. It is the final process of creating the actual 2D image or animation. That may be used for a range of different things from conceptualisation to marketing.
In comparison, you can get the same results as taking a picture or video in real life. The difference is that the output will be created digitally. It is a powerful tool that has more flexibility than professional photography or videography.
THE HISTORY OF 3D
The history of 3D rendering is a fascinating journey that has seen significant advancements over the years. It’s a subject close to our hearts at XO3D, being a leading 3D animation and rendering company. Here’s a brief overview of the history of 3D rendering:
Early Beginnings (1960s – 1970s): The roots of 3D rendering can be traced back to the 1960s when computer graphics were in their infancy. Researchers and engineers began experimenting with simple 3D graphics on mainframe computers. Primitive wireframe models were created during this era.
Introduction of Ray Tracing (1980s): The 1980s saw a significant development with the introduction of ray tracing techniques. This allowed for more realistic lighting and shading effects in 3D graphics. However, it was computationally expensive and often used for scientific and research purposes.
Emergence of 3D Graphics Cards (1990s): The 1990s marked a turning point with the emergence of dedicated 3D graphics cards. Companies like NVIDIA and ATI (now part of AMD) began producing graphics hardware that accelerated 3D rendering, making it accessible to consumers and gaming enthusiasts.
The Rise of 3D Animation (Late 1990s – Early 2000s): The late 1990s and early 2000s witnessed a boom in 3D animation in movies and video games. Pixar’s “Toy Story” in 1995 was a groundbreaking example of computer-generated 3D animation.
GPU Advancements (2000s – Present): Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) continued to advance, enabling real-time 3D rendering in video games and interactive applications. This era also saw the growth of industries like architectural visualization, product design, and virtual reality, all heavily reliant on 3D rendering.
Global Impact (Present): Today, 3D rendering plays a pivotal role in various industries, from entertainment and advertising to architecture and healthcare. It’s an essential tool for visualizing and communicating complex ideas and designs.
Ray Tracing Renaissance (Present): Ray tracing, once a computationally intensive technique, has made a comeback with the advent of hardware-accelerated ray tracing in GPUs. This has resulted in even more realistic and visually stunning 3D graphics.
At XO3D, we’re excited to be part of this ever-evolving field, leveraging the latest technologies and techniques to create stunning 3D imagery for businesses. The history of 3D rendering reflects the continuous drive for realism and innovation in the world of computer graphics.
HOW CAN 3D RENDERING
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING 3D RENDERING SERVICES?
3D rendering brings life to flat drawings and 3D models. For example interior or exterior plans of buildings, looking at what a product may look like when it has been built or manufactured. You can maximise the design process of the space or project allowing your ideas to thrive through amazing visualisations.
Design costs can be cut. The design process usually involves multiple changes due to uncertainty of how something may look. With 3D rendering and 3D modelling the product or space can be visualised quickly and easily experimented on.
3D rendering accelerates the approval process. Design choices become much more clear. Leaving no room for miscommunication. Reducing the overall design time.
3D modeling and 3d rendering is an effective marketing tool for new and upcoming projects. Images are powerful in communicating and visualising future plans to investors. As a result, top home builders and designers use 3D rendering to sell homes and products. Before they are built or produced. Giving clients opportunity to change designs, colors, textures and size.
If you are a architect, real estate agent, product designer or marketer. Marketing your new idea is much easier with 3d rendering. It helps to create enthusiasm around the future of the development and design process.
3D RENDERINGS USED?
WHO USES 3D RENDERING IN THEIR WORK?
Use 3D Renders for presentations. Create these well before the final product is manufactured. Post these images on social media to start marketing and take pre-orders.
Create 3d models and use high quality images to present your ideas well before they are built. Show various different concepts for one project and get it approved in less time.
Help key decisions makers understand the ideas much easier and quicker through photo realistic images of 3d models.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN WORKING WITH A 3D RENDERING COMPANY
3D RENDERING WORKFLOW
First of all, every 3D rendering has to start off as a 3D model, these are represented by a series of geometrical shapes connected into a three dimensional space. There are different modelling software’s for the desired outcomes, but most software’s use polygonal modelling such as Rhinceros 3D, 3DS Max and Google SketchUp.STEP 01
Secondly, to give the model any real form, lighting must be introduced. The most basic form of a lighting setup is three point lighting where the method of a lighting uses three distinct light source positions to illuminate the subject or scene. The setup of the lights helps create different moods for the final image, and are usually played and tweaked throughout the process.STEP 02
At this stage, all the materials of the 3D scene or subject are created. They are created by using multiple different images in layers that create different types of bumps, reflections, roughness and more. The materials have to be tailored to meet the desired results, while working with the lighting created in the previous step to bring out the perfect reflections and shadows to give depth to the image. At the end of this stage the render engine is set off, and the computer creates a raw image.STEP 03
In addition to the modelling and rendering software’s there are also post production software, such as Photoshop. This is where the images that have been outputted from the render engine are all brought together, layered and tweaked to create the final photo realistic outcome.STEP 04
WHAT TYPES OF FILES ARE NEEDED?
To kickstart a 3D rendering project, you’ll need specific types of files that provide the necessary information for our team at XO3D to work on your project effectively. Here are the key file types that may be required:
3D Model Files: These are the core of any 3D rendering project. Although model files can be built by the 3D rendering firm having your CAD model ready is a great help to begin the project. Common 3D model file formats include:
- .OBJ: A versatile and widely used format.
- .FBX: Used for 3D models and animations, especially in the gaming industry.
- .STL: Often used for 3D printing projects.
- .3DS: Commonly used in older 3D modeling software.
- .BLEND: Specifically for Blender software.
Texture Maps: These files provide details like colour, texture, and surface characteristics for your 3D model. These files do not need to be supplied by the client and are sourced by the 3D rendering company. These are used to make photorealistic renderings. Common texture map file types include:
- .JPG: For standard images.
- .PNG: Supports transparency and is commonly used for textures.
- .TGA: Offers high-quality image data.
Reference Images: Providing reference images or concept art that showcases the desired look and feel of the final render can be immensely helpful.
Scene Files: If your project involves complex scenes with multiple objects, lights, and camera setups, scene files specific to your 3D software (e.g., .BLEND, .MAX, .MA) can be essential.
CAD Files (if applicable): For architectural or product rendering, Computer-Aided Design (CAD) files in formats like .DWG or .STEP may be required as a basis for creating 3D models.
Animation Files (if applicable): If your project involves animations, you’ll need animation files in formats like .FBX, .DAE, or others, depending on your software and requirements.
Material Descriptions: Detailed information about the materials and their properties can be helpful. This might include specifications for textures, roughness, reflectivity, and more.
Although none of these are essential to begin a project, providing these files allows us at XO3D to understand your project’s scope and requirements, ensuring we can create the stunning 3D renders you envision. Additionally, clear communication about your project goals and any specific preferences will further enhance the quality of the final results.
HOW LONG DOES A 3D RENDERING PROJECT TAKE?
The duration of a 3D rendering project can vary significantly depending on several factors. At XO3D, we strive to provide efficient and high-quality rendering services. However, the timeline for a project can be influenced by the following key factors:
Complexity of the Project: More complex 3D models, scenes, or animations with intricate details and interactions typically require more time to create and render.
Resolution and Quality: Higher resolutions and rendering quality settings can increase rendering times. Projects that require ultra-high-definition or photorealistic output may take longer.
Project Scope: The number of scenes, objects, or animations in your project will affect the time required. A larger scope will generally result in a longer timeline.
Hardware and Software: The power of the computer hardware and software used for rendering plays a significant role. Faster CPUs, more advanced GPUs, and efficient rendering software can reduce rendering times.
Rendering Technique: The rendering technique chosen can impact the timeline. Real-time rendering, for instance, is faster than ray tracing, which is known for its realism but can be more time-consuming.
Team Experience: An experienced and skilled team, like ours at XO3D, can work more efficiently, potentially reducing project timelines.
Client Revisions: The number of revisions and feedback cycles can extend the project timeline. Clear and concise feedback can help streamline this process.
Deadlines: Urgent projects with tight deadlines may require additional resources to meet the timeline.
As a general guideline, a simple 3D rendering project with a single object or scene might take a few days to a week. More complex projects with multiple scenes, animations, or highly detailed models could take several weeks or even months.
To get an accurate estimate, it’s advisable to discuss your specific project details, requirements, and deadlines with your chosen 3D rendering service provider. This way, they can provide a tailored timeline based on your project’s unique characteristics.
The team at XO3D were a pleasure to work with on one of our big product launches. They rendered, batched, and saved out literally thousands of images for us. Every single one of these images came out perfect! They also did some 3D animation with us and were very accommodating to any feedback + timeline adjustments. My team will certainly work with XO3D again!
£50 to £200
£200 to £400
£400 to 1500
£1500 to £10 000
HOW MUCH DO 3D RENDERINGS COST?
The price of a 3D rendering depends largely on what is involved in the image. For example, there could be a small product or in contrast a large building. In our opinion there is no set price for an image, that’s why all our quotes are tailored by each project. Creating renders used to be an expensive and time-consuming process which was only viable for large development companies. Because of technological advancements in recent years home renders have become accessible for the average consumer. We have split them up into 4 Tiers below and have written an in-depth guide to how much you should be paying for your 3D renderings here.
The prices below are generalised, and it really does depend on the project. But these are guidelines for clients new to the 3D rendering field.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT SECTORS OF 3D RENDERING?
SOME OF THE TOP 3D MODELLING SOFTWARES
When it comes to 3D modelling software, there are many options available. As XO3D, we’re well-versed in using various 3D modelling tools to create stunning 3D assets. Here are some popular 3D modelling software choices from the industry:
Autodesk Maya: Maya is a versatile and widely used 3D modelling and animation software, especially in the film and gaming industries. It offers powerful modelling, sculpting, and animation tools.
Autodesk 3ds Max: 3ds Max is another Autodesk product popular for 3D modelling, particularly in architectural visualization and product design. It’s known for its robust modelling and rendering capabilities.
Blender: Blender is a free and open-source 3D modelling software with a vibrant community. It’s a great choice for both beginners and professionals, offering modelling, sculpting, animation, and rendering features.
Cinema 4D: Cinema 4D is known for its user-friendly interface and is often used in motion graphics, visual effects, and product design. It has strong 3D modelling and animation tools.
ZBrush: ZBrush is primarily a digital sculpting software used for creating highly detailed 3D models. It’s favoured by artists working on characters and creatures for games and movies.
SketchUp: SketchUp is popular for architectural and interior design. It’s user-friendly and excels in creating 3D models of buildings and interior spaces.
Rhino: Rhino, or Rhinoceros, is a 3D modelling software widely used in industrial design, jewellery design, and architecture. It focuses on creating precise and complex 3D models.
Houdini: Houdini is known for its procedural and node-based approach to 3D modelling and animation. It’s commonly used in visual effects and simulations.
SolidWorks: SolidWorks is a parametric 3D modelling software primarily used in mechanical and product design. It’s known for its precision and engineering-focused tools.
Tinkercad: Tinkercad is a beginner-friendly, web-based 3D modelling tool suitable for educational purposes and simple 3D design projects.
The choice of software depends on your specific needs, whether you’re creating 3D models for animation, gaming, architectural visualization, or product design. Each software has its strengths and capabilities, so it’s essential to select the one that aligns with your project requirements and your team’s expertise. At XO3D, we have experience with various software and can choose the best one for your project.
TOP 3D RENDERING SOFTWARES
Selecting the best 3D rendering software depends on your specific needs and the nature of your project. As XO3D, we understand the importance of choosing the right software for the job. Here are some of the top 3D rendering software options, each excelling in different aspects:
Autodesk 3ds Max: 3ds Max is widely used in industries like architectural visualization and product design. It offers robust modelling and rendering capabilities, making it a go-to choice for many professionals.
Autodesk Maya: Maya is a versatile software known for its excellence in character animation, rigging, and visual effects. It’s often used in the film and gaming industries.
Blender: Blender is a free and open-source 3D rendering software with a strong community. It’s versatile, user-friendly, and capable of producing high-quality renders. It’s suitable for a wide range of projects.
Cinema 4D: Cinema 4D is favoured for motion graphics and 3D animation. It has an intuitive interface and is known for its ease of use in creating complex 3D animations.
V-Ray: V-Ray is a powerful rendering engine that can be integrated into various 3D modelling software, including 3ds Max, Maya, and SketchUp. It’s known for its photorealistic rendering capabilities.
Arnold: Arnold is another popular rendering engine used in Maya and other software. It’s known for its realistic lighting and shading effects.
Redshift: Redshift is a GPU-accelerated rendering engine known for its speed and efficiency. It’s often used for high-quality, fast rendering in production environments.
KeyShot: KeyShot is a user-friendly rendering software known for its real-time rendering capabilities. It’s commonly used for product design and visualization.
Octane Render: Octane Render is a GPU-based renderer known for its speed and ease of use. It’s often used for creating high-quality renders quickly.
Maxwell Render: Maxwell Render is known for its focus on realism and accurate lighting simulations. It’s suitable for architectural visualization and product design.
The “best” 3D rendering software depends on your project goals, your familiarity with the software, and your budget. Each of these options has its strengths and is preferred by professionals in various industries. When choosing a 3D rendering software, it’s essential to consider the specific requirements of your project and your team’s expertise.
CAREERS IN 3D RENDERING
As a leading 3D animation and rendering company like XO3D, it’s essential to be aware of the diverse careers available in the field of 3D rendering. Here are some key careers in 3D rendering:
3D Artist/Modeler: 3D artists or modelers create 3D models of objects, characters, environments, and more. They are responsible for the visual aspects of a project and need strong modeling and texturing skills.
3D Animator: 3D animators breathe life into 3D models by creating realistic movements and animations. They work on characters, creatures, and objects in video games, movies, and other media.
3D Lighting Artist: Lighting artists specialize in setting up and adjusting the lighting in 3D scenes. They create mood, atmosphere, and realism through the placement and control of lights.
3D Texture Artist: Texture artists focus on applying textures to 3D models to make them look realistic. They work on materials like wood, metal, fabric, and more.
3D Character Artist: Character artists specifically create 3D characters, focusing on their appearance, anatomy, and overall design. They are often employed in the gaming and entertainment industries.
Architectural Visualization Artist: These artists create 3D renders and animations of architectural designs, allowing clients and stakeholders to visualize buildings and interiors before construction.
Product Visualization Artist: Similar to architectural visualization, product visualization artists create 3D visuals of consumer products, industrial machinery, and more for marketing and design purposes.
Visual Effects (VFX) Artist: VFX artists use 3D rendering to create special effects for movies and television. This includes explosions, creatures, and other elements that are added to live-action footage.
Technical Artist: Technical artists bridge the gap between art and programming. They optimize assets for real-time rendering and ensure they work within a game engine or software.
3D Generalist: Generalists are versatile professionals who can handle various aspects of 3D production, including modeling, texturing, animation, and rendering.
3D Rendering Software Developer: Software developers in this field create and maintain the software and plugins used for 3D rendering. They need strong programming skills and an understanding of computer graphics.
3D Rendering Supervisor: In larger studios or on complex projects, rendering supervisors oversee the entire rendering pipeline, ensuring the quality and efficiency of the rendering process.
Storyboard Artist: While not directly involved in 3D rendering, storyboard artists create visual plans for scenes and shots, guiding the overall direction of 3D projects.
Art Director: Art directors provide creative direction and ensure the visual consistency and quality of 3D rendering projects. They play a vital role in the overall artistic vision.
Freelance 3D Artist: Many 3D rendering professionals choose to work independently as freelancers, taking on various projects from different clients or studios.
These careers offer a wide range of opportunities in various industries, including animation, gaming, architecture, advertising, film, and more. The choice of career depends on your skills, interests, and the specific aspects of 3D rendering that excite you the most.
WHY CHOOSE XO3D FOR YOUR
3D RENDER SERVICE?
SPECIALISTS IN CREATIVITY
At XO3D, the best creative minds tailor your project to bring your products to light in amazing fashion.
XO3D drives by technology and continually seeks solutions to improve our workflow. From the latest software and hardware, to different strategies to complete projects faster with constant improvements on quality.
We pride ourselves in communication and customer service. Throughout your project there will be constant updates of how we are getting on with your images. We are always at the end of a email or phone call.
THE BEST EXPERIENCES
With a diverse team of artists, designers and 3D modellers. We have the perfect experience for any creative project to bring your ideas to life.
Ensuring the smoothest process. We deliver quality work on time.
Through our experience in workflow optimisation, we can give you the discounts and give you more bang for you bucks.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
3D rendering is a creative process that uses computer graphics to convert 3D models into engaging images. It may include photo realistic or non photo realistic images. It is the final process of creating the actual 2D image or animation. Read further on 3D rendering here.
Usually images can be turned around in less than a week. Images can be done in 24 hours, depending on the project size it could take longer.
A photorealistic rendering is a 3D rendering that is life like. It is a style of 3D rendering that allows clients to have a image that looks as good or better than a camera could take. Photorealistic images are created from 3D models.
Here are 30 important 3D rendering terms to be aware of:
3D Rendering: The process of converting 3D models into 2D images or animations.
Ray Tracing: A rendering technique that simulates the path of light rays for realistic lighting and reflections.
Polygon: A flat, two-dimensional shape used to create 3D objects.
Texture Mapping: Applying 2D images to 3D models to mimic materials and surfaces.
Shader: A program defining how 3D object surfaces interact with light.
Ambient Occlusion: A technique simulating soft shadows and shading in crevices.
Anti-Aliasing: Reducing jagged edges in images for smoother rendering.
Ray Depth: The number of light bounces in a scene.
Depth of Field (DOF): Blurring distant or close objects to focus on a subject.
Render Farm: A cluster of computers for distributed rendering.
Frames Per Second (FPS): The number of animation frames displayed per second.
Global Illumination: Simulating indirect lighting effects.
Texture Resolution: The size and quality of texture maps.
Rendering Engine: Software or algorithm for rendering.
Rigging: Adding a skeleton to a 3D model for animation.
UV Mapping: Unwrapping a 3D model for applying textures.
Normal Map: A texture used to fake high-resolution surface details.
Specular Map: Controls the shininess of a surface.
Bump Map: Simulates surface imperfections.
Volumetric Lighting: Rendering realistic light beams and fog.
HDR (High Dynamic Range): Capturing and rendering a wide range of light intensities.
Alpha Channel: A transparency channel in images.
Keyframe: A frame defining an animation’s significant pose or change.
Motion Blur: Blurring objects in motion for realism.
Texture Filtering: Smoothing textures for better rendering quality.
Octree: A data structure for managing 3D scenes.
Caustics: Light patterns created by reflections and refractions.
Tessellation: Increasing polygon density for smoother surfaces.
Subdivision Surface: A technique for smoothing and refining 3D models.
Depth Map: A 2D image representing scene depth for post-processing effects.
These terms are fundamental in the world of 3D rendering and are essential for understanding and discussing the various aspects of creating 3D visuals and animations.