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Different 3D Rendering Styles and Rendering Techniques

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Images are a powerful tool that inspires and influences viewers and can change the game for an architect or an interior designer. The design industry is blooming with enormous success, with ever-evolving trends and innovative technology taking the world by storm. Just as classrooms have turned virtual during this pandemic, the rendering techniques and architecture methods have also gone digital. 

 In this article, you will find various techniques of representation that are dominating the architectural world at present. For example, collages, sketches, illustrations, 3D models, and many more are utilised in the architectural field, changing the face of designing. Here, you will find details about various rendering styles in 3D form and the prevailing techniques in the designing world.

What is a Render?

Rendering has become a crucial tool that helps illustrate the project’s features and atmosphere. Rendering represents a two-dimensional or three-dimensional facet of a project or design through images that give the client a fantastic view of the project. It helps in understanding the final outlook of the model that has yet to be built. 

Also known as image synthesis, rendering often generates photorealistic and non-photorealistic images of architecture with the help of computer graphics. The resulting image is known as a render. Rendering is a popular and effective visual communication tool, with various styles that depend on the type of project and the audience’s expectations. The technique may vary depending on the architectural firm designing the model.

What is 3D rendering?

3D rendering is a way of using three-dimensional data to make a photorealistic or non-photorealistic image. It is like taking a photo from the camera and adding in 3D effects. 3D rendering is a very effective and demanding tool in the architectural world, but it can also be stressful. One of the most important factors is time to make it a success. It would help if you had an appropriate time in hand. Some software is available to make your rendering job more manageable. But still, you need time to do a job with precision. However, you will read about a few techniques of rendering that will save you time and effort in the process and give you the best result possible. 

You can use the techniques sometimes before production and sometimes after the project’s output. Additionally, there has to be a proper balance in the crucial stages of architectural rendering to get the optimum results with realistic effects. For example, you would not want to present a low-quality project before your clients, as this would adversely affect your business and reputation. Reorganising the whole 3D rendering process to fit your fixed schedule and yield high-level results suitably is the most innovative way to go about it.    

Residential House Rendering

What are the different styles of rendering? 

You can make architectural renderings using various visual representations. Some of them are:

  • Sketches – here, a rough drawing is done on paper that gives a brief idea of the design. It can be printed on a computer or drawn by hand. Sketches help a great deal when you are going to lay the foundation of the project and during the project’s execution. These rough drawings clarify any doubts that arise at any point of construction. For example, according to the traditional method, people used paper, pencil, and pen for freehand sketching. With technological evolution, the feature is available in software and apps today, and you can quickly draw sketches even on your tablet or Smartphone. Therefore, there is no restriction to creating a sketch on a desktop only. Instead, you can travel around the world and shape your creativity anywhere. This facility has helped designers who work from home or travel finish their work and submit it on time.
  • Collage is one of the commonly used rendering styles in the architectural field. It is a form of art creation where you can take different elements and put them together, giving them a new shape. To make it more realistic, you can include many objects like human figures, textures, and other things in the frame. Collage is an analogue technique but is modified in digital software nowadays. You can include objects in the image via editing programs like Photoshop, where scenes get picked from 3D models. This technique has changed the face of architectural rendering, making it highly impressive. You can edit the images according to your needs with several editing features and an immersive visual experience.
  • Illustration– in simple words, an illustration is a form of visual art made to get more attention towards the object in the picture rather than the overall art. It interprets or explains art through the visual experience of a concept or event. Illustrations are integrated digitally or in print media like magazines, books, animations, or flyers. You can use these illustrations as a rendering style that imposes no intentional realistic impression on the viewer. This rendering form stands out as it leaves the viewer’s imagination to look for endless explanations of the image. The interpretation keeps changing with different ways of thinking. For example, you can use software like Illustrator or mobile user apps like Illustrator Draw for this rendering form.
  • Hyper-realistic – let us look at the one rendering style that is amazingly becoming popular and useful for many architectural designs. Constant evolution in the rendering process has made things better and more accessible. For example, the world has reached the hyper-realistic stage, starting from a simple sketch. Here, you can edit to the extent that the client will get a chance to look at a realistic image of the executed project. This feature brings realism to a still image. For example, certain elements play here, like lighting, a reflection of objects around, texture, emotions of figures, etc. Extra detailing of these elements and minute contrast in colours and shades add a realistic look to the finished project. Some software that will help you with hyperrealism is Twin Motion, Corona, Lumion, V-Ray, etc.
  • 3D models – 3D modelling is another next-level rendering style. Here, you can coordinate any exterior part of an object in three dimensions with the help of computer software. Using the 3D rendering process, you present a 3-D model in two sizes. Earlier computer games used to have 3D images. You can play with the edges, vertices, and polygons. For example, when you create a chair as a 3D image, you first draw or capture the geometry image of the chair in 3D. Then, the material required is plastic or steel. Then, you can add the lighting, colour, shades, etc., into detailing features, adding dimensions to the object. Finally, the final image that you will get will resemble the real thing. The software used is the same as in the hyper-realistic rendering style. The only extra work you have to do is change the settings for textures here according to your needs. For example, you can create a 3D model either manually or automatically.
  • Mixed rendering style—The Mixed rendering style can be super creative, and your imagination can touch the sky. Combine more than one rendering style and create a fantastic form of art that will bowl over your client. You can use more than two different styles here, with a commendable result. You will find many ways to mix them; for example, you can edit the architectural and exterior elements in different settings.   
Commercial building 3D rendering

What are the different rendering techniques?

  1. Scanline rendering technique—This technique will be of utmost help when you are running short of time. It offers real-time rendering based on a polygon-by-polygon basis in a 3D model. When utilised with precomputed lighting, it provides a speed of 60 frames per second. It avoids rendering through the pixel-by-pixel process, which takes more time.
  2. Ray casting rendering technique– if your project does not require to present minute details of the model, you can go for the ray casting rendering technique. Instead, it brings in the 3D effect in an image using the geometry of the object pixel-by-pixel and line-by-line. This technique is used because it has a natural and convincing impact on the 3D model. The results are worth putting effort into in the final stages of the simulation.
  3. Ray tracing rendering technique is the easiest way to render a 3D model. It adds a natural flow of vibrant shades of light via reflection or refraction of the surrounding materials in the scene. You can differentiate between colours, and the algorithm of each shade pours in the best realistic effect. This technique works very smoothly with minor details in the 3D model and is apt if you have a project that involves the tiniest projection of more information. However, the biggest drawback here is that it involves a longer processing time than the scan line technique. So you have to take an ample amount of time to go with its flow patiently.
  4. The Interactive rendering technique– is also called the real-time rendering technique; this form shows incredible gaming and interactive graphics. For example, a video game is a commonly known product of interactive rendering, which involves images from 3D information at a very high speed.
  5. Offline pre-rendering technique– The processing time is slow here, but it is used to achieve the highest standards of photorealism. However, the non-real-time rendering technique does not pose unnecessary delays like real-time rendering.
  6. Perspective projection technique– is the software project where the distant object appears more minor than those closer to the eye of the viewer. This technique creates perspective projection.
  7. Multi-pass rendering is a post-production rendering process in which an image is divided into many layers. Modulating each layer is essential to better representing the image. For example, it would help adjust the lighting effects and colour to intensify the details. Computer-made movies that use special effects use this technique.
  8. Transport rendering technique– the visibility factor plays a prominent role. It displays the transportation of light in a scene moving from one place to another.
  9. Texture mapping rendering technique– here, the focus is on the rendering image’s surface texture, details, and colour.
  10. Resolution optimisation technique– 3D rendering photo resolution always depends on the density and number of pixels used in creating the image. It measures in pixels per inch. The denser and higher the pixels per inch, the more precise and sharper the final image, and vice versa. You can change the setting of the resolution based on how realistic the final image needs to be.    

These are just a few techniques designers use for rendering. As you can notice, the purpose of rendering is associated with each method. Whatever your need, you can choose the suitable technique to achieve a premium-quality result. The two techniques, ray-tracing rendering and ray-casting rendering, are used together to get the optimum result.

For example, you can obtain high-quality photorealism with a balanced combination of both methods. You must understand how to use them to provide better results without unnecessary time dragging to complete rendering. Moreover, you can always merge more techniques and get the job done as needed. 

How is the 3D architectural rendering process done

How is the 3D rendering process done?

3D rendering is a multi-step rendering of an image or product to a two-dimensional presentation. As you have already seen, there are various techniques and styles of rendering. The process can take an hour or days to finish, depending on the type and method you want. 

Before starting the process, you must consider three crucial steps that serve as the foundational steps for further processing. 

  • Initially, sit back and discuss the project with your client or creative team leader. Factors like the final look of the project, environment, intention, etc., all play a significant role in determining the project’s execution.
  • Once you are clear about the final vision of the project, the analysis starts with the lighting, texture, rendering process, shades, colour, etc. Here comes the time for 3D models. 
  • With the help of software, the designer or artist creates virtual points called vertices, which form an interconnection of points taking the shape of an object or figure. The issues connecting are geometric shapes like polygons. 
  • Once the designer has accomplished the 3D modelling process, they bring the objects to life. You can better understand the concept of 3D if you compare the 3D elements to actual ones. 
  • Then, when you take a picture, and the lens comes to life to capture the moment, the computer here does all the mathematical calculations of the quality of the light and angle of the lens. The more objects you choose to capture, the more time it will take to form the image.

The critical factor here is bringing the image to realism. The perfect representation of the image is essential. An artist can change the material settings, and the appearance varies according to his desires. For example, the surface can turn glossy or matte to give the product a realistic visual effect. 

Lighting plays a vital role here in bringing in real-like effects. A person who knows everything about the science of illumination can effectively do this editing job. Shadows help blow life in an image, and shades come from lighting. If the lights used are inappropriate, real effects cannot surface in the picture. Improper light can add a very unnatural product to the image. However, the audience often does not realise that the unrealistic results of an image are due to a lack of proper lighting effects.

The designer will go into more detail if required after lighting. The final product has to be approved by the client. If demand for changes comes up, you can easily take the help of the techniques to incorporate in the product. Finally, now you can show the edited product to your client before saving it for further use. 


Interior designers and architects used 3D rendering initially in the 1980s. It has gained worldwide popularity and is everywhere now, from advertising and architecture to the scientific field. Using it around is to attract, impress and win over the viewers. The technique helps to educate, sell, entertain or engage. The reason for integrating 2D with 3D or a fully 3D product is to go into a world of a beautiful interior and exterior aspect of it for inspiration.

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