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How to Organize a 3D Rendering Project

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Organizing your 3D rendering projects is crucial to proceed in a non-destructive manner. Proceeding non-destructively will make it easier for you to modify only the demanded parts of your 3D rendering project without affecting the rest of the work. Also, working non-destructively allows the reusability of 3D models, i.e., you can use recently-rendered 3D models in your future projects. This will make your work cost-effective as well as time-efficient at the same time.

However, none of these would be possible if you relentlessly fail to organize your projects. The guidelines mentioned in this article will help you organize your 3D rendering projects and create a more efficient workflow.

Visualise the Final Render of the project

Furniture model to render CGI
Furniture model to render

A veteran 3D artist beforehand visualises the final render in his head, and that’s exactly what you should do. Following this approach will give you a clear idea of what your final 3D render should look like. This will save your precious time on things that will be ultimately overshadowed in the final render, talk about a highly organised approach! Moreover, considering the format, resolution, camera angles at the starting phase of the render will help you adapt to different time and cost-saving strategies in the middle of the ongoing project.

For instance, let’s suppose you have to render a scene of a park. Visualising the final render in your head or writing down the final requirements of the render will help you save time while working on 3D elements like chairs, birds, etc. Close-up shots of these elements would require a great deal of effort and time to render. But you don’t have to spend so much energy on such elements, knowing that they would not be getting a lot of attention in the final 3D render. You can simply avoid creating high-poly details such as stitching, welting, or edge-chamfering for such elements.

Learn the Basics: Know Your Tools

Workflow Process

This may sound pretty obvious and lame, but knowing your tools before jumping into a 3D rendering project is necessary to ensure a smooth workflow. It is, in fact, possible that you might not know some of the tools that’d be used in your project. So, it’s better to get a hang of these tools before you begin working on the project than to learn in between the process.

Follow a Strategic Approach

After visualising your final render, you need a plan to execute. Working without a plan or strategy can cost you more than just money. It’s like cooking something new without properly knowing the ingredients, recipe, or directions. That said, will a plan minimize the mistakes and errors drastically, while giving you more room to make changes in the project if you ever feel like it.

Before jumping into the actual project, go for methods like creating rough sketches, drawings, storyboards, etc. This will help you get a concrete idea of what your final render will look like. All while effectively preventing errors and ensuring a streamlined approach. Also, finding reference images and using them for inspiration can help the creative juices flowing, thereby reducing the burden on your brain. It’s safe to say that proceeding with the right strategy is essential for a proficient and organized workflow.

Utilize Multiple Layers

You might have been familiar with layers if you’ve used Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator in the past. Even though layers work quite differently in 3D modelling, they serve the same purpose—creating an efficient workflow. Layers can be a godsend when it comes to working non-destructively with proper focus on each part of the project.

When you work on a 3D rendering project, you may observe your viewport getting cluttered. This happens when you work on complex 3D models having thousands of components. In that case, layers allow you to view/hide a single part of the project, providing you with visual clarity. Layers let you focus only on the 3D model you’re currently working on, effectively reducing all the distracting clutter.

Cutting Corners without Reducing the Overall Quality

You can reduce the quality of separate 3D models without affecting the quality of the final images. Sounds confusing? Well, it’s not. There are always hidden possibilities of cutting corners in your project. For that, however, you would need to think a bit practically. In other words, you should remove the unnecessary high-poly details of your project. This will help you save costs and put a lot less strain on your system. Also, the rendering time will be reduced to a great extent. Meanwhile, the final images remain unaffected.

However, the time spent while creating these details would go to waste and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s better not to give much attention to unnecessary details in the first place.

Utilize a Multi-document Workflow for the project

The multiple-document interface (MDI) allows multiple child windows to reside in a single parent window. This multi-document workflow comes in handy when importing files from the web and other documents. Most of the programs allow you to create an MDI interface for an efficient workflow. The interface allows easy drag-and-drop shuffling of 3D models from one document to another. Importing pre-built assets will ease your work and save your time to a great extent. A multi-document makes it all easier and time-efficient.

Make Use of Shortcuts

Shortcuts and hotkeys can be your best friend while working on a complex 3D rendering project. Most likely, the software you’re using will have multiple inbuilt shortcuts to ease your work and make your 3D modelling experience smooth. While planning the project, figure out which tools will be used most often and customize your workspace accordingly. Moreover, some 3D modelling software also allows you to customize hotkeys.

If that’s the case, why not utilize it? Create and customize your hotkeys if you don’t feel like working with the pre-configured ones. Also, make sure to fully utilize the power of the internet to download premade textures, materials, objects, scenes, etc. This will help keep your workspace organized for every 3D rendering project.

Clump Similar Tasks Together of your project

As different parts of a 3D rendering project involve different mindsets, grouping similar tasks can help prevent a lot of a mental mess. For example, an artist doesn’t work with the same mindset while creating 3D models and working with UV mapping. The difference even widens when it comes to the final retouching. That said, grouping all these different tasks can help maintain an efficient workflow. For example, you can perform all the modelling tasks at once, proceed with the UV mapping solutions for all models, and proceed towards the final touch-ups for all the images.

Follow the Reverse Order: From Largest Geometry to the Smallest

Working from the largest geometry to the smallest is one effective approach that almost guarantees minimal errors. Start your work on the basic component and follow it to the finest details.

For example- when modelling a car in 3D, start with its body and chassis (largest geometry), working way down to the tires, rims, headlights and taillights, door handles, etc. (Smallest geometry). This efficient approach will help keep your project organised while maintaining your workspace effectively.


Working in a non-destructive and organised manner is the key to a cost-effective and time-efficient workflow in 3D rendering. An organized project is easy to modify, and you can use scenes and objects from that project in your future 3D renders. The above tips and guidelines can help you organize your next 3D rendering project. Also, following these tips and guidelines will save your time and money on future 3D rendering projects.

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