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Key Differences Between 2D and 3D Architectural Renderings

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Finding the similarity and difference between 2D and 3D Architectural Renderings lies in their purpose. With the technological advancements in the market, the field of architectural rendering is developing at a colossal rate. Speaking of 2D and 3D models, both produce breathtaking visuals and documentation in the end. Furthermore, both allow clients to get a grasp of their project. 

However, the problem arises when both these models produce different results in the end. These are times when architects must be aware of choosing which model for their projects. Although the choice entirely depends on you and your project requirements, here’s a comprehensive guide that will help you get out of the dilemma of choosing the best architectural rendering for your business.  

Most often, you must have heard experts recommending architects to switch from 2D renderings to 3D renderings. However, this gives rise to a vital question: How? 

Well, it all begins with a comprehensive differentiation. Compiling all the chief differences among both the models, today you will get to know the key points on why to choose a particular model for your business. 3d rendering examples


How Are 2D Models Different From 3D Models? 

2D vs 3D – what is the difference? Generally, we can look into a 2D rendering from one angle only, and one downside is that architects cannot rotate their representation. However, when it comes to 3D renderings, architects can look into a particular focal point from each and every angle. 

If we speak briefly about the key differences, it differs in 3 fields: perspective, change, and creation. Usually, making amendments to both the renderings differs from one another. While changing a 2D design seems pretty easy, 3D rendering design changes call for complicated features and elements that are difficult to alter. 

Moving forward, the creation procedure of the two models differs on a certain note. While 2D renderings call architects to hold an in-depth knowledge of geometry, 3D calls for pure mathematics. 

There are a variety of fields upon which 2D and 3D renderings can be differentiated. However, we will look into each of these factors later in the guide. Without much introduction, let’s delve into what makes 2D architectural renderings different from 3D architectural renderings. 

What Are 2D and 3D Architectural Renderings?

Over time, the best thing about rendering is that it has evolved significantly. While 2D is considered old-school, 3D Architectural Renderings are ruling the industry currently. Let’s find out the crucial features of 2D and 3D renderings. 

2D Rendering 

Simply put, a 2D architectural rendering displays a two-dimensional view of a 3D (three-dimensional) structure. Some of its features include:


  • 2D is based on perpendicular and symmetrical lines. Without symmetry, one cannot acquire 2D renderings. 
  • As the name suggests, 2D is true to its name. Each element is restricted to a two-dimensional plane shapes only. 
  • 2D techniques comprise elements of landscaping and colour. However, it can also be achieved with 3D modelling. 
  • These drawings are based on a direct straight-on shot. 
  • 2D does not contain any particular side or perspective in renders, it is because it involves the length and width dimensions only. (x and y-axis)
Residential House Rendering Row

3D Rendering 

Ideally, a 3D architectural rendering displays a 3D volumetric representation of an interior/ and exterior design. Usually, there are two kinds of 3D rendering processes. While the first type is just an upgrade of the 2D, the second type is a brilliant creation of new and fresh 3D drawings with perfect perspective and remarkable camera angles. Here’s a list of features that 3D renderings offer:


  • It offers a wider display for the subject. 
  • It focuses on the detailing more. Technically, it covers each pixel in an image. 
  • 3D renderings provide sharp and top-notch perspective at high-quality
  • The straight shot of the picture is modelled from PC without the need for a direct view or representation of the image. 
  • The final image that it displays is highly satisfying. It throws more light and shades that gives a natural look. 
  • While using the 3D technique, the outfit is analysed to be perfect and dramatic with a life-like resemblance. 


Generally speaking, 2D images make use of a flat surface perspective in terms of projection. On the other hand, 3D uses vanishing points that make it look phenomenally realistic. Typically, there are a number of firms today that still follow the 2D approach and produce a large volume of traditional drawings for presentations. However, looking at the growth rate of 3D renderings in terms of presentation and marketing, we doubt if 2D is here to stay for long. 

Architecure rendering
3d rendering examples

Key Differences Between 2D And 3D Architectural Renderings 

There are a number of key differences between the 2D and 3D models. While making a decision on which type of approach you should use for presentations, here are a couple of factors that can make a huge difference to your decision. Below are the chief differences between 2D and 3D Architectural Renderings. 

Speed And Time 

Speaking of 2D drawings, it takes less time than its counterpart, it is because 2D requires few processes few materials and involves few steps to create a design. The 2D approach takes less time to generate a design in simple terms. The 2D approach takes less time to generate a design in simple terms. On a rough note, individuals can expect anywhere from 3-5 days from the rendering service provider to create a 2D floor plan design. However, this estimate depends on the workflow.


While 3D rendering not only calls for more material development but takes considerable time to build, construct, and create designs in layers even while using computer software. 3D models take quite a time to get ready, and this is because the designs should be based on robust geometry. Initially, the creation involves several steps. The designer should build a wireframe of the design first, apply materials, textures, and colour to the frame, and complete the rest of the work in a couple of weeks as per the complexity of the project. 

Complexity level

As it is known, 2D images are generally less complicated as compared to 3D ones, because they are not realistic and hence, do not require precise detailing. 2D drawings simply display a piece of primary layout information similar to a scale and room dimensions. Simple features like the staircases, window placement, etc., are the most crucial elements in each view.


On the contrary, 3D Architectural Renderings involve a thorough and challenging task. It includes the smallest details of the project, and they display everything in accurate proportions. Note that these are not flat. Hence, you should know each of the elements and features of your design before opting for this rendering. 


2D images are clearly feasible and less expensive as compared to 3D ones, it is because estimating costs depends on a range of factors. Because of the simple designs and low production time, 2D images are less costly, and it does not feature much detailing and material usage. On a separate note, some professional rendering services charge flat-rate pricing for 2D drawings, while some charge on an hourly basis.


Clearly, 3D architectural renderings are typically costlier than 2D ones. This is because they involve more effort, time, and materials. Moreover, delivering the service within the promised timeframe calls for a higher charge. However, keeping aside the cost factor, 3D images enable you to present to clients how their project will look under realistic conditions during the day. Hence, this type of rendering is definitely worth the extra pennies. We mean, if 3D helps you seal the deal with your client, why not! 


When it comes to quality, we all know the winner here. 2D rendering is quite unrealistic. This is because it does not offer any natural lighting conditions. Hence, it can not be used as captivating documentation. All in all, this documentation represents more of an artistic impression instead of a perfect realistic representation. 


On the other hand, 3D architectural renderings exactly represent how your project should appear once built. It consists of all the original dimensions. Hence, they are ideal to use for documentation in terms of project presentation provided that they are prepared well. The intensity of realistic views in 3D renderings is purely based on the level of details offered by your service provider, and however, it varies from one service provider to another. 


Now, when it comes to quality, there are three main points of difference that showcase how 3D renderings are different from 2D renderings. Let’s have a look. 


Distinct perspectives among 2D and 3D renderings are probably one of the primary differences between the two renderings. The differentiation is generally based on the flexible perspective and gap in the project design aspect. As stated above, 3D renderings are all about brilliant camera angles with mathematics and geometry at their core. However, there are no such 2D renderings available in the market today that permit you to play with different perspectives in terms of camera angles. 


To begin with, 2D renderings have zero connection with maths, and it is all about symmetry and shapes. Determining accurate angles similar to 3D renderings is not 2D’s cup of tea or as easy as one might think. The worst part is you cannot make any amendments later, and they are viewable from one angle only. To be more precise, whether you make a digital rendering or a physical rendering, you cannot rotate, toss, or turn the 2D plane to glance into the design from different sides.


However, with 3D rendering, you can change perspectives. Be it a physical model or a computer program, you can alter the 3D image to look around from distinct vires with the same focal point. Bear in mind the camera angle does not involve the direction of your camera, and designs involve pouring emotions and portraying spaciousness with excellent 3D rendering. Hence, both interior, as well as your exterior designs should be examined precisely to get hold of the right angle. 


You will need to look at the architectural components besides the sky’s lighting for exterior designs. Moreover, the interior comprises several considerations like which area of the room should be put in the centre or how the room would look royal and spacious. 

Also Read: Starting a 3D Rendering Business

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The Creation Process 

Creating 3D and 2D renderings has its own different set of principles. In opposition to 2D renderings, it has a sort of head start. The process of 3D renderings involves robust image control that further enables you to allot changes without the need to draw in many complexities. 

 To create a 2D rendering, you would need a good grip over geometry, and this is because 2D models make use of shapes, symmetries, and lines. However, to create a 3D rendering, you will need proper mathematics.  

Although both these processes overpower each other considerably, both have certain similar features. The lighting feature and a few other aspects of 2D design are much simpler. This is because there is a certain type of 3D rendering that is built upon the 2D rendering tech. However, the other type is a proper and real 3D that differs from 2D in vast terms.  

Such differences involve higher perspectives of 3D rendering with efficient camera angles. Following are the results you will achieve after implementing 3D rendering in the creation process. 


  • The 3D rendering will have a wider and more comprehensive look to the viewer 
  • The details of 3D models generally cover every pixel involved in the image 
  • 3D renderings throw more emphasis on the small details 
  • Shadows and lightings in the 3D models appear to be more natural 
  • Top-notch depth and perspectives are possible with 3D renderings only 
  • The final result of 3D renderings are more realistic, dramatic, and practical


Hence, even in cases where 2D and 3D rendering models’ creation processes overlap, the final results will showcase considerable differences when you complete the project. 

Note: For 3D renderings, users need to select the top rendering tool available in the market to turn the rendering process simple and efficient. 


Now, each of the two renderings offers its own strengths, advantages, weaknesses, and benefits. Both need expert designers to offer a project that can cater to the client’s requirements. 

However, changing becomes significantly different and difficult in both of the renderings. There is a huge difference that lies in the ease of making these renderings. Speaking of 2D images, they can be modified just as fine with minimal hassle and headache. However, the process gets tough when it comes to its counterpart, 3D renderings. For 2D renders, designers can use less complicated tools to modify changes. 

It is generally easier to modify your designs while using 2D rendering. On the other hand, a 3D rendering is far more complex than one can imagine, and it consists of a variety of elements that need modifications. Changing one element in 2D rendering gets easier because a similar change in 3D rendering requires you to make other changes as well.  

Technically, 3D rendering is highly complex. The biggest problem is you cannot change a single element in a 3D render. This is because each of the elements in 3D rendering is interlinked with each other. And hence, changing one or the other will require you to change the entire lot. 3D rendering requires more mathematics, and hence, it requires a technically advanced program. 

On the contrary, 2D images are all about geometry. So it is safe to state that 2D rendering is quite simple. Eventually, you can easily alter one element of the rendering without affecting the rest. 

But, it would definitely be biassed to state that 3D renderings are better than 2D renderings here. Both serve different purposes and hence are equally significant. 

After image Kings Cross Visuals Camera-03 Glass


With time, rendering has brought a significant impact on our lives. Back in time, 3D model rendering was reasonably done by 2D artists only, and such artists were either technical drafters or creative designers. Gradually, 3D rendering is somehow becoming a cultural heritage in architecture. This is because it has been creating a good seat in several well-established businesses. 

Upon conclusion, here was an in-depth overview of the key differences between 2D and 3D Architectural renderings. Although both offer their own set of purposes and features, there are numerous similarities between them as well.

In a nutshell, the concept of 2D and 3D images serves as a great advantage for architectural rendering by generating certain architectural designs. To sum up, both are vital, and both hold the power of illustrating a defined and realistic representation of structures before moving ahead with construction. 

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