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3D Architectural Rendering

Learn about 3D rendering architecture and its applications.


3D rendering or architectural illustration uses computer-generated imagery (CGI) to create realistic visual representations of buildings, spaces, and structures. This technique is employed in architecture and design to communicate design concepts, showcase proposed projects, and visualize how a space or building will look once constructed. It is an essential tool for architects, designers, real estate developers, and marketing professionals to effectively convey their ideas and plans to clients, stakeholders, and the general public.

The best design communication for architecture. Architectural Rendering brings any development to life. For example, we can create complex high-end visuals to enhance your project proposal and produce images for competition or marketing purposes. Many developers use 3D Architectural Visualisation to promote development, usually before the build process begins, due to an inability to produce photography. Traditionally, we are provided with a model architect made using 3D modelling software. Moreover, to help with the design process, many people create preliminary images using the power of visuals to move the project forward. In cases where an Architect’s model is unavailable, one can be made from sketches, photos, drawings, specifications, or other CAD formats using our 3D modelling services.


The history of architectural rendering is a fascinating journey that parallels the evolution of architecture and technology. As a leading 3D animation and rendering company, XO3D appreciates the significance of architectural rendering in visualizing and communicating architectural designs. Here’s a brief overview of its history:

  1. Ancient Renderings (Antiquity – Middle Ages): The concept of architectural rendering has ancient roots. In antiquity, architects used drawings, paintings, and sometimes small-scale physical models to convey their designs to clients and builders. These early renderings often had a stylistic and artistic focus.

  2. Renaissance and Perspective Drawing (15th – 16th centuries): During the Renaissance, the development of linear perspective allowed for more accurate and realistic architectural representations. Artists like Filippo Brunelleschi and Leon Battista Alberti played key roles in advancing perspective drawing techniques.

  3. Architectural Engravings (17th – 18th centuries): In the Baroque and Neoclassical eras, architectural engravings gained prominence. These highly detailed prints depicted buildings and designs in great precision and were often used for documentation and publication.

  4. Architectural Models (19th century): While still heavily reliant on drawings and engravings, architects began creating more elaborate physical models of their designs in the 19th century. These models provided clients with a tangible understanding of proposed structures.

  5. Photography and Printing (Late 19th – Early 20th centuries): The invention of photography and advancements in printing technology revolutionized architectural representation. Photographs of buildings and photorealistic illustrations became common in architectural publications.

  6. Perspective Drawings and Watercolors (20th century): Throughout the 20th century, architects continued to use hand-drawn perspective drawings and watercolors to convey their designs. These techniques remained valuable for their artistic and conceptual qualities.

  7. Computer-Aided Design (CAD) (Late 20th century): The advent of CAD software in the late 20th century marked a significant shift in architectural rendering. Architects could now create digital 2D and 3D representations of their designs, allowing for greater precision and efficiency.

  8. Digital Rendering (Late 20th century – Present): The development of 3D modeling and rendering software, such as AutoCAD, 3ds Max, Maya, and SketchUp, transformed architectural rendering. These tools enable architects to create highly realistic 3D visualizations of their projects, including textures, lighting, and even animations.

  9. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) (21st century): The 21st century has seen the integration of VR and AR into architectural rendering. Architects and clients can now experience designs in immersive virtual environments, providing a deeper understanding of spatial relationships and design concepts.

  10. Real-Time Rendering (Present): With the advancement of real-time rendering engines like Unreal Engine and Unity, architects can interact with and present designs in real-time, making it easier to make design decisions and communicate ideas effectively.

The history of architectural rendering reflects the continual evolution of technology and artistic techniques in the field of architecture. Today, architectural rendering is an indispensable tool for architects, designers, and clients to visualize and bring architectural visions to life.


Architects are one of the most significant users of Architectural Visualisation. Utilising architectural rendering software helps key decision-makers understand the idea and view of the Architect’s mind – we all know images speak louder than words. Most importantly, 3D Rendering is the key to easy planning permission and a sure way to win your next job. Today, using virtual tours is a big way to entice new customers.

Property Developers are another big user of Architectural Visuals. This is because using photo-realistic imagery of buildings that have not yet been built help make sales much faster.

Contrary to popular opinion, homeowners can also use architectural rendering to visualise their new upgrades. Before construction even starts, you can design your new dream home and have it realised in a spectacular way.

In addition, Landscape Designers use Architectural Renderings to communicate design ideas to their clients in the best way possible. Using Architectural Visuals often helps sell the project in a way that idealizes the landscape and helps create the perfect images.

Architectural visuals are used by property investors for a variety of purposes such as interior rendering. For instance, they might wish to promote a brand-new commercial structure that is still under construction. Real time virtual walkthroughs allow potential clients to view the architecture before its built.

When property developers take a project to a marketing company, usually they need Architectural Visualisation to show off the properties in all the best ways possible to make the development look amazing; therefore, creating the groundwork for the marketing team to advertise the properties.

Architectural rendering can be used in a variety of ways by game designers. It can be used by some game designers to make models of the game world they are building, but it can also be used by others to make concept art for their game. Others might use it to design environments or levels for video games.

Storyboards for movies, setting and location design, and visual effects creation are a few instances of how architectural rendering is applied in the film business.

Architectural Rendering - CGI of Kings Cross Visuals_Camera 02_Glass
Architectural Rendering - CGI of Kings Cross Visuals_Camera 04_Glass
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Most importantly, images speak louder than words. Many, if not all people see things in a better light when they can have an Architectural Visualisation in front of them instead of having to imagine it. Firstly, from the start of a project, all parties that are invested need to be able to see what a building will look like once it is completed. Therefore, with XO3Ds’ professional architectural rendering services, you can quickly show what the project will look like from beginning to end. Similarly, communicating different materials and what they may look like in various atmospheres and lighting. Even verified views help with planning permission.

In the past this was not the case, but since technology has advanced CGI images are more accessible than ever. This is because computer power has dramatically increased. Therefore, Architectural Renderings take less and less time to process allowing work to be completed faster and more efficiently than ever. In short, reducing costs over architectural photography.

Social media is taking over as the preferred channel to market. Most importantly, you must have show-stopping imagery to catch your market’s attention. Likewise, using social media to show off your project in the best way possible is essential. Therefore, our 3D Artists can design creative content tailored for any social media platform. In short, it is challenging to distribute extensive CAD data and physical copies of drawings. Therefore, sending high-quality imagery via email, social media, or publishing on websites is much easier.

Moreover, 3D Architectural Rendering offers the ability to visualize many concepts and options for any project. For example, this can include other materials, shapes, and textures of buildings. That is to say, a 3D Rendering can quickly and effectively show invested parties what all the different options will look like.

At XO3D, we can use actual CAD data from sources such as Google Earth. Likewise using project images, technical drawings, or any other accurate information that may help us to create high-end visualisations. For example, blending photos with 3D Renderings in a montage. Most importantly, this can be an affordable and effective way to communicate the vision of your project.

Because designs are built-in 3D and not just on paper, we can easily visualise the idea, using actual CAD data and being able to spot potential issues within the construction of the project.

By using stunning 3D imagery to show your clients what the real deal will look like before it is built, you can easily close your sales, increasing cash flow.

Likewise, by using our 3D Architectural Rendering services, you can set yourself apart from the competition. In addition, the beauty and simplicity of our carefully crafted, tailored images will blow your competition out of the water. Moreover, you must communicate your vision in a way that no other can match. Services such as architectural interactives are amazing in showing your architecture.


Strategically placing well-designed billboards with your Architectural Visuals is a great way to market the development because people always see it. For example, the billboard could be placed near the location of the buildings and invite people to view the properties before they are all built.
Secondly, using digital advertising is always good, but they have a short shelf life, unline a magazine advert. By putting your Architectural Renderings in popular magazines you can show off the development and raise awareness while passing on the magazine to others. Likewise, you could use these visuals to create a catalogue showing all the different rooms and options that you are offering.
Improve your brand reputation with social media advertising mixed with Architectural Visuals. While people are always scrolling through Instagram and also may be looking for a new property, these are one of the top places to use Architectural Renderings to catch the eye of some potential clients.
Likewise, using transit advertising with some photo realistic Architectural Renderings gives you the ability to show your work to a very wide range of varied audiences. For example, you could advertise a new building that is being developed in the city for serviced offices to people using the train.

Types of EXTERIOR renderings

XO3D provides expertly produced 3D Renderings for exterior home projects, tailored to each customer's needs. From cost-effective house renders to luxurious ones, we guarantee superior quality and expertise. As for townhouse renders, they are frequently used for marketing purposes, among other things. However, regulatory organisations may occasionally demand that you have a render created to demonstrate how the project will blend into a neighbourhood. Send us a detailed brief and we will put together a custom quote for you.
Commercial renderings are used for many different reasons, from showing off a brand new remodelling of a store to football stadiums. As important as the main structure these types of images also depend on the surrounding environment to truly visualize what the building will look like when it is in place and to see how it will fit in its new home. Often these types of image packages will include birds’ eye renders and multiple different camera angles to remarkably show off the designs.
Using surrounding landscapes in your project is a great way to provide an atmosphere and mood to the image, whether for a new homeowner or as a landscape architect. At XO3D, we can use our diverse library of trees and vegetation to show the specific features of the project. With landscape architectural visualization we turn plans and ideas into stunning 3D imagery that are easy to understand and really show off the amazing architectural elements.
This is considered one of the most challenging types of images as they require extensive detail due to the complexity of the building. These types of images are usually at the top end of the spectrum. Trying to fit large buildings in one image is a challenge for many photographers, but with 3D rendering, this problem is wiped out; giving us the ability to create the most show-stopping images for any sized development. An important aspect of these types of renders is to capture the surrounding environment to create the perfect backdrop. The mood of these images all depends on what the client requires and what the 3D artists want to convey and highlight within the image.



Firstly, we begin architectural renderings with the creation of a 3D model.


Lighting is created and it can be thought of the same as a photography studio but on a computer. The lighting is applied in different directions to create the best reflections that bring out all the details of the form of the architecture. Depending on the desired outcome of the render.


Thirdly, the desired materials are added to the walls and objects within the scene and tweaked with all different settings, using multiple different images and processes to get the materials to look as they would in real life. After that, the lighting is finalised to highlight the finer details of the architect’s design.


Finally, setting the scene is set off on the final stages of the process. This is where the computer does its work, by generating the images so that they can be used. The render engine is started so that it creates all different types of outputs that are subsequently brought together in post-production software such as Photoshop and a pretty picture is created by our 3D artists.

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To begin an architectural visualization project, clients provide all the information required. For arch vis, things such as drawings, design specifications, sketches, mood boards, or other types of information clients may have been presented to us.


We will check all of the content the clients have provided and ask for more details if necessary. In addition, a meeting, phone call, or Skype call is always beneficial. This helps avoid any misconception and allows us to shorten turnaround times for 3D rendering services.


Work is begun as soon as we understood all of the details the task requires and time frames have been agreed upon by both parties. Our 3D artists keep in constant contact with the clients throughout this process, with regular updates.


A draft 3D render is presented to clients for comments and review. Then, adjustments are made.


Penultimately, acceptance is given from the client for final processing.


The final 3D visuals are presented, after post-production, in high resolution with full quality lighting, reflections, glossiness, and materials.


Although we do not need all of the above, these will make the project much smoother.



Strategically placing well-designed billboards with your Architectural Visuals is a great way to market the development because people always see it. For example, the billboard could be placed near the location of the buildings and invite people to view the properties before they are all built.


Secondly, using digital advertising is always good, but they have a short shelf life, unline a magazine advert. By putting your Architectural Renderings in popular magazines you can show off the development and raise awareness while passing on the magazine to others. Likewise, you could use these visuals to create a catalogue showing all the different rooms and options that you are offering.


Improve your brand reputation with social media advertising mixed with Architectural Visuals. While people are always scrolling through Instagram and also may be looking for a new property, these are one of the top places to use Architectural Renderings to catch the eye of some potential clients.


Likewise, using transit advertising with some photo realistic Architectural Renderings gives you the ability to show your work to a very wide range of varied audiences. For example, you could advertise a new building that is being developed in the city for serviced offices to people using the train.

XO3D has worked on a couple of different projects for us (a property development company) and my colleagues and I have been extremely impressed and happy with their work. Throughout the creation process, Alex Mann at XO3D was extremely responsive and adaptable to ensure our design needs were met. The final product has always been of the highest quality and really brings to life the architectural drawings with precise attention to detail. 100% would recommend.

ImpactCapital Client Logo-white
Seb, Impact Capital Group Director


XO3D offers a range of different styles of 3D rendering architecture. Many of these are usually combined into a package. For example, a well-thought-out marketing visualisation package typically comprises imagery from various angles and views. Below, we explain the different types of Architectural Rendering shots. By utilising different 3D rendering software, other rendering styles can be created, allowing tailoring to specific architecture projects.


Using drone images, we can capture exactly where the plot is in real life from new points of view. From there, we can match our CGI scene and cameras to the real-life camera setting and create seamless photo montages. Subsequently, these aerial views allow a more comprehensive range of opinions than just your traditional imagery. Aerial renderings can be made in 3D. For example, if there was a significant development of houses, the same outcome could be achieved through 3D without drone imagery.

Kings Cross Visuals Camera 03 Glass Large Kings Cross Visuals Camera 03 Aluminium Large


Likewise, material studies can be important to make the decision of what colours, textures, and materials you want to go with for your project. With the ability to quickly change images within 3D rendering architecture, we can output multiple layers of different materials to show all the combinations that you want to see.

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Just like the ability of close-up shots to apply focus to the viewer, we can also achieve a similar impression using various lightings. The versatility of 3D allows a single shot to have a vast range of lighting solutions – a quick and cost-effective solution for photography. No one has to be paid to stand out for days on end trying to get the perfect lighting that may only last for fractions of a moment. You can see here some of the ways in which lighting can change the same shot.


The impact of straightforward frontal images showcasing emerging housing developments is undeniably compelling, offering potential buyers the unique opportunity to envision the experience of approaching their future residence. These meticulously crafted depictions not only unveil the exterior aesthetics but also provide a glimpse into the forthcoming living environment, effectively forging an emotional connection with the yet-to-be-constructed dwelling. This connection, carefully cultivated through the artful rendition of the facade, landscaping, and ambient lighting, possesses the remarkable ability to galvanize the crucial transaction you seek prior to the physical realization of the abode.


The utilisation of planning permission visuals holds immense significance in the realm of architectural representation. In particular, the unadorned yet impactful front-facing images that encapsulate emerging housing developments carry a profound ability to empower potential stakeholders with a unique perceptual capacity. This capacity allows them to immerse themselves in the envisioned experience of approaching a nascent residence, thereby establishing a visceral connection that transcends the boundaries of imagination. These meticulously curated visual depictions not only unveil the façade’s aesthetic intricacies but also unveil a tantalizing glimpse into the imminent living environment, effectively cultivating an emotional rapport with the yet-to-be-realized dwelling. It is this artful connection, meticulously nurtured through astutely rendered architectural details, thoughtfully orchestrated landscaping, and skillfully simulated ambient illumination, that wields considerable influence in galvanizing the pivotal transactional success required even before the physical manifestation of the residential structure.


You can do many things with focus shots. It allows you to lead the viewer down a garden path so to speak. When you are telling a visual story, you need to guide your viewer. Similar to the way an author structures a novel. Firstly, by using focus shots as part of a series of images you can really promote the best elements of your designs. Likewise, the use of a single focus shot can have a dramatic impact. Especially as the background to a particular product or element in the shot. Therefore, they will save you time and money by not having to hire a photographer every time you need some new images. Above all, 3D Architectural Rendering is cheaper and you have much more control when you need to update your range or make changes quickly.

Architectural Visualization Villa Architectural Visualization People Integration


The strategic incorporation of human figures into a 3D image introduces an elevated dimension of authenticity that profoundly enhances the image’s credibility. This deliberate inclusion not only imparts a sense of relatability but also offers potential viewers a tangible connection to the envisaged scene. Notably, an increasing number of clients opt for this creative avenue, harnessing its potential to construct an immersive lifestyle concept within the visual narrative. By seamlessly integrating human presence, these images ingeniously transcend mere representation, seamlessly transitioning into portals that offer a captivating glimpse into a conceivable existence.


Close-up shots are used in all sorts of art. The power of a close-up shot is that you can laser in on a particular part of an image. Why would you want to focus on a certain element? Well, for several reasons. Firstly, you may want to show a particular element due to its unique design or function. You may also have a singular focal point for a project or design. Many designers start with a single piece of inspiration. Such as the idea of a spider’s web in the alcoves or perhaps a fireplace designed stone by stone. Although a wider lens will show the feature in situ. It is also powerful to show a close-up shot to emphasize the point.


Creative architectural visualisation can take many forms, from 3D modelling and animation to augmented reality and virtual reality. It allows architects to explore the potential of a design, to simulate how a space will look and feel, and to communicate the design’s potential more effectively.


£50 to £200


£200 to £400


£400 to 1500


£1500 to £10 000


Firstly, the price of a 3D Rendering depends mainly 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 for each project. Creating renders used to be an expensive and time-consuming process that was only viable for large development companies. Because of technological advancements in recent years home renders have become accessible for the average consumer. Finally, we have split them into 4 Tiers and written an in-depth guide to how much you should be paying for your 3D Renderings.

It is worth noting that the prices here are generalised, and it largely depends on the project. These are only guidelines for clients new to the 3D Rendering field.




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.




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.


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Architectural visuals can range from £50 to £10 000. Due to this, 3D architectural rendering is a very confusing space. Its difficult for clients to understand why there is such a huge price range for a image. We have written an article on 3D rendering pricing that aims to remove the confusion for clients.

Architectural 3D visualisation is a creative process that uses computer graphics to convert 3d models into engaging images. It may include photo-realistic or non-photorealistic images. It is the final process of creating the actual 2D image or animation.

A photorealistic rendering is a lifelike 3D rendering. A style of 3D rendering that allows an image to look as good or better than a camera could take. Photorealistic images are created from 3D models.

Architectural visualisation is the process of creating realistic visual representations of architectural designs using various techniques such as 3D modelling, rendering, animation, augmented reality, and virtual reality. It allows architects, designers, and clients to visualise and understand the design concept before it is built.

Architectural visualisation helps bridge the gap between technical drawings and a layperson’s understanding by providing lifelike images and experiences. It aids in conveying design intent, fostering better communication among stakeholders, and enabling design exploration before construction begins.

Architectural visualisation employs a range of techniques, including:

  • 3D Modelling and Rendering: Creating detailed three-dimensional models and generating realistic images with lighting, textures, and materials.
  • Animation: Producing dynamic sequences of images to showcase design evolution and user experiences.
  • Augmented Reality (AR): Overlapping digital designs onto real-world environments using mobile devices or AR glasses.
  • Virtual Reality (VR): Creating immersive 3D environments that users can explore using VR headsets.

Various stakeholders benefit from architectural visualisation:

  • Architects and Designers: They can visualise and refine their concepts, making informed design decisions.
  • Clients and Investors: They can understand and evaluate a project’s aesthetics and functionality before committing resources.
  • Real Estate Developers: Visualisation aids in marketing and pre-selling properties.
  • City Planners and Regulatory Bodies: Visualisations facilitate discussions and approvals for urban planning and development projects.

Architectural visualisation makes complex designs accessible to a wider audience. Visuals are more relatable and can effectively communicate design ideas, spatial relationships, and aesthetics, even to non-experts.

The stages generally involve:

  • Conceptualisation: Defining the design intent and goals.
  • 3D Modelling: Creating a digital 3D model of the architectural elements.
  • Texturing and Materials: Applying realistic textures and materials to the model.
  • Lighting Setup: Adding lighting sources for realistic illumination.
  • Rendering: Producing high-quality images or animations.
  • Post-Processing: Enhancing the visuals with image editing software, if needed.

Popular software tools include:

  • 3D Modelling: Autodesk Revit, SketchUp, Rhino.
  • Rendering: Autodesk 3ds Max, V-Ray, Lumion.
  • Animation: Autodesk Maya, Blender.
  • AR/VR: Unity, Unreal Engine.

Yes, architectural visualisation allows stakeholders to see and experience the design in a virtual environment. This aids in identifying design flaws, exploring different options, and making informed decisions before construction begins.

Augmented reality overlays digital designs onto the physical world, providing real-time context. This helps in visualising how a design fits within an existing environment and aids in site analysis and presentation to clients and authorities.

No, architectural visualisation is used for various projects, including new buildings, renovations, interior designs, landscaping, and urban planning. It helps visualise changes to existing structures and spaces as well.

Consult with architectural visualisation professionals who can understand your project’s goals and needs. They will guide you through the process and choose the most suitable techniques for your project’s requirements.