3D rendering speed up the approval process. That’s why it is an indispensable tool for architects. 3D rendering services revolutionize the way architectural projects are conceptualized, communicated, and brought to life. Among the many success stories that showcase the transformative capabilities of these services, one particular case study stands out—the utilization of 3D rendering services in a remarkable mixed-use project nestled within the breathtaking landscapes of Costa Rica.

The architect, Michele, was looking for CGI images to showcase his vision in order to get this project approved. In 2021, we have helped Michele’s project to win an architectural award in Los Angeles, and the details are here. In this case study, we will explore the unique challenges faced by the project’s rendering process and how we addresses these hurdles. By delving into the exceptional features and benefits of 3D rendering services, we will unveil their ability to breathe life into architectural designs, present diverse perspectives, and facilitate informed decision-making processes. Moreover, we will examine how these services fostered seamless collaboration by providing immersive experiences that allowed the jury to envision the project’s final outcome in astounding detail.


Understanding the Project


This mixed-use project contains a food court, supermarket, and industrial park in the back. And we also got the following information from Michele:


Scope of the Project

Michele needed two images for:

  • One aerial view of the complex. This bird-eye view should show the entire site;
  • One eye-level view of the food court.

Although both are exterior views, the aerial view contains more workload than the eye-level food court view. Therefore, our project manager assigned this project to four 3D artists to get the final delivery faster. One of them worked on the model, one on the eye-level view, and two CG artists worked together on the aerial view.


The Detailed Brief

To help us understand the project, the architect provided:

  • The site location on Google Maps;


  • A Rhino model;


  • Detailed site plans;


  • Mood references;


  • A sketch rendering made by the client’s in-house team. Our client is not satisfied with it. This render was for reference only.


After studying all these references, our 3D team started the 3D exterior rendering process immediately.


3D Exterior Rendering Process


The very first thing our artists did was to create a 3D model. Since our client chose to use photomontage for surrounding context in the aerial view, we only needed to focus on the structure.


3D Modeling

It saved a lot of time that Michele provided a Rhino model. Thus, all we needed to do was to input it into 3ds Max. After inputting, the CGI artists sorted the lines and adjusted the geometry based on the design drawings.


When presenting the 3D model drafts to Michele, he was satisfied with the result. On top of this, he gave some instructions on the following steps. This included:

  • Add a buffer zone between the supermarket, parking and residences;
  • Add plants in the balconies of the residential units;
  • Plant trees in the parking lots to reduce heat.

The next step was melting the 3D model within the site photo.



One of the views, the aerial view, needed to use photo-composition for the surrounding context. In this step, our 3D specialists put the model in the photo, and composite them by rearranging and overlapping some details. The challenge here was to guarantee the structure’s consistency with the photo. To achieve this, the 3D artists studied the photo to be used, and figured out the accurate angle to drop the model. As a result, we shared the draft of model in the photo.



Camera Angle Confirmation

For the other view, which is an eye-level one, the next step was to confirm the camera angle. With the confirmed 3D model, our CG specialists selected the best camera angle based on our client’s instruction. In this case, it was the view that looking into the outdoor area of the food court. Also, the view also had a sketch rendered version which created by our client’s in-house team.


It took two rounds to confirm this view. The final confirmed camera angle has a broad view. Meanwhile, windows and doors into the food court were added all the way around so they made the food court an open space and connected to outside. This way, there are no boundaries between the inside and open space rotunda in the middle.

With both views confirmed, it was time to color them.


The Coloring Stage: Texturing, Setting Lighting, Rendering, and Post-production

Michele said that everything was okay to proceed. So our 3D specialists went on to make colored renderings. This stage included applying textures and materials, setting lighting, rendering the scene, and post-producing. However, when sharing the first colored draft, Michele came up with the idea of changing the roof to metal and teal color. He would like to use 3D rendering services to compare the differences. Of course, our team was happy to provide this opportunity because this is actually one of the merits of using 3D rendering services.


As a result, the architect chose to go with the teal metal roof. We believe our renders triggered his inspiration as he came up with some more design ideas:

  • Make the apartments’ roof a roof garden;
  • Add stairs to come out of the roof and a glass or planter rail around the roof.

As to the eye-level view, we fully understood the architect’s vision. As a result, we applied realistic materials. At the same time, the 3D artists created a dynamic mood by adding people playing, talking and shopping. One of the challenges was landscaping. Since Costa Rica has tropical ecology and has its typical greenery scenery, we studies the features and applies them in this view. Finally, the colored draft of the food court view is as following:


Michele was extremely satisfied with the draft. Our 3D team was more than thrilled to hear about that he believed this view was ready to get the high-res final render.


Final Delivery


Here are the finalized mixed-use exterior 3D renderings. Let’s enjoy the elaborate aerial view which is intricately designed full with details, and the impressive and immersive food court now!






AIMIR team is so grateful to Michele for the trust and efficient communication in this project. We’re looking forward to future successful partnerships!

Stuck in the design review process for your architectural design? Looking for powerful 3D renderings to drive the approval process? Contact our architectural visualization studio and we’ll empower you with photorealistic visuals with our 3D rendering services.

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