Architects and designers use 3D rendering images to showcase key effects and demonstrate the design details of the structure before, during or after a project is built. We’ve shared many case studies of architectural visualization projects for exteriors, interiors, hotels, houses, shopping malls, museums, and other various types of buildings.
Today, we’d like to introduce a 3D rendering project in a different way. A way from our professionals’ perspective. If you’re looking for a reliable 3D rendering services team, you may understand what we’re thinking in each of the stages and get yourself prepared to accelerate the whole process. On the other hand, if you’re thinking about working as a 3D specialist in the ArchViz industry, this article may provide you explicit details of each step of a typical 3D rendering process.
Okay, let’s get our 3D rendering process journey started!
Step 1: Understanding the Project
Desert Palisades project is a luxury private villa in Desert Palisades, Palm Springs, California. Our partner Paula was looking for 3D renderings to present this amazing structure. First of all, the whole team including the project manager and relevant 3D artists need to understand the client’s requirement. This includes the client’s aim, the vision, and the purpose of the project.
During this stage, a kick-off meeting is ideal for exchanging files and ideas. Or at least, necessary materials and the client’s vision should be shared through email or other platforms. For this project, the necessary information includes:
The design. Paula shared the Rhino model of the house. At the same time, she sent the CAD plans that helped our 3D artists to gain deeper understanding of the structure.
The landscape plan. Especially for this project, Paula prepared the reference photos for the desert landscaping. This is important for some atypical environment such as desert, seaside, and snow mountain.
The camera angles. Paula was very clear about the camera angles she wanted for this project. In some cases, we’d love to offer some suggestions if our clients do not have any idea of the views.
The materials board. The 3D model had included some materials. Also, Paula shared some images about the textures she wanted for the house.
Also, Paula shared more about the project including:
The site photos. This is because instead of building the surrounding environment, Paula decided to use photomontage for the surroundings. So she took some photos with the same camera angles of the final 3D renders she wanted.
The moods. Aka, the atmosphere for the renderings. In this project, we used photomontage for surrounding context, which meant the moods of the final 3D renderings should be the same or at least similar to the original photos. Paula wanted all three views to be regular daytime.
Step 2: Creating the 3D Model
After collecting all necessary information about the project, our team started the production. The first thing to do is to create the 3D model with the materials received. Because we’ve already received a Rhino model, there was no need to build one. However, the model is not ready to use.
During this stage, our 3D artists fine-tune the model. This includes importing the Rhino model to 3ds Max, sorting the elevations and lines, arranging the included textures, adding details to the 3D model based on the design plans received. The following images shows the comparison of the Rhino model received and the fine-tuned model:
3D model: before vs. after
When we shared the fine-tuned model to Paula, she was excited and she wrote:
“The renders look already very promising. It’s all good in the model except an area that is meant to be cantilevered in V1. The corner should float over the terrain.
I have placed some reference images so that you can see how the landscape and street looks like in that same development for the next phase.”
With the below image shared, Paula was happy with the model and mentioned a couple of minor adjustments to work on. Meanwhile, she sent through some reference images for the landscaping and materials and textures that were extremely helpful.
Step 3: Applying Materials and Textures
The next stages comes to the materials and textures. When working on the materials and textures, our 3D artists will carefully pick the accurate materials in order to show realism. This probably is the determining step. The final images will look realistic only when the materials and textures are right.
To create photorealistic renders, our 3D artists carefully studied the reference images Paula provided, and looking for the most similar and realistic possible materials in our library and the internet. For real estate rendering, or house rendering, we often care about the façade. That is to say, we pay great attention to the presentation of the exterior roofs and walls, our 3D specialists believe that the first impression of a 3D image depends on the overall photoreal materials.
As a result, our 3D team added and adjusted the materials and textures according to the information in the model and Paula’s comments.
Step 4: Setting the Lighting and Post-processing
In the 3D rendering working process, setting the lighting is the final stage. We will determine the lighting to show a better result of the subject. This is a complex process because the light and shadow will change how the architecture looks in total. Moreover, the lighting is able to improve the realism of the rendering.
Different from other projects, this private house rendering project and other projects using photomontage already has the lighting set. The photo used for photomontage has a fixed light and shadow setting, and as a 3D artist team, we need to adjust the lighting of the model exactly the same as the one in the photo.
As to the post-processing, we mainly use Photoshop to apply visual effects based on the whole image to make it more natural and vivid. Of course, the clients may come up with their ideas sometimes. For this luxury villa project, we added some paperback trees and cactus balls in the front of the image and adjust the landscape especially the road to melt the building into the surrounding environment.
Site photo vs. 3D rendering: with the magic of post-processing
Step 5: Final Delivery of High-res 3D Renderings
When the drafts are confirmed, our 3D artists will output the final high-res 4K/5K images. The resolution is subjected to the clients’ need, but usually is 4K or 5K. Actually, our professional project manager will talk about this issue with the clients before the start of the production. So, if you have any special requirements on the resolution, please mention it as earlier as possible. This is because the 3D team need to modify the resolution during the rendering process. It is quite difficult the change to a much larger resolution when the final delivery occurs.
Now, let’s enjoy the final renderings of this beautiful house in the desert.
What do you think about the 3D rendering process for real estate industry? It can be challenging to get a grip on, so hope we’ve made the whole process easy to catch up on. We’ll happy to hear that you get what you want here.
Plus, AIMIR is a creative 3D rendering studio specializing in architectural visualization from 2006. We’re happy to talk with you about ArchViz process if you have any questions or any projects.
Serving as an indispensable tool for architects and graphic designers, exterior house design software plays an important role in creating informative and attractive exteriors with 3D rendering services. There are a lot of software on the market now, with varying quality and prices. It may be troublesome to choose the right one. No worries! We’ve listed top of the best exterior design software in 2023. Please refer to the details as follows.
When it comes to exterior visualization software, we should first talk about 3ds Max. Since the powerful features far outweigh its low price, it has a very good price-performance ratio. That is one of the reasons why it has so many users. A complete set of tools and functions allow you to make a layout and design any exterior construction that you want. Because of the excellent use of image-based lighting, it can quickly provide photo-realistic effects for exterior renderings of buildings. It features low configuration requirements for PC-based systems and a user-friendly interface, so it’s easy to get started as long as you have a clear idea of how to operate it. Moreover, another outstanding feature is that installing some plugins provides functions that are not available in 3D Studio Max and enhances the original functionalities. Undoubtedly, it is probably one of the best exterior rendering software for professionals. Read more about other architectural rendering software and platforms.
As mentioned above, some plugins that can be installed in 3ds Max. V-Ray is the vital one. As a powerful exterior visualizer, it becomes one of the most popular rendering engines in the industry, which is suitable for both professionals and beginners. It has a library of realistic materials and always keeps updating, while you can also create your own textures and materials. You can apply different textures and control their reflection and refraction. The most important thing is that thanks to its constant refinement, it’s easier to get accurate physical lighting, adjust parameters and achieve quick renderings.
Lumion is a real-time 3D visualization tool developed especially for architects and designers. It serves to design house exteriors and build projects in a real-world context with comprehensive tools and effects. It boasts a large and rich content library of buildings, cars, people, animals, streets, surfaces, rocks, and more, which helps to create a realistic and satisfying building and scene. Besides, it also deserves praise for the fact that the rendering and scene creation takes just a few minutes, saving your money and efforts.
Revit is a great home design software for both interior and exterior. Not only does it work at the design and development level, but it also contains construction project information. You are free to sketch, quickly create 3D shapes, and interact with shapes. You can use the built-in tools for conceptual clarification of complex shapes to prepare models for construction. As for the visualization of home design, it can capture design ideas in a photo-level true state and produce high-quality renderings in a short time. By the way, it also works well in mutually exporting models with 3ds Max.
SketchUp is a popular and free 3D exterior design software. Its main advantage is that it is easy to use and everyone can get started quickly. Thus, the official website likens it to the “pencil” of the electronic design. The software comes with a component library of a large number of doors, windows, columns, furniture, and other items, as well as a material library of building texture. You are able to make full use of those professional extensions to customize your project. It can be used with 3ds Max, Revit and other software to quickly import and export files in different formats to achieve the perfect combination of program conception, effect drawings, and construction drawings. By the way, you can attain more advanced functions in the paid PRO version if you prefer.
Working as a free online 3D home design platform, Cedreo is used by professional home builders, remodelers, and designers to create 2D floor plans as well as 3D exterior and interior renderings. The platform is completely cloud-based, so you can meet with clients and edit designs and proposals instantly. Thanks to its fast operation speed, it can quickly offer an informative and visually impressive display.
When you open this exterior design software Provia Visualizer, you will find it so simple to get started even if you are a beginner, because its interface is very intuitive and straightforward. Before starting DIY, it allows you to select a sample house image or upload your house image that follows some required guidelines. On the left side of the software page, there are various customization options of items for you to alter doors, windows, roofing, sidings, trim paints, shutters, and even vents. You can save different designs and compare them to find a better one. Don’t you want to try it right away?
As a free house siding renderer, Dream Designer is also a good choice for beginners and amateurs. Same as the last software, you can choose the house style on the website or upload an image of your own home. But what’s different is that Dream Designer doesn’t limit the size of photos to be uploaded. Therefore, you can easily upload pictures and start designing. You are free to show off your personal style by using materials designed by Royal Building Products. When finishing a design, you are encouraged to share it with your family and friends by posting it on social media or sending it via email.
Menards Design-It-Center is an excellent visualizer software for exterior and interior design, which is suitable for professionals and amateurs. After choosing a sample house or uploading a picture, you will open a design page where a product list is on the left side while the image is on the right side. Move your mouse over a part of the house, and a single click will bring up a number of options for you to try. You can customize the materials and colors of the whole house exterior in this house siding colors simulator.
Virtual Architect Ultimate Home Design with Landscaping and Decks delivers a huge library of 3D graphics, powerful tools, and design inspiration. This free home exterior design and landscaping software for Windows is here to support you to transform a house. It works both in 2D and 3D models and doesn’t require any complex or difficult operation. There is a wizard on the interface, which helps in creating a design in a quick and easy manner. If you’re a total beginner, don’t worry! Technical support and training videos will give a helping hand.
Lumion LiveSync is a great free plugin that works well in collaboration between Lumion and some architecture software, including SketchUp, Revit, ArchiCAD, and Vectorworks. By building a real-time visualization between them, you will see the lifelike changes and photo-realistic displays of your home exterior design. The exterior home design app enables live point-of-view synchronization, which makes your work easier, faster, and more enjoyable.
You may have noticed the app Planner 5D in our recommended list of interior designers. However, it also does a good job in virtual home exterior design. There are hundreds of textures and colors waiting for you to use for free. And the parameters of any element are adjustable. You are free to create a dream home design by editing not only its exterior but also the landscape around it. In addition, another advantage of this siding visualizer app is that it is available on mobile devices and covers Windows and macOS with full synchronization between them.
Are you looking forward to the house exterior design coming out of your fingertips? Whether you’re an architect, interior designer, or real estate developer, as long as you’re interested in a home design app to remodel and redecorate, choose a visualization software listed above and give it a try! Just enjoy your design tour! Or you can contact us for professional architectural visualization services. AIMIR is dedicated to delivering high-quality 3D rendering from 2006.
The exterior and interior architectural visualization projects do not always have a sunny day and adequate lights. Some of them don’t set the architectural objects in an urban environment. This in turn creates a special mood for the images. Today, we at AIMIR decided to share with you the works that, in our opinion, have such special and untypical environment.
Weather & Time
Imagining a building under a sunny day with a clear blue sky, and surely it is the simplest method to bring out full potential of an image. Naturally, the brilliance of a sunset is able to coat a gorgeous color on the whole image that catches the eyes of its viewers. Morning, noon, afternoon, dawn, these time of the day under a clear sky are most frequently used in 3D architectural rendering, and result in eye-catching results.
However, these are not the only options for 3D rendering. In contrast to such “usual” works, visuals created in other weather conditions such as a cloudy summer afternoon or a snowy winter day are more distinctive. The aim of such weather and time is not to make the structure uglier or worse. Actually, these “unusual” environment allows to showcase the architecture in a totally different perspective.
Now, let’s have a look at some of the typical environment with various weather and time conditions.
Snowy day is probably one of the most attractive scenes in 3D rendering. However, this weather is not widely used in architectural 3D rendering because of its limitation: the location of the architecture. Not all structures can use a snowy mood, at least, not the ones in tropical regions.
In the magical hands of a professional 3D artist, one can find the true good of a building under any environment. Here, a reasonable winter scene adds more power to a render.
As you can see, the wonder of a winter scene lies not only in the beauty and uniqueness of the structure which stands out, but also bakes an immersive experience to its viewers. Architects, designers and real estate developers use powerful winter 3D visuals as a strong tool to sell their clients with future homes, offices, and destinations.
It is incredible to demonstrate a tower under a cloudy sky. And our data can prove it. Our posts about cloudy mood renders on LinkedIn are proven to be impressive and received many likes and comments from our audience.
As an unusual mood, cloudy is frequently used in 3D architectural visualization especially for high-rises. The reason for this is that cloudy sky is ideal for conveying supremacy or instilling feelings of power of the object, which, under this context, the buildings. At the same time, they are not difficult to find in other type of structures such as stadium, museum and even shopping malls.
Rainy day probably is not the first choice of most of the ArchViz users. Because it may moisturize the scene and blur the important details of the building. Also, some people may believe an architecture under the rain will create weakness for the structure.
This is not the truth. As we stated above, we believe all architecture can shine within the right hand – the skilled 3D artist’s hand. Actually, a rainy scene will not make the building weak. On the other hand, the rain will bring calmness and serenity to the scene, which in turn results in a powerful demonstrate of the architecture that create selling content.
You may ask, is night scene unusual? Yes and no. In common sense, we experience night every day, it’s just dark, and there is nothing to talk about. However, it becomes totally different in the ArchViz industry.
In a 3D render, especially when there is a residential property or office building, some architects and designers may want to express the current mood. For example, these two images of a three-story office building can give you a totally different impression:
An image of the office building to show the structure and design;
An image of the office building with clear design details and people inside doing various activities.
After all, the night mood for exterior rendering is perfect to demonstrate the indoor furniture layout and people inside with activities, which creates a strong living atmosphere for this building. On the other side, interior rendering can use night for window view that provides contrast to the warm or cold lighting inside.
Above are an introduction of using unusual moods for 3D architectural rendering. It is not only a fixed answer, you can choose the most suitable mood for your project. We care about each project, and aim to deliver one-of-a-kind 3D work for you. AIMIR is a professional 3D architectural visualization studio since 2006. We are glad to help you visualize your project.
Nowadays, in addition to asking architectural visualization studios for 3D rendering services, there is another way for house owners to get their home, room and interior design transformed. In recent years, many interior design apps have emerged to help non-professionals to release the creativity of house design. With an assortment of room item options in various apps, you are free to create your own space, decorate your own house, and experiment with different styles. Moreover, a 3D interior walkthrough is also available for reference. Here are 12 recommended free interior design programs for you, most of which are applicable for both mobile and PC.
Homestyler works as an easy and time-saving online interior design tool for both professionals and amateurs, ranking first on our recommended list. You can use it to plan space, arrange furniture and add decorations. You will find whatever you want in this best home design program. After drawing the floor plan in 2D, you will enjoy high-quality 3D renderings, even with complex building structures. It boasts a large variety of room items available, from door and window styles to decorative potted plants. There are different styles and parameters of all elements. You can integrate them, compare and replace them with each other until you get satisfying results. Thanks to the above advantages, it doesn’t matter if you have no experience before. Also, it’s easy for you to share your work among different terminals. It only has the disadvantage of low working speed and strict requirements for computer hardware.
Room Planner is a free home design app for IKEA. This room designer functions 2D/3D floor plans, designed PDF-report, and many other handy tools, featuring convenience and a friendly interface. It enables you to explore ready designs, find ideas, create floor plans, change materials, furnish the interior and customize design. Using a 3D display, you are free to review and modify your design, such as changing the wall color. When you finally finish your work, you can get a shopping list from the IKEA catalog. That is indeed a boon for IKEA fans. You can also pay for a subscription to discover more features if you like.
Planner 5D is an advanced and easy-to-use 2D/3D house design tool. It’s convenient for amateurs and beginners to design a house with customizable control buttons as well as full screen and compact modes. You can easily capture professional 3D house designs and edit them without any 3D-modeling skills. It also allows you to freely modify detailed items and all parameters to perfect your designs. Moreover, you can take and view vivid snapshots added with lighting, shadows, and rich colors. However, the utility does not support Microsoft Windows XP. By the way, if you would like advanced features, please register and subscribe to the full version of Planner 5D Interior Design.
HomeByMe is a free interior design app suitable for professionals and beginners. Browsing stunning images in the community make it possible for you to find inspiration and start your own project. You are able to create your design of the whole apartment rather than only one room. Some ready-made templates are also available. After finishing your floor plan in 2D, you can shift the model to 3D to furnish your house. It allows you to express your decoration style by using a catalog of thousands of products from famous brands, such as Wayfair, Crate&Barrel, and RH. And then there will be a shopping list for you. Nevertheless, users need to pay for its lots of features and may mind the difficulty in navigating.
Housecraft is a free room design app whose focus is on furniture. You can freely arrange the room configurations with a large catalog of furniture. It also enables you to adjust the measurements of the furniture. If you are not satisfied with any object, resize it until it fits! Besides, you can admire objects from any angle and even in any light. However, although it has good support and constant update, it seems a pity that there is still no way to design a photo background and save it. Also, it would be better if the lack of privacy and the limited selection of goods were addressed.
Amikasa can be a good choice for you if you plan to redecorate your room using purchasable items rather than stock images. It lets you build, restyle, and redecorate your rooms using furniture, flooring and wall colors from real brands. You can choose your room shape, set exact dimensions and place objects to your liking. 3D visualization achieves to admire the overall effect of your design. However, the cons are limited tools, the impossibility of hand-designing models and a rather complicated interface.
Houzz is another free house planner for professionals. If you’re looking for inspiration for home interiors, Houzz can give a helping hand. It offers a large number of high-definition images of interior design for reference, such as a kitchen, living room, courtyard, bedroom and more, to inspire you to find your favorite lifestyle. In addition, you can also filter by styles, equipment, colors and so on, making it easier to find the style you like. It’s convenient for you to purchase chosen items because of links to selling websites.
Home Design 3D is a good choice for home design because it’s available for everyone and for free. It boasts an intuitive interface, simple control, a wide selection of furniture and elements with editability. The app for house interior design has to be mentioned that you can even change different lighting methods to see how your room looks like in daylight and at night. It’s quite thoughtful to offer this function. By the way, you can attain full functionality in the paid version of the program if you prefer.
Roomstyler 3D Home Planner is accessible to everyone to design a dream home online for free. It allows you to choose a room layout and drag furniture as well as any other decoration items into your room. Moreover, the objects are from real brands so you can buy them online. After finishing your design, you can check the overall effect from 3D interior walkthrough.
Roomle is an online room design app oriented to the needs of beginners and amateurs instead of professionals. It’s from €150 per month but with a free trial. You can enter any drawing or plan to start your project. It’s easy to add and edit furniture and any other appliances when decorating your house. It has the advantage that it displays measurements of walls and furniture when parameters are entered. Also, you are able to enjoy 3D visualization although the quality is not as good as others in this list.
#11. Floor Plan Creator
OS: Android, macOS, Windows
Floor Plan Creator is another free interior design app. It allows you to create multiple floors in 2D, add furniture and edit decoration in 3D. Enabling cloud sync can automatically back up and share plans between devices and users, which achieves multiple people working on the same project. The drawings can be exported to several formats like PDF, despite no way to choose a location to save the files.
There is no charge if you use MagicPlan to design no more than two houses. Like any other App, you can create a floor plan in 2D mode and decorate it in 3D. In addition, the App also has a very useful function. That is to help you estimate the materials and costs since there is a customized price list for reference.
Other Frequent Asked Questions
Is there any apps that I can visualize the room?
Most of the home interior planners allow you to select the ceilings, floors, walls, and furniture settings such as colors, materials, and finishes. But if you’re looking for one of the best free visualizing apps probably you should try Roomle or Roomstyler 3D Home Planner.
Can I buy the furniture in the interior design programs?
Not always. Most of the home designer applications are used for designing and demonstrating only. However, Amikasa is the right choice if you want to purchase the furniture inside. This free interior design app uses real furniture that you can buy online rather than stock images.
Can I just take a picture of my room and decorate it?
Homestyler is your answer. This free best home design app allows you to visualize and decorate your space with simple drag-and-drop function.
Each of these apps has its strengths and weaknesses, but in general, they’re all worth a try. If you would like to create a dream house at your fingertips, the apps listed above are for you to choose from. Just click and enjoy your design tour!
If you need 3D architectural rendering services, AIMIR is always ready to help.
We’ve shared the story behind luxury mega-mansion in Beverly Hills. And we don’t want to leave behind the beautiful houses and villas in other cities in the United States. Today, our studio would like to share some architectural design works of one of our precious clients, Chris.
Chris is one of our long-term partners in the U.S.. They are a luxury, high-end design firm specializing in custom residential, boutique commercial and estate & land planning. We’ve worked together to create 3D exterior renderings for various private villas across the U.S.. Their design combines modern and traditional American style as well as natural elements, with their iconic elegance.
One of the things we really want to address when working with Chris is that part of their projects started with a sketch. Our 3D artists built the 3D model from a 2D sketch and the projects began. They are so talented that we always marvel at their ideas and visions which we believe will change the experience of traditional residential living.
Okay, let’s start the journey from some of their best private house designs.
This mega mansion is no doubt a gorgeous house to stay. All walls are smooth white stucco, with traditional and beautiful brown roof tiles. Nestled in deep wood, our visuals of this private villa aim to have a lasting impact on the viewers through photorealistic materials and inspirational environment.
The 3D exterior rendering process started with a Revit model. After importing the model to 3ds Max rendering software, our 3D artists applied the materials and textures. This is a crucial part because a realistic render starts from its materials. As an architectural visualization studio founded in 2006, we strive to create renders and architecture animations that communicate the design concepts, function, and beauty of the structures.
This luxury private house features white painted wood siding on its sides and asphalt shingles on the roofs. Smartly using bricks on the bottom side of the walls, the house is equipped with dark bronze windows and stained timbers as braces. With an exquisite garden in front of it, our visualization works demonstrate a contemporary residence which interacts with a traditional architectural context.
The architect came up with two different exterior plans. One is white horizontal sidings with darker roof. The other plan features darker vertical sidings with lighter roof, and slope roofs and shed roofs are added at the same time. 3D architectural rendering is the perfect tool dealing with this situation. It saves both time and money presenting different plans, delivering your vision to your audience.
Kennedy Residence is a typical American modern luxury house that features tile roofs and washed bricks. Our client needed one architecture rendering to showcase the front of the structure to their clients. In order to demonstrate the potential of the luxury villa, they came up with three plans for the materials and textures.
The different plans have different roofs: clay burnt orange tile roof, wood shake roof, and blue slate tile roof. There are also various plans for the wall and other designs. In fact, it is popular to have different plans in the real estate industry. Meanwhile, 3D rendering services provide high quality 3D exterior visualizations for the service with a time- and cost-saving manner.
The above three projects are a small part of our past years’ collaboration. But we believe you have a glimpse of the unique style of Chris’ residential design. Now we’d like to take you to another gallery, Chris’ sketches.
3D Architectural Visualization vs. Sketches
Chris is one of our best and nicest clients. He is a talented architect who challenges himself as an architect and designer all the time. Some of their best residential projects are born from a single hand-drawn sketch! Our team is inspired and improved by working with him and his team from 2016.
Today, we’ve collected some of the fantastic sketches where our project started with. Please enjoy the magical moment when a sketch becomes a rendering!
Our 3D artists built 3D models based on the sketches, and in our visuals, bricks and other natural materials are employed to both provide for a timeless aesthetic and a contextual architecture. It is a delightful blend of contemporary and cottage, modern convenience, and bucolic peacefulness.
We will keep collaborating with Chris and his team and delivering more high quality 3D renderings for luxury private houses in the U.S.. If you are interested in real estate rendering services, or other 3D architectural visualization services, please contact our professional project manager and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours with a perfect plan to deliver your project!