Best 8 Free Rendering Software for Creating 3D Architectural Visualization in 2023

Best 8 Free Rendering Software for Creating 3D Architectural Visualization in 2023

With the increasing need for 3D visualization in architecture industry, it gets more important to choose the most suitable rendering software for your project. It may be difficult as you tend to think about a couple of factors. One of the most common questions may be “can the software help show my ideas in renderings with expected quality?” Besides, there would be another inevitable concern: “is it affordable?” To minimize the influence of price when choosing the best software, here are eight free 3D rendering software for your reference.


#1. Blender



Pricing: Free

OS: Windows, macOS, Linux


Thinking of the best free 3D rendering software, Blender is, without doubt, among the first ones brought to mind. Although it is free, Blender has comprehensive tools for 3D visualization from modeling, rendering to post-processing and even animation. To create perfect 3D renderings, it contains two built-in rendering engines: EEVEE and Cycles. Specifically, the GPU-accelerated engine Cycles allows users to view the rendering effect quickly and directly.

In addition, Blender supports to use various third-party renderers, such as LuxCoreRender, V-Ray, Indigo Renderer, etc. These listed renderers are also free but powerful tools. LuxRender is an open-source renderer that is recommended officially by Blender team. It can also work with SketchUp, 3ds Max, Cinema 4D and other major 3D software. With a free 30-day trial, V-Ray provides support for fast rendering. It is especially suitable for 3D rendering of interior design owing to its great effects of global illumination. Indigo Renderer is also a software with varieties of lighting types for models of different spaces. Besides lighting, it contains a material editor which helps maximize photorealism with rich sorts of materials. Moreover, it can save hours for rendering projects by the preliminary setting of materials and lighting.


#2. SketchUp Free



Pricing: Free

OS: Windows, macOS


Focusing mainly on modeling, SketchUp Free would be an optimal choice for both 3D modeling beginners and professionals. As a free version of SketchUp, it allows users to complete the basic process of modeling. Supported by its realistic textures, you can build your models with all the elements in detail covering textures, shadows and so on. In addition to SketchUp free renderer, there are also some excellent plugins that can be used in this best free rendering software, like V-Ray, Lumion LiveSync, SU Podium, etc.

As mentioned above, V-ray is an efficient real-time rendering program especially suitable for interior design. When using SketchUp, V-Ray plugin can make it smooth to create and adjust elements in layers as well as the whole layout. For landscape or exterior design, there is another excellent real-time rendering program Lumion LiveSync. Enabling its plugin, you can import your SketchUp 3D model to the Lumion environment instantly without any interruption while rendering. If you want to share your work via online channels, US Podium can be a good helper. This rendering plugin was specifically designed to be used with SketchUp. It allows users to change complex shapes during the process and adjust settings for lighting and colors after the completion of rendering. It is easy enough for professionals and amateurs to use, and more advantages are to be discovered by yourself.


#3. Chaos Corona



Pricing: Free trial

OS: Windows, macOS


As one of the newest free 3D rendering software in the market, Chaos Corona (formerly Corona Renderer) is no doubt doing a good job as a renderer. What makes it stand out is its deep integration with 3ds Max and Cinema 4D. This gives its users the full freedom to employ any 3D models without worrying compatibility with your devices.

Meanwhile, this free 3D rendering program has incredible processing speed. This is because Chaos Corona is a CPU-based engine. With a wide range of lighting effects and materials selection, it becomes one of the best rendering software for architectural visualization.


#4. Artlantis



Pricing: Free trial

OS: Windows, macOS


This free 3D rendering software was developed to deliver superior project renderings, VR scenes and even animation. With its management tools, Artlantis is compatible with various programs, such as ArchiCAD, SketchUpPro, Autodesk Revit Architecture, etc. Also, the elements of Artlantis Media make it more convenient to establish a simulated scene close to the realistic environment.

To work with different objects, it consists of two versions: Artlantis Render and Artlantis Studio. If you merely want to create high-quality architectural renderings, the former version can definitely satisfy you. For additional needs, you can use the latter version to complete the projects like animations, VR objects and iVisit 3D panoramas. In all, Artlantis is a perfect tool for different people including architects, interior/landscape designers, urban planners, etc.


#5. Verge 3D



Pricing: Free

OS: Windows, macOS, Linux


Different from many 3D rendering software, this real-time rendering software applies WebGL technology. It is more suitable for users who expect to display their 3D works in an interactive form online. For example, 3D presentations, materials for education, portfolios for studios, etc. As far, users can use Verge 3D together with some modeling programs including Blender, Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya.


#6. Sweet Home 3D



Pricing: Free

OS: Windows, macOS, Linux


This is an open-source software particularly suitable for beginners/students. On the one hand, it provides a full list of furniture model samples for free, which is helpful to work with interior rendering. On the other hand, it is important to view the space before making decisions on any rearrangement of furniture. This best free rendering program supports to create new interiors and exteriors correspondingly in a short time. As a result, users can view and adjust promptly without spending extra time.


#7. Houdini Apprentice



Pricing: Free

OS: Windows, macOS, Linux


As a free version of Houdini FX, it offers access to all of Houdini FX’s virtual functions. By using Houdini Education, you can import any scene files and get higher-resolution renderings without a watermark. Actually, it is also a mature software supporting different processes like 3D modeling, rendering, post-composition, simulation and animation. To improve the rendering effect, this free rendering program allows to work with Mantra, Render Man and some other renderers. More specifically, this software contains rich light sources, many light shades, a large material library and a set of tools for the use of surround sound.


#8. Render Man



Pricing: Free for students

OS: Windows, macOS, Linux


In this free rendering software, there are no watermarks or limitations as it should be for non-commercial use. This 3D rendering software has to be mentioned because it is Pixar’s free version. With its advantages of shading, lighting and rendering, it works with Cinema4D and Houdini. Its plugins can work with some major rendering program such as 3ds Max, Rhino, Blender, etc. Meanwhile, Render Man team developed a user community for discussion and sharing of your architectural projects.




Now we can easily find that there is still some free but full-fledged rendering software. If you are interested in any software above, please check our wrap-up for key information. Once finding the most suitable one, you will better enjoy the process of creating wonderful renderings for your projects. Of course, it will be of greater possibility to make your architectural designs more enchanted and unforgettable.

  • Blender: All-in-one modeling, rendering, animation software;
  • SketchUp Free: Best modeling tool;
  • Chaos Corona: Fast processing rendering software;
  • Artlantis: Standard 3D modeling and rendering software;
  • Verge 3D: Best interactive 3D rendering software;
  • Sweet Home 3D: Best interior 3D rendering software for beginners;
  • Houdini Apprentice: Overall 3D modeling & rendering program;
  • Render Man: Best 3D rendering software for all purposes.


Last but not least, we use some of the software for our architectural visualization projects. If you are looking for a reliable ArchViz studio for your project, welcome to contact us at any time!

5 Frustrating Trends to Avoid in Architectural Visualization

5 Frustrating Trends to Avoid in Architectural Visualization

More recently, with many powerful 3D visualization tools at disposal, architects fully show their nature of using design to tell a vivid story. 3D rendered works (images, videos and so on) bring a space that’s yet to be built to an entirely new level where clients can see the dream behind it. They blur the lines between reality and future, helping architects express their ideas in a more digestible way and leading to a larger number of sales.

However, the course of architectural visualization is time-consuming and fiddly, which requires meticulous attention to detail. Some architects may behave poorly in conveying their design when doing with the complicated projects, particularly facing tight deadlines and hectic schedules. To complete the task more quickly and simply, the results tend to be full of platitudes with little innovation, unable to have the same effect as expected. It is even possible to make annoying mistakes. To be frank, it is really common in the art of rendering. Even skill professionals can be in such a dilemma.

How to avoid mediocre performance and clichéd mistakes? We could never eliminate risks, but the clear and precise cognition could attenuate it. To help you gain a foothold in the rat race of architectural visualization, we have made a checklist of 5 most common misconceptions before, during and after visualization. Below, let’s learn together!


1. Overloading your renderings with busy details

Although the saying goes, “Success is in the details”, going too far is as bad as falling short. So does the architecture industry. Promoting the “less is more” style, the industry taste prefers using simplicity and minimalism to present design concepts. We should know that 3D renderings are conducted in the service of design to communicate the ideal character and tone of the architecture in the architects’ minds. Showing too much for perfection will result in some ambiguous or messy-looking images, which clouds the main focus intended to show. Remember, keep the right balance in all aspects of your composition. It will make it easier to evoke clients’ enthusiasm. If you’re not sure, please ask your archviz consultant for a second opinion. Their feedbacks allow you to improve and perfect the visuals.


2. Reusing a lot of stock elements

In the era of mass production, many people go with the flow of the crowd and can copy others’ contents. Nevertheless, only the unique works will be more likely to be memorized. It’s important for your visuals to have a personal touch. This should be also reflected in the elements within your renderings, such as scale figures. Some architects overlook it and recycle the stock elements in different images. Of course, these readily and freely available materials are definitely suitable for creation. But repetitive contents might distract the viewers and dilute their feeling of excitement and anticipation.

What we mean is not against the free-to-download collections. But for the best visual effect, we have a great library of original design elements to avoid duplication. In addition, we keep a record of the used stock images to a certain client and the ones that are prevalent in 3D visualization. You can also take a picture of your staff and family. The materials in this way are always fresh and easy to match resolutions.


3. Adopting inappropriate atmospheres

If the rendering is a song, the story it tells is the emotion of music and the created atmosphere is the style of singing. The first step towards a lifelike image is to find the right style based on your architectural concept. The style you choose can remarkably improve or weaken the quality of visualization. Sometimes somber and oppressive atmospheres are used to make images more stunning and melancholier. In fact, not every building fits this tone. Mismatched atmospheres make it difficult to explain the ideas and strike a responsive chord. Hence, make sure to choose the right tone is passing on positive feelings rather than strange ones.


4. Dissipating your energy in trivial matters

Making a wonderful rendering is a long, complicated and dull process. It means we have to streamline our tasks by planning and setting priorities. After all, one’s energy and time is limited. So don’t be a perfectionist who gets stuck on unimportant details which hurt little significant essentials. For example, though rendering artists work in 3D, the final picture is shown from 2D perspective. And some modeling details may not be noticed. Therefore, it’s not sensible to work on trivial matters at a last-minute dash. You must make greater efforts on things that are in focus.


5. Wrongly drawing your design inspiration

Improper execution is one of the common points where architects go wrong. Owing to a wide range of rendering styles and techniques, some of them are prone to blend various types of elements mistakenly or don’t know how to use them accurately. Different types of elements have their own requirements. Only when they are integrated well, will they achieve a harmonious combination which allows you to make the most of an inspiration. Otherwise, your end product may lose the ability of proving your design concept.


We hope these suggestions can guide you to avoid some frustrating trends in architectural visualization. If you’re interested in the art of 3D rendering, follow up our blogs and consult our professional 3D architectural visualization studio about your exciting projects. We’re here to help move your ideas into reality!

3 Examples where ArchViz Can Optimize your Real Estate Marketing

3 Examples where ArchViz Can Optimize your Real Estate Marketing

It doesn’t matter if you’re an architectural startup, or a small business owner, it is difficult to stand out and attract new clients and projects in such a crowded industry. For industrial giants, it’s usually okay to assign budgets on marketing. However, being a small business means limited budget on marketing in most of the cases.

Fortunately, it is a VISUAL world. Today, the architecture language is not about the design only, but also about visual stories they are telling and presentations on social media. In a word, it’s about HOW the architecture being demonstrated.

Architectural Visualization (aka. ArchViz) is no doubt the most excellent way to market your business. AIMIR, as an ArchViz veteran, is happy to share with you 3 examples why we say that.


ArchViz Help Design the Undesigned

If you have no idea when to come to an ArchViz professional, this project will tell you the answer: whenever. Yes, you can speak to an ArchViz studio when you just have a rough conceptual design. Check the Royal Manor Residential Project:

A single sketch was the only file when starting the project.

A 3-story residential building in Canada is in need of 3D visualization. However, the design is not finished. AIMIR built the model based on the sketch above, and redesigned with our client together.

Final rendering.

Try to image the marketing result difference between the original sketch and the final 3D rendering. Which do you think is better? I guess there is no second answer.

Another great thing about ArchViz is that the design can be changed during the production. It is a feature of both time- and cash-saving that most ArchViz users are fond of.

The design had changed a couple of times during the production of 3D rendering.

A photorealistic 3D rendering of this apartment makes it efficient, attractive and most importantly, will sell.


ArchViz Help Build a Professional Portfolio

You shouldn’t stop at it but a professional portfolio is one of the things that will help your real estate business become a successful one. Thus, this is the best way to attract right audience to create lucrative opportunities.

What’s more, the portfolio is not just a collection of your best works ever. It is the path to finding potential clients by attracting the targeted type of audience. Check the Reizen Residence Project:

Final rendering


A 2-story house under renovation. Our client is a professional architect who is specialized in designing and constructing homes. He came to us and hope to get some renderings to fill his portfolio – to tell his clients that he is an expert in renovating as well.

By saving a lot of efforts and money, these renderings helped a lot in selling this property. At the same time, they provided a strong demonstration of our client’s mastery and skills as this will surely and without doubt encourage his potential clients to get in touch with him.


ArchViz Help Demonstrate the Unbuilt

It is one thing to have a beautifully designed apartment building in a sought-after location with luxury units, but it is entirely a different thing to have hyperrealistic images of this property before the foundation if poured. This particular feature makes ArchViz especially invaluable to real estate agents and developers.

The fact is, people won’t buy if they haven’t seen the property; city council won’t approve if they haven’t had an explicit idea of the design and plan. As a result, to make things faster, ArchViz is the best choice. Check the Naladhu Ocean House Project:

AIMIR’s 3D renderings on the official website where visitors can book for this private island.

A developer were looking for 3D renderings for a private island in Maldives. The island was under renovation, and they wanted to show the future look of the island for marketing. They would use the renderings on the booking website, newsletter, and local newspaper.


The above examples have summarized how ArchViz optimize marketing for real estate industry. If you are an architect, designer, constructor, developer, or agent, and are looking for top-notch 3D architectural visualization works, please don’t hesitate to talk with AIMIR!

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