Archiform 3D

Architectural Renderings

Demystifying the rendering process

The process of 3D architectural rendering is completely misunderstood by most of our clients. That is because it doesn't follow any other artwork process, requiring a whole new set of skills and process to to be learnt.

Architectural rendering, which used to refer only to hand painted artwork, is now more commonly known for 3D artwork. Although the words are the same the process of 3D architectural rendering couldn't be more different to hand painted work. Note that we have also included on this website a brief history of architectural illustration through to 3D architectural renderings.

Hand painted architectural renderings are set up, colored and lit on a flat surface. 3D architectural renderings are set up as virtual reality scenes inside a computer and then through intense calculations an image is created. The process of these calculations is called "rendering". If the terms we use are getting confusing then you can use the glossary below as an aid.

A 3D wireframe view prioer to shading or rendering A 3D wireframe scene is created. This can be likened to a building made from matchsticks. All faces and structural elements are in place but no materials, colors or lighting. This is well prior to a finished architectural rendering.
A shaded view proper to lighting and rendering Then we apply colors and textures to the surfaces, such as floor coverings, fabrics to the sofas, etc. This still doesn't look like artwork but it's taking shape. We can still move objects around and make any alteration needed during this process. The architectural rendering has the items needed in place but still doesn't look finished.
A final 3D architectural rendered view The scene is then lit and rendered. This process takes a lot of computer time but the results are lifelike. Your architectural rendering now looks real and is ready for sales and visualization.

The graphic above shows the three different architectural rendering-image stages. Notice that when shifting from shaded view to rendered view a line moves down the screen. This is similar to what the architectural artist actually sees when rendering an image. The speed at which the line moves down the screen depends on the complexity of the scene and the speed of the computer. Sometimes that line can take hours to move down and complete the architectural rendered image!

NEXT Alterations to Architectural Renderings >

Modern terms relating to architectural renderings >

Where to use architectural renderings and when to order >

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