Realistic 3D Rendering – Step by Step Process

3D rendering is visible all around us in today’s digital world. It has become a part of the essential industries in the world. It has indeed come a long way, and it is here to stay because it has gone through significant advancements and modifications and will continue to improve with the times

It has now become a norm to create hyper-realistic animations, visualizations, and images. Anything is possible, and it is even a bit tough to differentiate between the real world and the virtual space. It is present in almost every industry, especially architecture, construction, gaming, entertainment, marketing e.t.c

This technology allows artists or creatives to show the world a sneak peek into their minds so that everyone understands it. 3D rendering is a form of communication between the artists and the rest of the world, and to understand the process involved, let’s clear up some basic things concerning 3D rendering.

projects 3D Renderings

3D Rendering: The Basics

3D rendering represents objects in a 2-dimensional medium such as a computer wireframe model, manipulating the materials, shadows, texture, lighting, and color to create realistic photo images called renders. A practical result of 3D renders is in the fantastic animations we see on television. The process for 3D rendering will be explained in three simple steps.

The first step is to lay down the sketches with flat geometric shapes, which are then coupled to form polygons in modeling.

Next, the models are manipulated or tweaked using numerous software tools to create a raw version of the final design known as a natural wireframe. This process is called 3D model manipulation.

Finally, the basic wireframe is edited with filters, artificial light sources, shadow, texture, and color to project all the 3D render features.

Since we now have 3D rendering basics out of the way, let’s see the applications.

3D Rendering Step by Step Process

Animation and 3D Rendering: The Applications

In almost every primary industry, the applications of 3D animations and rendering are evident. This technology has a high appeal quotient, especially to the modern generation, and a driving factor for any industry’s success.

They are unique tools for special effects and processing/rendering whole environments with a high level of hyper-realism in entertainment.

In the world of architecture and construction, 3D rendering took a lot of stress off these professionals, so they no longer have to engage in the time-consuming and energy-draining process of draw blueprints by hand. It also allows them to perform more efficiently by letting their creative juices flow smoothly and give more details to their work. It doesn’t end there, as communication between client and professional is made more accessible with virtual tours, animated and illustrated views of the project to explain concepts to clients further.

3D rendering is also an essential tool in interior design as it brings to life a particular space and gives a lived-in experience.

With this understanding, we will see how a simple sketch can be turned into a realistic 3D rendering.

Animation and 3D Rendering Application

3D rendering is a technology

Step-by-Step Guide to Realistic 3D Rendering

We can safely say that 3D rendering is a form of virtual photography since it entails skill and expertise in lighting and staging scenes to capture realistic photo images.

The step by step process to create such photography is listed below:

1. Client:

Understanding the client is the first step in this process. The client must be pleased; else, the project is a failed one. So, you must fully understand the needs of the client before commencing the project. If necessary, ask every possible question and get as much information on the project as possible (reference images, sketches, plans, etc.), even those that are seemingly stupid, to ensure that you get this first step right.
Once you’ve gathered all the necessary data, the next step is to conceptualize the client’s ideas.

2. Project design and analysis

Many people may feel that this aspect is not necessary. Still, it speeds up the project’s process because it outlines every requirement, including texture and color specifications, and the significant points to focus on. After the careful analysis is done, it will be easier to move to the next stage, the design phase.

3. 3D modeling

Next, the design or 3D modeling process begins. As mentioned before, it starts with basic geometrical shapes, coupled to have polygons, and then individual elements that are then placed correctly gives a glimpse of the final work.
Textures, materials, and colors are then added, giving more detail to work, and depending on the choice of software, a detailed library is available to aid or simplify this process. This is a crucial part of the work as the degree of photorealism of the end product depends on how well the textures and colors are manipulated to create the desired effect.

4. Lighting, 3D rendering, and refining

This aspect requires a great deal of skill in understanding light and shadow and its principles because the goal is to bring the final project as close to reality as possible. It also requires deep consideration and creativity to achieve the desired ambiance. If appropriately manipulated, it will not only keep your client happy and satisfied; it will be your comparative advantage over other artists. The most important thing in 3D rendering or the end of it all is how close to reality the final product is attained.

Time is also an essential factor, but you must note that quality time must be invested to get a quality outcome.

Lastly, feedback from the client is the end game. This is where all the final corrections and last-minute alterations are made.


3D rendering is a technology that has come to stay and the more the advancement in technology, the more detailed and complex it will become. However, its contributions to various industries are welcome and highly appreciated with anticipation for further improvements.


Innovations in 3D Rendering Technology

3D Rendering has been a revolution of software turnaround in the architectural industry. It has shown the advancement of technology takeover in almost every sector in which the construction world has not been left out. With 3D visualization, architects and real estate firms have explored innovations around it to construct tasty millennial buildings. The reality is that 3D visualization has brought more efficiency and result; it has helped architects to solve what looks like mystery in 2D.

With the breakthrough of 3D visualization technology, image, video, graphics, and presentation have been upgraded. Thus, architectural companies are now making designs that customers are easily convinced, and this is due to innovations that come with the software. Here are the five prominent innovation of 3D Visualization.

Cloud Computing

This technology allows you to outsource power with an online cloud computing service if there is no access or limited access to a server within your locale. Although it is expensive and recently became available to individuals and freelancers to enhance their work quality, it is a significant improvement from what existed before. Unlike before, when producing high-quality, rendered images had a very tiring procedure with unpredictable results.


3D visuals

Innovations in 3D Rendering

Quantum Computing

One of the most significant assets to any rendering artist would be a computer functioning at a fast pace that will process data and respond to commands exponentially faster than currently existing. In theory, quantum computing uses quantum phenomena such as superposition and entanglement, to perform computation (Wikipedia). Even though this technology is still far from being commonly used, its importance should be noted for designers and other rendering artists.

3D Printing

For architects, model making has always been an essential aspect of design because they give their clients a miniature physical representation of their system that is not within the digital or virtual realms. However, the modeling methods have changed from the traditional use of modeling equipment to the use of 3D printers. This innovation in 3D printing technology has significantly simplified the process of making models. Architects and designers no longer use them in presentations only but also to aid the design process that invariably results in better designs because it opens up the mind of the designer and sheds new light on the project when the designer sees a physical representation of what could only be viewed on the computer screen.

3D visualization for architects and real estate firms

3d rendering technology 2021

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality was brought to reality by Facebook and Google and has been mainstream, especially now that the world is still reeling from the pandemic. Virtual reality in 3D visuals has helped to generate realistic images through a multi-projected environment. Designers and rendering artists have used it to present the mind-blowing project to their clients, making it look like they have advanced in their work. The effect created by the VR headset has helped them to change construction and design outlook.

To create or stimulate a users’ physical presence in a virtual environment aided by sounds, realistic images, and other sensations, top-notch virtual reality systems currently use either multi-projected settings or virtual reality headsets. Virtual reality equipment allows the user to explore the virtual world as he would do in reality by allowing movement and interaction with the other virtual elements. This effect is achieved mostly with head-mounted display devices such as VR headsets consisting of a small screen, although they can also be achieved through an improvised means, a customized room with different large screens. VR also uses additional sensory and force feedback, mainly auditory and video feedback, although through haptic technology.

Real-Time Rendering

Real-Time Rendering, also called RTR, has been in existence for a while. This technology has been used in industries like the video game industry, etc. to allow real-time experiences for the players giving them livid visualizations. This technology is now being transferred to the architectural world to create real-time experiences that enable clients to have a lived-in feel of a proposed design. It further deepens the degree of immersion into the project design when combined with VR. The only downside to this technology will be the cost, which is why it hasn’t fully been maximized in the architectural world.

The relevance of 3D rendering in exterior architecture design

The relevance of 3D rendering to any architecture project is irreplaceable. If you check, nothing beats being able to visualize a project even before it has been built in reality or spot problems or issues and fix them in the design phase, averting their occurrence in reality. How about its usefulness in marketing and advertising? It serves as a medium of communication between client and architect in the most straightforward language that both parties can understand.
This article explains in great detail its relevance to architecture.

Sneak-peak into the project in real-time

With the aid of rendering software, it is possible to view a project as if it has already been built, recreating the surroundings and other outdoor elements precisely as it will be in real life. The help of high-definition textures, light effects, color, and other features produces a hyper-realistic image of the project, making it easy to relate with and understand. This makes it very easy for clients to be enticed and attracted to the designs and make purchases because they can see the final output. You will get an image of the project from one view and in multiple views, walkthrough, etc.

professional 3D Architectural Rendering for real estate

Reveals design problems

Sometimes, a paper on paper may seem perfect and flawless but may have some issues that may only be seen when built. 3D rendering takes away that factor as it minimizes such occurrences. It reveals problems that a 2D drawing will never tell. A typical example will be the famous walkie-talkie building in London.

The skyscraper’s unique shape makes it one of the most famous landmarks in the city, but the architect didn’t think about the changing seasons. Its curved shape doesn’t cause any problems most of the time, but the towering side reflects the sun down to the streets for three weeks. That raises the street temperature so much, car tires deflate, plastic parts melt, and people can cook eggs on the concrete.

3D rendering will save the cost of identifying the problems after it has been built and trying to correct it. It ensures the best possible design before construction takes place.

Easier Presentations

3D rendering is a communication tool. They are to present what visual aids are to the classroom. They guarantee effective visualization of the project to investors, clients, etc. 3D rendering helps to show the world the image in the designer’s mind in great detail, much better than drawings and models, especially for designs that are not conventional and difficult to imagine. 3D rendering is the medium we can use to see the future because they look like real pictures. It’s a fantastic tool to blow the mind of the investors and sell designs with ease.

3D rendering is a cost-effective


Before now, in the absence of 3D rendering, architects had to re-design projects by hand when corrections were made to the initial design. It takes about the same time it takes to complete the initial design, and of course, the costs involved were doubled. 3D rendering is a cost-effective way of designing because it allows for almost instantaneous upgrades at practically no cost or even upgrading the buildings in reality.

Marketing prowess

Marketing is a big deal to any business or industry, including the architecture industry, and nothing comes close to closing a deal like 3D rendering. In today’s business world, where everyone is looking for a competitive advantage, 3D rendering proves to be effective when used as an advantage over one’s competition. Your renders have the power to attract the right people depending on the amount of effort you put into it and what you want to achieve. People are attracted to your work based on two significant factors; ability to pay attention to details and what your style represents. With this, you can build a reputation for yourself and attract the crowd that you desire. It is the easiest way to promote a new design or project or even yourself as an architect.

Ease of access to creative juice

Visualizing your design during the design process is a sure way to open your mind up to new ideas and innovations. It will bring you to notice things that you did not initially see or intend, giving you multiple views of the design in progress. Corrections and modifications can be made on the go, and clients can also visualize the project and make inputs. It is so unique that you don’t even have to start over to make these modifications in making changes.

3D exterior render

visualize exterior relates to the landscape and surrounding elements

Architects can visualize how the exterior relates to the landscape and surrounding elements

For a 3D exterior render, the building only makes up one part, and the surroundings make up the other part. Otherwise, the building will exist in isolation. 3D rendering allows you to take a few photos of the surrounding area and implement the renders in realistic settings. This is one of the most useful attributes of 3D rendering. 3D rendering takes out trying to create visual images in the mind of what should be and what shouldn’t be and allows everyone to see what the building or design will look like.

Better understanding by building team.

The entire building, including the engineers, surveyors, designers, software professionals, and the client, needs to maintain a good understanding of the project among themselves. The 3D render serves as a language where everyone understands, thus enhancing communication and knowledge in the building team. This also speeds up the design process when everyone is working in sync and at the same pace.

They leverage on the Emotions of Clients

3D renders can look 100% real if done correctly, allowing the architect to evoke emotions from the client or everyone who sees them. Every person likes to appreciate anything aesthetically pleasing, and 3D rendering helps designers leverage this appeal to beautiful things. Nothing can bring an investor closer to a project than a 3D render as they have a lived-in experience of the building or design.


From all angles, the relevance of 3D rendering has been proven without any doubt as a game-changer in the world of architecture. It has simplified the design process from drawing with large sheets by hand to designing small and big scale projects using rendering soft-wares and producing realistic visualizations of the project to be appreciated by everyone.