3D Rendering

Google and Sony Discuss Collaboration on OpenCue Rendering Software Manager

There’s no denying that today’s world is mostly based on visuals. If we take a look at the internet or architecture, everything is image-driven and everything revolves around the visual experience. That's why Google and Sony jointly announced a new rendering force, OpenCue.

Architects are already using the most amazing 3D visual rendering software to create almost real visualizations of their clients’ ideas and walk them through their creations in a virtual reality environment.

So, it’s safe to say, the big names in the business industry like Sony and Google will make all efforts necessary to push the limits even further when it comes to visual effects.

Visual effects rendering is extremely expensive, as it takes an incredibly huge server farm to house all those machines needed for the task.

To understand what it is that we’re talking about, let’s take the example of the movie Avatar. Weta Digital had to find the space for 40,000 processors that were needed to process up to eight gigabytes of data per second every day.

The only place that could house all those machines was a 10,000-square-foot server farm. The machines working every day, the farm alone, those are all large expenses.

With all that in mind, giants like Google and Sony decided to join forces and come up with a more efficient and simply put, better way to produce the same, if not even better effects. And they did.

Their solution involves cloud technology. That's why the companies joined together to announce OpenCue, a high performance and open source rendering software manager that has the capability of scaling up to millions of shots if given the suitable hybrid cloud environment.

High demand requires an adequate solution

Content production, or more precisely, visual content production continues to grow around the world and the demand for high-quality content is higher than ever.

This is a real challenge for all visual effects studios, as they are forced to constantly find new and better ways to cope with all that demand. That’s how these studios realized that the real solution lies in the cloud.

It allows them to produce the content of the highest quality, while still keeping up with the demand and offering a cost-efficient solution.

According to the product manager at Google Cloud, Todd Prives, on-premises render farms are still the most widely used solution. However, the security and, most importantly, scalability that the cloud offers, are the right tools that a visual effects studio needs to adapt and adjust to the fast-paced and rapid global production deadlines and agendas.

If you look at this from a technical point of view and take the history Sony has in developing the most amazing software tools, it was only logical to put two and two together and come up with something of an ideal partnership.

The next step of evolution

OpenCue as an open source hybrid cloud rendering software manager is the next step in the evolution of visualization, and Sony Pictures Imageworks use it as their internal queuing system. Its predecessor, Cue 3 was already a product of technological advancement and evolution but 15 years of in-house development finally showed some real results.

This type of rendering software has already been used in the most recent animation and visual effects projects due to its amazing capability of scaling up to 150,000 cores between Google’s suite of cloud computing services GCP or Google Cloud Platform, and Sony’s on-premises data center.  

So far, this software has been used on countless movies and other similar visual projects.

OpenCue Architecture

The secret to the maddening and unlimited power of OpenCue is its most amazing and quite extraordinary architecture. Any software has one but this one is a real piece of art, a masterpiece.

It has its own tagging system so that users can easily allocate specific machine types with specific jobs within mere seconds to speed up the entire process.

Aside from that, it also supports numerous multiple concurrent machines. Now comes the really interesting part. OpenCue allows for specific jobs to be processed on a central render farm. That leaves visual effects artists and their workstations completely free for more important tasks.

To spice it up even further, each host can be split into a number of different processes where each process has its own memory requirements and reserved core.

According to the minds behind the entire thing, they wanted to allow the visual effects studios to fully realize and use the power and all the advantages of GCP as well as the scale in order to create the most extraordinary visual content.

As of 24th of January, 2019, all documentation, executables, and the entire OpenCue source code are available on GitHub, along with all sample projects and tutorials forthcoming.

The first foray of GCP into the visual effects industry

When it comes to the visual effects industry, GCP has been around for quite some time now. The Mountain View company acquired Zync Render, a rendering service that made cloud-based effects rendering possible and easier, back in 2014.

While this was a proven success, as it successfully rendered scenes in blockbuster movies, commercials, and feature films, Google needed something even more powerful.

They rolled out Google Cloud Filestore and a cloud GCP region in Los Angeles in 2015, with the main goal aimed at managing NAS, a network attached storage service for rendering software applications, as such apps require a shared file data system and a file system interface.

Features

Since this open source render software manager has been built specifically for a wide variety of needs of the animation and visual effects industry, it has the most remarkable features. These features include:

● A limitless number of processes a single task can have.

● Integrated automated booking.

● The ability to split each host into a number of processes.

● An individual reserved core for each process.

● Individual memory requirements for each process.

● Support for hybrid, cloud, on-premises, and multi-facility deployments.

● Native multi-threading that supports Arnold, Prman, and Katana.

● Tasks are processed on a central render farm so that each visual effects artist has a free workstation.

● The ability to allocate specific tasks to adequate machine types via tagging systems.

● A highly-scalable software architecture capable of supporting multiple concurrent machines.

So, as we can see, Google has been bringing video-on-demand and live video and editing analytics, as well as an end-to-end, fully managed platform for video processing and so much more to GCP for quite some time now.

The end result of this cooperation is a render manager that will create a revolution in the animation and visual effects industry and make things we only dreamed of possible.

Movies like Avatar are just the beginning, as there are already video games with unreal graphics that are taking the world by storm.

Visualization will continue to improve and evolve, and we can expect even more powerful render software managers in the future if this collaboration proves to be a fruitful one, which it already has.

One thing is for sure: visual effects studios that can keep up with the recent trends and changes will succeed, but those that can’t will have a very hard time competing in the following years.

3D Rendering Techniques – 5 Tips to Help You Streamline The Entire Process

If you have ever struggled to finish your projects because you lacked time, or if you have been unsatisfied with the quality of your renders, don't despair because we have found an easy way to help you achieve the best results.

One of the most common concerns among architects and 3D visualizers is the invested time/end product ratio.

The modern environment enables architects to use various software solutions, as well as numerous rendering techniques, including advanced tools designed for the entire process of rendering – starting from pre-production to post-production. The well-balanced ratio between three crucial phases of architectural rendering is the key to hyper-realistic end products.

Very often, there is not enough time to invest in each phase of the visualization. Instead of placing unfinished visualizations in front of a client or investor, architects found a way to streamline the entire process, without reducing the quality.

Well, if you have struggled to finish your projects on time, or if you have ever been in a situation where you passed off your low-quality project, you know how hard the life of an architect can be. Right there is an intersection that will direct your future progress.

You can choose the path of least resistance, and decrease the quality of your work, or you can streamline the entire process. Plan B can bring you higher earnings and better engagement with clients and investors, so it's obvious what you should choose.

We have prepared some tips for you to help you learn what is important for a high-quality render. Besides, our tips will help facilitate the entire process of rendering. We'll try to include everything, starting from the idea development to post-production! Enjoy and get ready to learn how to make your job a lot easier!

1. Detailed elaborate your idea

Before you start the process of pre-production (3D modeling), you should invest all your efforts in idea development. Using a piece of paper and a pen, or some of the advanced tech tools, you should sketch your idea. Using modern tools, you'll be able to sketch your idea directly at the construction site.

Within a few taps over your smartphone, you'll be able to share your idea with clients and investors in real time. That way, you won't waste your time on unnecessary details. Moreover, you'll see if your idea is good enough. The 3D model from your imagination can be significantly different in reality.

Just sketch everything in front of your client and discuss possible modifications. That way, you'll avoid eventual corrections in some phase of rendering or 3D modeling, and you'll save both your and your client's time and money.

Although this isn't a rendering technique, this bit of advice is a foundation for further development of your successful projects.

2. Pre-production is crucial for good renders

Before you start thinking about rendering, you should finish every tiny detail during the pre-production process. The quality of renders and time you must invest in post-production directly depend on the complexity of your 3D model.

If you try to save your time during the process of pre-production, you’ll significantly decrease the level of realism, which further means that you'll invest much more time in post-production, and the results will never be good enough.

Furthermore, you can download and pre-created segments add to your 3D model. Whether you are working on the visualization of interior design, facades of a building or an urban plan, you'll increase the level of reliability if you add some existing elements.

Manufacturers from various architecture-related industries offer 3D models of their furniture or architectural elements such as windows, etc.

So, adding pre-created models isn't cheating. If you follow this advice, you'll streamline the entire process, and you'll convince clients and investors that you know how to do your job.

3. Try to combine various rendering software solutions

Well, available technology and numerous rendering and 3D modeling programs enabled architects to combine certain tools and platforms.

If you look better, you'll see that the majority of these software solutions are compatible, which means that you can use the suitable programs and combine them to produce the best possible renders.

Also, you should learn how to use as many programs as possible, because you should use different software for various types of architectural rendering. If one program is excellent for interior design rendering, that doesn't ordinarily mean that you can achieve the same results for urban planning visualizations.

If you invest your time in learning 3D modeling and rendering programs, you won't waste your time, but you'll actually become a better 3D visualizer. Knowledge always pays off!

Moreover, VR and AR tools are everywhere around us. If you're interested in using such equipment, it will be possible only if you get used to detailed 3D modeling. Letting a client see every single part of your scene without finishing them would be a shame!

4. Keep it simple

After you finish the 3D model, the process of rendering can start. Well, it can't start immediately, but you're one huge step closer. It's time for materialization and lighting! The complexity of the 3D model will affect the time of rendering, but the most important factors are texturing and lighting.

Instead of wasting a bunch of time setting the low-quality materials, create your own base of useful and high-quality textures and use only them. With your own library, you won't waste time searching for a perfect match, and you'll facilitate the entire process of setting up a model for rendering.

You'll save lots of time because you won't waste your time setting up some basic parameters such as a bump, glossiness, refract, diffuse, roughness, depth. Besides, high-quality textures are easier to process, which automatically decreases the time of rendering.

The similar rule is applicable for lighting. If you keep using the same lighting methods like for previous projects, whether it's related to the interior design, exterior design or urban planning, you'll decrease the time required for setting up lighting parameters. The option ''As in the previous project'' is available in the majority of rendering programs.

Extra tip: If you don't have enough time to wait for the entire process of rendering, you should choose software such as Lumion and gain high-quality images within a few minutes.

5. Sometimes, post-production isn't required

If you manage to complete the visualization perfectly using the right software, you'll save your time and energy and avoid the entire process of post-production. For example, if you choose Lumion for rendering, you can use pre-created scenes with the sky, sun, and landscape settings, so you can forget all about PhotoShop.

Lumion is one of the best software tools for urban planning visualizations because you can add all the necessary elements, such as trees, plants, buildings, etc. Besides, the latest version allows users to add their models in a real environment.

On the other hand, if you choose the golden combination of 3ds Max and V-Ray for the interior design, the only post-editing will be adding the landscape visible through the windows.

So, if you can do it correctly at the beginning, you'll be able to skip some steps, and no one will even notice!

If you must invest some efforts in post-production, then you should do it smart! Instead of trying to improve the entire render, try to highlight lighting and contrast, simply increase the brightness, and take advantage of imperfections. Instead of hiding faults, you should highlight them too, in order to achieve a higher level of realism. Look around, perfection doesn't exist!

The bottom line

Let's try to summarize all this information! The most important for achieving good renders is the process of pre-production. If you are skilled enough, the remaining process will run smoothly.

As long as you're using tools and programs you know how to use, the entire rendering process will be simple for you. Never use advanced software before you're sure that you have gained enough knowledge. The best rendering techniques are those with which you are familiar!

You can always streamline the process of architectural visualization if you skip some steps, but if you want to achieve the best quality with the least effort, you should use tools and equipment provided by modern technology. As technology develops, the entire industry of architectural rendering is becoming better. Stay up to date with modern solutions and never stop learning!

Do you have some tips that can simplify the process of architectural rendering? If you have any idea, share your opinions in the comments!

How to Achieve Photo-Realistic 3D Renders in 2019 and Beyond

What are the most important things to have in mind when creating photo-realistic 3D renders? Find out what you should do and what you should focus on when creating the best 3D renders in 2019 and beyond.

Venturing into the world of photo-realistic 3D renders is a difficult thing to do. There are a lot of things to keep in mind, and it takes a lot of trial and error until you get it right. But the end result is worth it. When done correctly, it will take a while for people to realize that it’s a 3D render and not the real thing.

3D renders are extremely useful in many industries, from gaming and entertainment to architecture and construction. Adding photorealism to your renders will not only impress your clients, but it will also keep you competitive in the coming years.

So, take a look at the most important things you should keep in mind when you enter the world of photo-realistic 3D rendering:

First Thing’s First

Think big - what is the overall concept? Are you trying to design a single object, a room of a house, the whole building? What style is your client looking for? Do you want the style to be modern, traditional, vintage?

Make sketches and consider carefully what you want to materialize with your 3D render. At this time, you want to have as much visual information as possible so that you can create a concept in your mind for what you want the end result to look like.

You want to ensure that you and your client are on the same page and that your product meets the client’s expectations in the end.

References

Once you have a clear idea in mind, find as many objects as you can for references. Look for real pictures online, or if you’re trying to design a bookshelf, for example, examine the one you have in your room.

It’s best to get an exact idea of how something looks like in reality. Examine it from all sides. How does the light hit it? How does it look like under different light sources? Where are the shadows? How different is it under indoor lighting and in the natural light?

When you have something that provides you with a clear picture, and something that you can physically examine, it’s much easier to render it in 3D. It gives you ideas on how you can improve it in your design, what kind of texture the object will need, and it’s a great reference point for all photo-realistic designs.

Design the Scene

Now is the time to actually start on your 3D render. Keep to the basics. If you’re designing a room, for example, start with a primitive cube and add the basic architecture- walls, doors, and windows. Decide whether you want to have indoor lighting or not.

Once you have the architectural design in place, it’s time to add 3D accessories and focus on the interior design.

Consider the design as a whole and think about where you want which object to go. All elements at this stage should be basic. Create the major components, and don’t focus on the details just yet. Your design is anything but photo-realistic here, but just be patient.

Asymmetry and Imperfection

We all strive for perfection, but to make your photo-realistic 3D render truly perfect, you have to leave room for irregularities and mistakes.

There’s no perfection in the real world, objects aren’t completely clean and glossy, nothing is completely symmetrical. Have that in mind when creating your designs.

Add cracks and scratches to the fine china, leave some dirt on the floors, cracks in the ceiling, crooked pictures on the walls. Adding some irregularities and that human touch is what makes the designs appear real.

Whether you’re trying to photo-realistically render a person or a man-made object, there’s no such thing as perfect symmetry in the real world. So, there’s no need for you to spend hours and hours trying to make it all symmetrical. Realism comes from the irregularities.

Bevel

There are almost never razor-sharp edges in nature, and there should be no sharp objects in your photo-realistic 3D renders either. Even man-made objects sometimes have a certain roundness to them, so beveling your designs is a must.

Sharp edges make everything seem fake, and your design will be just another 3D render. Beveling adds that layer of realism that you want. The real difference, however, will be seen once you add the proper lighting. If your designs are beveled, you will see them come to life, the highlights and shadows will come together, and everything will fit properly.

Depth of Field

The blurred background effect is something we usually get from real-life photography. That’s why adding the depth of field to your photo-realistic 3D renders will take you that extra mile and create a more realistic design.

It’s an excellent tool when you want to emphasize or isolate certain objects, and it makes your scenes appear as if they were photographed.

Lighting

The key element of photo-realism is the lighting. Just like in paintings and photographs, you have to find the perfect lighting to make your subjects pop.

Add some colors to your designs, and add the basic light. Before you create textures and materials, it’s best to see how the light would affect the objects in their most basic form. Adding light early on will save you time because you can experiment with different light sources and angles before you commit.

Often, we will have more than one light source in our 3D renders, so your best bet is to start small. Create the first light and see how it affects the scene. Make the first light source exactly how you want it to look in the final design before you move on to the next source. If you test your lights one at a time, it will not leave much room for mistakes and problems down the line.

Also, don’t be afraid to play with dark areas. They create atmosphere and add a realistic touch to the whole design.

Setting the Mood

Lighting plays a huge part in setting the mood of your design. Do you want the scene to be set in daytime, nighttime, somewhere in between? Do you want it in direct or indirect light?

Setting the mood also means playing with the shadows. Some are darker and some lighter. Create obstacles in front of your light sources that will add more definition to the whole scene by casting shadows or dispersing the light.

For a nice final touch, you can add dust particles that are picked up by your light sources which add another dimension to the whole thing.

Textures

Textures increase the photo-realism of your 3D renders and put everything together. Even if you have the perfect illumination, if it brings to light the textures that aren’t realistic, the whole design will suffer.

Get back to your reference object and examine its texture and material. Highlight leather or wood, the materials that are easily recognizable. Even glossy objects shouldn’t have perfect reflectiveness. You can add some grit and definition to them as well.

Add reflection, glossiness, or transparency where needed and incorporate some wear and tear into your designs, but don’t overdo it. The best way to keep it subtle is to imagine which places or objects of your 3D render would be the most affected by outside circumstances in the real world, then add the required texture at appropriate places.

Using Specular Maps is a great way to add realism to your designs. This application can detect which objects are supposed to be glossy, and which aren’t based on their lightness or darkness, and you can easily adjust the level of glossiness you need.

Textures can make or break your photo-realistic 3D render, so this is where you should dedicate most of your time and effort.

Final Render

If you’ve been careful enough in designing this photo-realistic 3D render, there’s not much left for you to do. Fine-comb the image and smooth out any rough edges that you’d missed. If there are some elements floating in space, or there are objects without enough texture, this is the time to fix it.

If you decide you’d like to reposition something, you don’t have to stress about starting over from scratch. 3D rendering allows you to shift things around, change objects, remove or add some elements without starting all over.

You can add some finishing touches by calibrating the colors, making sure the contrasts are good, adding minor details, etc.

Your final product should be of the highest quality and look almost completely photo-realistic.

What’s important to remember is that photo-realistic 3D rendering is not just about the software and applications that you use. 3D rendering requires hours upon hours of training, learning, developing skills, and incorporating your artistic talents.

Without the right skills, not even the best software will be able to help you create a good photo-realistic 3D design. It’s the designers that dedicate their time and energy into creating the most perfect end result, and it’s the designers that make their 3D renders come to life.

6 Devices That Will Help You Streamline 3D Architectural Modelling

You have surely struggled to create a perfect 3Dmodel because of the lack of equipment and tools for architectural modeling, but we're here to help you. We found six budget-friendly and helpful solutions which you will thank us for.

As technology developed to facilitate all kinds of tasks across all business fields, architects also found lots of benefits in modern tools and equipment. Besides excellent 3D modeling and rendering software, architects can select various helpful tech solutions and devices to boost their productivity and improve the level of render processing.

Since the visualization is the natural language among all nations worldwide, such devices are more helpful than it appears at first glance. The use of proper tools can help architects to improve communication with clients, as well as with investors, and even teammates.

And since architecture often implies lots of teamwork, modern tech solutions allow communication among architects even if they are working together remotely.

With that in mind, we found six devices that will help you streamline 3D architectural modeling.

1. HTC Vive Headset and Oculus Rift

The improvements of the latest modeling and rendering software solutions allow the use of VR equipment for modifying the scene or viewing the entire 3D modeled environment. One of the favorite 3D modeling and rendering software tools among architects,  Autodesk's 3ds Max, can now be connected with HTC Vive Headset or Oculus Rift VR equipment.

Thanks to advanced virtual reality headsets, architects can ''walk through'' their 3D models. Apart from being fun and increasing productivity, VR equipment connected to 3D modeling and rendering software allows clients and investors to see and ''feel'' the entire space before the works on the site start.

Unlike classic rendering, the combination of right software and VR headset can show every detail of a scene, even in real time.

As we mentioned, the VR equipment can be used during the entire process of 3D modeling, which means that an architect or 3D visualizer can also see the entire scene from all angles, and even edit the model in real time.

2. Structure Core

Although it seems similar to the mentioned VR equipment, the Structure Sensor of both VR and AR equipment is helpful to architects. Besides specified benefits, Structure Sensor allows architects to scan the objects and make 3D maps of the interior.

This is a very helpful gadget, especially in case of remodeling the existing interior design. Instead of measuring and 3D modeling the space step-by-step, this tool can do that for you in real-time.

3. Digital Drawing Board

Although computer data processing during 3D modeling has developed to the extent that you can now draw literally anything within a few clicks, hand drawing is still popular among architects. Well, the mouse cursor isn't as effective here as the pen is.

Using a digital drawing board, you can create both 3D and 2D objects in 3D modeling software. Besides, such a tool is also very helpful for the entire process of post-production.

4. Laser Distance Meter

Using the laser distance meter, the architects can achieve precise measures of both the interior and exterior. Since it can measure long distances, it's especially helpful during the process of urban planning.

Instead of unsuccessfully trying to measure the area of the entire park, you can finish all the measurements and dedicate to the creative process of urban planning and 3D modeling faster than ever before!

5. Level Measuring Device

The level measuring device can measure the difference in height of the entire terrain. This tool is incredibly helpful, and here are why. For example, if the location of your next project includes a slope, it would be impossible for you to draw the precise area based on altitudes and isohypse.

Modern level measuring devices can import all measurements into CAD, creating the entire map without any effort.

6. Smartphone

If you already have a powerful smartphone, but you are surprised to see in on our list of devices that will help you streamline 3D architectural modeling, then you’ve been using it wrong. The fact is that your smartphone can become a powerful and helpful tool for 3D modeling.

We prepared a mini-guide for choosing apps that allow you to perform architectural modeling using only your smartphone.

● Graphisoft BIMx (iOS)
● MagicPlan (iOS / Android)
● Paper (iOS)
● Sketchbook (iOS)
● Adobe Ideas (iOS)
● Morpholio / Morpholio Trace (iOS)
● Autodesk Formit (iOS/Android)
● iRhino 3D (iOS)
● AutoCAD 360, formerly AutoCAD WS (iOS/Android)
● Photosynth (iOS/Windows)

Using these iOS and Android apps, you'll be able to finish some 3D modeling on the go, meet the tightest of deadlines, visualize your ideas directly on the site, export 2D and 3D drawings from the existing buildings using your smartphone's camera, edit 3D models using your phone, and much more.

The bottom line

All of these devices are designed to help you improve your skills and work better with less stress and wasted effort. Although some of the mentioned devices appear simple and plane, they can make a huge difference in terms of productivity.

If you are already using a device that helps with architectural 3D modeling, and we have forgotten to include it on our list, please let us know in the comments. Feel free to talk about different types of devices you hope to see in the future, who knows, maybe your idea can save lots of time and improve the process of 3D modeling for thousands of architects worldwide!

3D Rendering – Then and Now

Are you using rendering software on a daily basis, but you aren't sure how we’ve come to such useful technology? We will compare 3D rendering then and now and help you realize how this technology has developed over the years.

Being an architect today means producing creative and detailed visualizations in real-world environments to attract investors and clients. With all the technology available today, it’s difficult to imagine outdated rendering programs and architecture without visualizations and renderings.

Using various high-end rendering tools, it’s now relatively easy to create hyper-realistic architectural visualizations, so it's hard to compare outdated rendering methods with the latest versions of rendering software.

Be that as it may, there are years and years of development behind these modern tools, and quite a few important names in the 3D rendering world that deserve to be honored for their contributions to the field.

It’s always good to examine the roots, the history of an art form and its tools, to gain a better appreciation for it and to understand where it is headed. This is why we will be looking at 3D from past decades to see exactly how it is that we’ve come this far and try to guess what the future might bring for architects and various 3D artists.

A brief history of 3D rendering and the birth of a teapot

Do you know anything about A. Sutherland, Ed Catmull, and Martin Newell? If not, you'll soon find out what these pioneers of 3D rendering have done in the last century and how they changed the future.

A. Sutherland invented the first program for 3D modeling, Sketchpad, used for creating simple three-dimensional objects. Ed Catmull was the first person to create a 3D model using 3D modeling software – a model of his wrist. The third most important pioneer was Martin Newell, the developer of the rendering algorithms.

At first, Martin Newell worked on the rendering of simple shapes, but after a while, his wife suggested that he should create something more complex – a teapot, which became a symbol of 3D rendering.

The first realistic renders and computer graphics animations – Torus, Saturn and DNA

In the world of 3D modeling and rendering, the '70s were a promising period. Blinn applied the first textures and bump mapping using Catmull's algorithms. He was the first person to use reflection mapping and scanline algorithm for bi-cubic patches.

Besides, he created animations for the NASA space shuttle and military aircraft, after which he joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he created computer graphics animations of Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus – a project called "The Mechanical Universe". As technology evolved, 3D rendering software was also developed.

Ray tracing and the birth of Autodesk 3ds Max

The first 3D rendering was based on SynthaVision software, which was created for studying radiation. Since well-known 3D rendering programs are based on the method of ray tracing, we can assume that MAGI created the method of 3D rendering by developing SynthaVision software.

During 1988, Tom Hudson developed an application based on four modules – shaper, lofter, editor, and material editor – THUD. After joining Dan Silva, who added the fifth module, the first Autodesk 3D Studio was born.

Only two years later, Autodesk released the first 3D Studio. The first Autodesk 3D Studio was similar to today's 3ds Max by essential functions. The features for drawing spline lines, lofted surfaces, geometric primitives, and basic mesh editing in combination with the fifth module – keyframing, became the revolution of 3D rendering and modeling.

Another two years had gone in the development of the 3D program, and 1992 Autodesk released another version of 3D Studio. From then until 2018, Autodesk released a new version of 3ds Max each year.

Besides, they have developed other well-known 3D modeling and rendering programs such as Maya.

All you need to know about 3D rendering

Nowadays, we are using 3D rendering software for various tasks, starting from a realistic rendering of complex 3D models and adding textures, lighting, and environment, to virtual reality. Various industries are using 3D rendering, but the most common use is in architecture, interior design, graphic design, 3D art, 3D animation, scenography, and film industry.

Hyper-realistic animations and renders have been present worldwide for many years, but nowadays, the development of technology improved 3D modeling and rendering even more. Just when we got used to hyper-realism, new gadgets and tools were created.

Availability of pre-made 3D models with textures

Today, many 3D modeling and rendering programs offer pre-modeled 3D models with applied textures and settings. For example, instead of modeling each detail of interior design, architects and designers can download and use finished 3D models of branded furniture.

Furniture manufacturers often provide us with 3D models of furniture and other accessories. That way, architects and designers can use existing models of furniture and avoid disappointing customers if something from the renders isn't available.

Availability of 3D modeling and rendering software

Since 3D modeling and rendering programs are commonly used, many providers are offering free student versions of the software. That way, these programs are available to everyone. Earlier, the programs for 3D modeling and rendering used to be very expensive and inaccessible.

Many 3D rendering software providers offer free tutorials, so you don't need previous experience to render something for fun. Instead of expensive training, everyone with a stable internet connection and a sufficiently powerful computer can use these programs.

Simpler commands

Almost every single software update contains new features, so the 3D rendering programs get more complex. It's logical that more complicated options cause a more complicated interface, but certain rendering software developers are trying to improve the features and facilitate use at the same time.

VR headset

The latest versions of 3D programs provided us with some fantastic features. One of the best available gadgets is a VR headset. Using a VR headset, you can walk through your 3D models and renders. This incredible experience further expanded the use of 3D modeling and rendering over other industries.

A VR headset gives us the opportunity to see and experience hyper-realistic 3D renders from the other angle – the angle of a viewer. Industries, where the use of 3D renders has been common practice for a while have improved their 3D renders and the user experience. On the other hand, industries such as real estate and gaming found a purpose for virtual reality in their business as well.

The moment when 3D renders have become tangible

Another path for 3D modeling and rendering was developed to address more tangible matters. The appearance of 3D printers opened another sphere of the rendering world.

This technology affected almost all industries, including:

● architecture

● industrial design

● graphic design

● textile design

● dentistry

● the food industry

● medicine

At once, everything that was available only in 3D programs became substantial and solid. 3D printers are now used to create various objects and even food pre-modeled in 3D software.

The bottom line

In the previous century, we couldn't even imagine how powerful a tool 3D modeling and rendering programs would become. Continuous development of such software changed everything. Almost all industries are affected by something that was just a crazy sci-fi idea 50 years ago.

Before these programs, architects used to draw perspectives with vanishing points by hand. The fact that we are using the same principles for 3D modeling and rendering today that were first established decades ago, during the Golden Age of 3D, is quite impressive. Everything is evolving with the aim to ease and improve our work, and it's also the case with 3D rendering.

If we look back at Blinn's first renders, you can see how simple and poor they are, but 50 years ago, that was the latest technology. Newell's plane 3D model of a teapot is a simple image, but it became a symbol of rendering.

No matter how simple that appears, these milestones all made significant leaps towards modern rendering that we use today. Who knows what's going to develop in the future? The hyper-realistic 3D renders of which we are proud today will become outdated and amateurish to artists in the decades to come.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that our technological development has reached its peak, but significant changes are still on their way. We only have to wait and see what's going to happen next.

What do you think? Where will the development of 3D rendering lead society? Let us know in comments!

Designer Tips How to Get Exactly What You Need Out of Your Renderings

Creating renders for your projects can be rather tricky, especially because there are so many options nowadays. Here is a post on how to get exactly what you need from your renderings.

Do you think that your renders aren't perfect, no matter how much time you devote to your project? After many hours of work, does the end project still appear plastic and insufficiently realistic? Don't worry, the process of learning can take a while and require some trial and error. This is why we prepared some tips that will allow you to quickly master 3D modeling and rendering.

Before the process of rendering starts, every part of a 3D model must be drawn detailed

Before you start working on your 3D model, draw floor plans and detailed sections. After you draw all the details in your 2D drawing, import the .dwg file in your preferred 3D program.

Take enough time to create all the details of your 3D model. Even if you are working on a minimalistic design, try to create every piece of your future renders. If you won't be creating any animations, save time by drawing only parts that will be visible on the renders, but do it correctly.

If you don't have enough time for modeling furniture or other details, consider downloading free 3D models from the Autodesk library. If you are working in some of Autodesk's 3D software like 3Ds Max, Revit or Maya, you can find many various 3D models online for free.

If you still don't have 3D software and you are a student, the Autodesk platform provides all students with a 3-year free trial software.

Carefully adjust materials

Adding materials into a 3D model doesn't mean roughly adding textures. Every texture must be carefully adjusted before the rendering, no matter what software you are using. You might find some fast rendering software, which will directly impact the quality of your renders, so always choose complex and powerful rendering tools.

Adding materials from a library might save you time, but the main trick is to add custom materials and textures. Autodesk offers 3Ds max texture library, but don't be afraid to google for a while to find more appropriate textures. Many companies in the interior design or industrial design industry offer a wide range of their product's textures.

After you select the most appropriate textures for your 3D model, it's time for the adjustment! To achieve the best results, you should adjust every added material. Ambient color, diffuse color, specular color, specular level, glossiness, self-illumination, opacity, filter color, bump, reflection, refraction, transparency, and displacement are some of the most important settings of materials and textures.

Lighting

Lighting is also crucial for gaining realistic renders. Lighting impacts color shades, warmth, adjusted reflections of textures and materials, and many more. For achieving hyper-realistic visualization, you must add lighting to your model correctly.

Each rendering software has different lighting settings, but if you choose the most common combination – 3Ds max and VRay, you can add and adjust various types of lighting.

Let's start from the sunlight and daylight systems. It's a hybrid light source with a compass for simulating the position of the sun. This type of lighting is crucial for achieving realistic outdoor lighting. If you are working on interior design, you must add artificial light sources.

You can choose from Omni light which radiates light in all directions from one source point, Spotlight which can illuminate the whole area with a cone light, and Directional light for illumination of the whole area but with parallel sides of the cone. If you are working on an urbanism project, artificial light also has an essential role in gaining more realistic renders.

Adapting to the environment

If you have chosen a program other than Lumion, you'll have to show your PhotoShop skills. A simpler way for adapting your render into the real environment is photoshopping. The first thing you should do is searching for some perfect elements.

So, you must find an image of the perfect sky, grass, city or a landscape. If one image doesn't contain everything you need, you can simply crop the sky from one image, grass from another, paving from a third, and that way complete a customized and suitable background for your render.

After you find a high-quality image online that fits your needs, or you take a photo of the desired area, you must adjust the image so that it corresponds to the shades, saturation, brightness, and contrast of your render.

In the end, highlight all imperfections

You might do everything that we described above, but still feel that your renders aren't good enough. If this is the case, you have forgotten the most important thing – breathing in some realism.  

If you turn around, you'll notice that nothing is perfect. Even brand new objects have some imperfections. Adding a trace of water leakage, or some imperfections in the paving, grass or any other element of your render will make everyone look twice and wonder if it's a photograph or a visualization.

If you left your render untouched, it would appear plastic, and everyone would recognize that it was done using computer software.

Bump also has an important role. Adding textures in 3D models sometimes isn't enough, so you have to do it afterward in PhotoShop. You can select one of the many templates and add a bump to a grass field, around your object or any other object found on the ground of your render.

The bottom line

You must practice a lot to master the process of rendering. Besides the described steps, there is a lot of additional adjustments, for example, size and quality.

The quality and level of realism most often depend on the modeling and rendering software. After you find rendering software that suits you, you'll notice an incredible improvement. Every visualization will be better than the previous one, and that must be your motivation for further learning and working on developing your skills.