10 Architectural Rendering Online Courses You Should Really Consider
10 Architectural Rendering Online Courses You Should Really Consider

Modeling, texturing, rendering - from an unfinished mockup to a lifelike architectural visualization, the artist needs a little bit more than talent to create something truly stunning and thus beat the odds. The process, as always in art, is long and elaborate, compelling architects to rely not only on their skills but also on technology. Enter intuitive, though equally complicated visualization software.

These days, learning how to model, texture, and render professional-looking architectural imagery is completely impossible without learning how to master the intricate user interfaces of 3ds Max, AutoCAD, and Vray first (just to name a few). The course on architectural rendering is actually a tutorial that breaks down the many powerful features and rendering settings of these designer tools.

Without further ado, let us introduce you to the best architectural rendering courses in the online world. There’s a tutorial for everyone’s skill level, as well as everyone’s favorite tool and scene type.

Beginner or advanced, interior or exterior, everything you need to become a (better) rendering artist is right here.

1. Interior 3D Rendering with 3ds Max + Vray: The Quickest Way

A basic understanding of the 3ds Max UI and some experience in 3D rendering will give you a great headstart for this Udemy bestseller. With more than 1,500 students currently enrolled, the 2-hour, 23-lecture course designed by Jake Denham BA, MA, will let you in on all the secrets of 3D rendering.

Though quick and intense, the Quickest Way is aimed at all levels of 3ds Max and Vray users and teaches practical techniques for creating gorgeous and professional-looking images. Additionally, the course provides a unique opportunity for learning the secrets pros use to stand out from the crowd.

2. Photoshop for Architects

Another one of Udemy’s bestsellers, Photoshop for Architects won’t tell you how to render your architectural models, but it will help you transform your existing 3D render into a masterpiece. This course makes sense only after you’ve learned to render passes with VRay and use the Photoshop UI.

And since all renders eventually end up in Photoshop, knowing which tools and techniques to use in post-production is just as essential for your portfolio. Not only will this course teach you how to produce renders faster, but it will also significantly increase the quality of your presentation designs.

3. 3ds Max, Vray, Photoshop: Making of the Museum

Whether you’re a student who’s only starting with 3D rendering or a professional who’s looking to advance their skills, Making of the Museum is one of the best tutorials out there. In 19 lectures and only 2 hours, this crash course offers useful tips for producing stunning 3D renders and visualization.

Making of the Museum is designed in a way that doesn’t require you to be familiar with 3ds Max basics before you enroll, though some background experience will only make you more successful in mastering the complete rendering workflow of 3ds Max, which goes from basics to high-end imagery.

4. Rhino and V-Ray: Architectural Rendering

If Rhino is your modeling tool of choice, this course will help you hone your skills and jump from a beginner to intermediate level in less than 4 hours. Architectural Rendering teaches everything you need to know about rendering photorealistic interior architectural scenes with both Rhino and V-Ray.

Created by Dave Schultze, the course taps into different components that add a sense of depth and realism to professional designs, including lighting systems, various materials, and exterior elements like trees, grass, and people. It also shares tips on how to use a camera and composting techniques.

5. Revit: Rendering

Paul F. Aubin has developed an architectural rendering course for Revit users who are currently at the intermediate level. Disclosing some of the best-kept industry secrets, this fast-paced tutorial takes around 5 hours to complete, after which you’ll be able to create high-quality outputs directly in Revit.  

Along with basic rendering settings, Paul F. Aubin also experiments with various customization details available in Revit, with a special emphasis on its lighting features. Lectures on artistic render styles and animated walkthroughs are added to the course as well, making it one of the best on the scene.  

6. Unreal Engine: Architectural Visualisation

Originally aimed at game developers, Unreal Engine has grown so powerful that it is now used for creating professional architectural designs too. This 4-hour tutorial will walk you through its intuitive, though highly detailed UI and rendering settings, which should launch you to the intermediate level.

The author, Adam Crespi, works with Unreal Engine’s robust lighting, physically based elements, and terrain tools to showcase all the amazing rendering capabilities of this software and explain different techniques for achieving interactive, lifelike visualizations and finetuning 3D renders for publication.

7. 3ds Max: Advanced Lighting

There are many brilliant courses for mastering the sophisticated rendering tools featured in 3ds Max, but this one takes the cake when it comes to one especially important element of realistic architectural visualization - photometric lighting. Level-wise, this course cultivates advanced 3D skills.

Architectural rendering is all about an ability to create convincing illusions, according to author Aaron F. Ross, and that’s exactly what this course teaches. After a conceptual overview, the tutorial goes on to demonstrate exterior and interior daylight, artificial lighting, light exclusion, as well as lens effects.  

8. Creating an Interior Scene with Blender

In little less than 3 hours, Darrin Lile succeeds to explain the many intricacies of using Blender for modeling, texturing, and rendering detailed furniture and interior design accessories - from an imported blueprint to the basic structure of a contemporary living room to lighting and 3D rendering.

The key to exceptional Blender renders apparently hides in the details, which is why this in-depth tutorial focuses primarily on materials and interior lighting. You’ll learn not only how to apply materials to the objects, but also how to UV map and texture them for highly photorealistic results.

9. Complete AutoCAD 2018 Course with 2D and 3D Projects

If you are an absolute beginner in the fine art of architectural rendering, then this is a course for you. Being the ultimate, most comprehensive tutorial for creating 2D drawings and 3D models using the latest version of AutoCAD, it requires no previous experience with designer and rendering software.

Created by Awais Jamil, the Complete AutoCAD 2018 Course boasts 13 hours of on-demand video.  The in-depth tutorial opens with a lesson on basic operations, features, and workspaces of AutoCAD, after which it moves smoothly to a step-by-step training class on complex 2D and 3D house projects.

10. 3ds Max 2019 Essential Training

Another tutorial from Aaron F. Ross, this time designed as a general course on using 3ds Max 2019 for producing architectural renderings, delivers a comprehensive overview of the entire package, as well as fundamental skills that all architects require for creating meticulous 3D models and renders.

From modeling complex objects with splines, polygons, subdivision surfaces, and freeform sculpting to constructing hierarchies, adding cameras, lighting up space, and animating with keyframes, this exhaustive course by a rendering artist explains it all in exactly 10 hours, 39 minutes, and 51 seconds.

How to Choose the Best Online Course for Your Needs

Learning how to create professional-looking architectural renders takes some time, so don’t just take the first crash course you stumble upon. Whether you choose one of these tutorials or expand your search beyond this list, hit architectural forums, do some snooping around, and ask for user opinions and unbiased feedback. This will help you determine the best online course for your specific needs.

Also, start with lower-level courses and build your expertise gradually from there. If you are a beginner, don’t skip introductory lessons, but take it slow and get familiar with the subject first. If you are already a professional who’s looking to advance their skills, go back to the basics and reaffirm the knowledge you’ve obtained thus far. This way, developing advanced skills will be much easier for you.

At an intermediary level, take some time to experiment with different rendering software. Though there are several great toolkits that help produce equally stunning 3D results, not all of them do that in the same way. Trying a few of them will enable you to master different rendering features, techniques, and styles, all of which will eventually allow you to pick the best visualization workspace.

Finally, keep trying!

If the first online course you take doesn’t deliver, and you remain at the same skill level as you were before, try something different. Architectural rendering requires time, effort, and commitment, so don’t lose your patience and determination. The math is quite simple here - the more of these courses you take, the easier it will be for you to jump from one skill level to a more advanced one.